BASED IN: NEW YORK
What do you do?
I am the co-founder of Fou Gallery. Fou is an apartment gallery and creative lab based in New York. At the same time, I am a curator, writer, and an owner of a vintage hat brand created by myself. I like to make customized hats for each person’s story, because this is a way for me to dialogue with myself and to connect with other people.
As an entrepreneur, how would you distinguish Fou from other galleries in New York?
Fou Gallery is derived from a non-profit project, UNTITLED dialogue, that I and my partner Jiaxi founded in 2012. By that time, we were surprised at an incredible lack of such platforms for Asian artists to make their voices heard here. So we decided to create a platform for the communication of art among the Asian community based in New York. And the fact that Fou is an apartment gallery makes it adorable and approachable. After 12 months of running UNTITLED dialogue, we fixed the program to a regular location, Jiaxi’s new apartment in Brooklyn, and used her living room as the regular exhibition space. Fou is a denial of the mainstream commercial gallery model and an active contributor to a new organic art community. We embraced the broad category of art— visual art, film, literature, performance, applied art, and we are dedicated to promoting creative talents and projects of our time.
Did Fou gallery arrived as a surprise for you, or did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I wasn’t very sure about what to do when I graduated from my Visual Arts Administration M.A program at NYU. However, I just started to do what I like to do and stuck to it. Interestingly enough, I came from a background in business, economics, and management, and I believe these experiences helped build up my career path.
What part of your personality contributes to your role as a woman entrepreneur?
I enjoy meeting people and making new friends. The things I am doing are the paths that connect me with interesting individuals. In other words, I do believe the importance of networking in the business I am doing. And I think I’ve got perseverance when it comes to doing what I love. My business makes progress one step at a time, and I’m not rushing into growing it bigger or accelerating the process. It is a down-to-earth approach that accumulates resources and experiences over time.
Have you found any difficulty during your journey as an entrepreneur?
I haven’t found any difficulty in my work, at least for now. I have very much enjoyed it.
What is best about being a founder of a gallery, or an owner of a hat brand?
I would say the greatest part is the opportunity to meet people in an unexpected but organic way. Every single story of how I met our artists, our photographer and many followers of Fou is amazing. Then I realized that it is because we have the same goal and we pay the same attention to the things that happen around us that connect us with each other. And you know what, it is beautiful that many people find their love at Fou.
What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?
It is kind of my personal philosophy. I always tell people to slow down when pursuing their goals. Take the time you need and be a steady person in what you are doing, and things will come naturally.