We had the good fortune of connecting with Helen Sugano and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Helen, life can be so busy as an adult, and for many, especially those who’ve moved to a new city, making friends can be hard. We’d love to hear your thoughts?
I like this topic! It’s actually been top of my mind lately because I think especially as a female, it’s hard to form new friendships as an adult. American society teaches women to be competitive with one another rather than supportive. So, the older we get, the trickier it is to make new friends because we’re inclined to not want others to steal our thunder. I think this is a flawed societal norm we need to consciously try to rewrite. I think for me the trick to making friends is to view new friendships more like new relationships. We’re perfectly comfortable having potential partners come in and out of our lives, but when it comes to platonic or same-sex friendships, it becomes trickier. We should have the same depth of evaluation of new friends as well as the same open mindedness we would give a potential partner. We should look for the same things we look for in our mates – similar mentalities, priorities, hobbies, lifestyles, goals, etc. Friends are likely to be around longer and be more deeply intertwined, so it’s just as important we evaluate them thoroughly or let them go if they’re not the right fit. But the biggest thing, in my opinion, is to just be open and let people in. Give them a chance the same way you would go on a first date. You never know. The value of a great friend is unmatched.  

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a graphic (ui/ux) designer for a number of different businesses and clients, ranging from large businesses to start ups to sole proprietors. I mainly design mobile apps and websites, with occasional work in identity (logos) and branding. I am very proud that I can sustain a great lifestyle while also being my own boss. To me, freedom is the most valuable thing we have, so being able to set my own schedule, work the hours I want, take vacations, and take time for myself while still maintaining a high level of productivity is the ultimate measure of success. Getting to this place took a lot of years of establishing myself as a designer, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it was hard. It was more about consistency and constant improvement of my craft, which leads to constant referrals and repeat clients. Along the way I learned that if you have the eye and brain for design, the technical skills can be learned. Working on mobile and web design, you need to constantly keep up with new technology and styles, so you just have to be intentional with your time and pay attention to current trends.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think the beauty of this city is the diversity of it – having beaches, mountains, downtown, amazing food, holes in the wall, and everything in between. I would definitely visit Playa Del Rey, which is my favorite beach because it feels like you’re in a time warp back to a time when everything wasn’t over developed and commercialized. I would also take them on a hike in the Pacific Palisades overlooking the ocean and the city. It would be essential that we visit some of my favorite restaurants – Il Pastaio, Cafe Brasil, Pizzana, Osteria la Buca. And for an evening out, I might take them to downtown LA to do some bar hopping.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I think that I owe so so much to my friend and coworker Greig Carlson. He hired me to design an app he was building when I had little to no experience doing mobile design, and had so much faith in me that I could do it that I started believing it myself. I don’t think I would have ever taken the risk of trying a new type of design if it weren’t for him, and I couldn’t be more grateful for his support. We still work together and he handles the portion of the business that I could never do – interacting with the clients directly, managing all the contractors, bringing in new clients and projects, and generally being an amazing people-person.

Website: helenmiyoko.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/helen.miyoko.design/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/helensugano/

Nominate someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.