a new start.

When we were planning for our wedding, Sojung and I both knew that if we dropped tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding, our hearts would ache. Instead, we wanted to devote our marriage to giving and loving on others. Of course, people had their opinions, and even commented on our less conventional honeymoon destination to Seattle.  But we stood firm on our decisions and did what we felt was right for us. I created a website and named it SOHOSTORY; through the blog, we shared how we were going against the norm. After the wedding, we shut down the website knowing that SOHOSTORY would continue on as something more.   

Within the first six months of our marriage, it was clear that I was not meant for a 9-5 job. With much prayer and consideration, we knew it would be best for me to quit my career as an accountant and become a professional photographer. So I setup a new website under the name SOHOSTORY.

For the past two years, SOHOSTORY has been known a photography business. When Sojung decided to quit her job as a teacher to pursue illustration 8 months later, she registered her business name as Merelypaper. She assumed that I wanted SOHOSTORY to be a photography only business. This was never my intention; I just never communicated this to my wife.

Our name tags from the ECHO Conference in July 2013, when Sojung had been freelancing full time for only two months.

Our name tags from the ECHO Conference in July 2013, when Sojung had been freelancing full time for only two months.

It was out of pure insecurity and not being honest with myself that Sojung did not know.  In my heart, I was against her going in her own direction with Merelypaper, but I couldn’t say no because I didn’t want to change what I had already built with SOHOSTORY as a photography business.  And partly, I thought it was a good idea to separate ourselves. So many people told me that “a husband and wife should never work together.” I should not have listened them.

Sojung started freelancing in June of 2013 and as the year went on, I knew something was wrong.  As our separate business grew we were also growing apart in both marriage and business.  Don’t get me wrong, we work hard on our marriage and we have a pretty awesome relationship.  However, since we weren't working on the same projects and ran on different ideas, it took a toll on our personal lives.  We had completely different schedules, communicated less, and got caught up in our own busyness.

A couple of months later, I apologized to Sojung and explained that doing our business together was what I really wanted, that we should have from the beginning.  After a long and honest talk, we made the decision to combine our businesses and formed an LLC together, co-owners of SOHOSTORY LLC.  At that point we had no idea what that meant so it was simply about sharing a business name and adding another joint bank account to our names.

I had the idea of working together in my head, but I was way too insecure to really do it.  Being a former accountant doesn’t help either.  My mind operates very logically and making huge changes to work together just didn’t seem like the logical thing to do.  So we went about our ways as one photographer and one graphic designer.

Photograph by Trey Hill

Photograph by Trey Hill

After a day of goal setting and business planning for 2014 on the first Saturday of this month, we both left feeling very uneasy.   Later that night, Sojung shared the video of Megan Gilger’s talk from the Circles Conference.  After watching it, I felt completely helpless and didn’t know how to deal with it.  I sent an email to Sojung explaining my fears and insecurities.  I started off with "sorry about not being able to really tell you what i want.  i still feel like i am alone in this. it’s not easy telling anyone how i truly feel. in my head all this is not possible.”  I went on to explain that I want to create and work together but my head fights against it daily.

With constant prayer and many conversations, we decided to make a big change in our business once again.  I am sure we will make many mistakes and tweaks along the way, but we will always share our stories of oneness as a married couple through SOHOSTORY.  

Photograph by Trey Hill

Photograph by Trey Hill

SOHOSTORY is not just a business; it is our story.

the re-launch of SOHOSTORY.

Those of you familiar with the "old" SOHOSTORY will know us as a photography studio run by my husband, Hoyoung.  People who don't know us often assume I am also a photographer. We correct them, that I do illustration and graphic design, always feeling a bit awkward because SOHOSTORY was never meant to be just a photography business.  We wanted to do more by creating together, first as husband and wife and second as business partners.  Doubts and fears held us back - we didn't know if owning a business as a married couple was a good idea and we were afraid of working together.

In 2014, we have come back as a team; we will be combining our skills to create and tell stories together.  I will be the first to admit, unless Hoyoung raises his hand first, that this was not an easy process.  

On the first Saturday of this month, we sat down to work on our 2014 goals and business planning.


The whole day was messy and tiring, we were both feeling burnt out, and there was many a moment where we thought it might be better to call it quits.  At the end of the day, we left feeling overwhelmed with what needed to happen in order for our small business to just stay afloat.

That night, I could not sleep.
I knew that if our business was to work, I personally had to answer questions that I had been struggling with as a creative for the past couple of months:

Is it possible to be original?  
If it is, am I capable of being original and am I creative enough?
And what’s wrong with creating for the sake of simply creating something beautiful?

Completely lost, I came across a talk by Megan Gilger from the Circles Conference.  I've been a long time follower of her blog, The Fresh Exchange, and a friend of mine had raved about how Megan's talk had been so inspiring.  

After watching and listening to her speak, I came away with these conclusions:

Yes, it is possible to be original.  We are all unique.  We are all human AND we are all original beings so why shouldn’t we be able to create original work?  I am creative!  More than enough!
And yes, I can create simply for the sake of creating something beautiful.  But beauty is empty if it is meaningless. Meaningless beauty is in-genuine, inauthentic.  

The creative life and owning your own business looks so glamorous, and there truly are some amazing perks.  It is also incredibly scary in so many ways that sometimes you just want to go cry in a corner.  Fear was holding us back from what we truly wanted SOHOSTORY to be.  But we know it has to be today, not someday.


With this re-launch, Hoyoung and I are simultaneously sighing of relief and holding our breath for feeling vulnerable as we commit to putting ourselves out there.   But with this vulnerability, there is this freedom.  My freedom to be me. The freedom for Hoyoung to be him.  The freedom to be us.

So let us apologize for not giving you 100% of us, of who we are.  We’ve been holding back because of fear: fear of failure, fear of unoriginality, fear of rejection, fear of stifled creativity.  

You can expect us to be open with you creatively and as people.  You can expect to connect with us deeply.  You can expect to find life within us, full of meaning.  You can expect not only to find beauty, but with it also find originality and authenticity.

There was the life we were living, afraid of taking chances, and then there is the life that we will be living without fear. 

Leave a comment!  Let us know who you are and how 2014 will be different for you.  We would love to connect with you!