Grace Ko

Grace Ko










 Age: 26

Occupation: Entrepreneur. Founder of Baobei & Sets

Studied: Screen Production, Film, Information Systems, Marketing

Instagram: @gko__


Running two businesses and a full-time job and figuring out what to do next…

 You run Baobei, are a tech girl and co-founded Sets. You’re someone who is forever evolving and forever working on the next thing. How do you figure out what your next step is? How do you get into the flow?

The fun part is, I never stop to intentionally figure out what the next step is. I’m always very immersed in my work and what I’m currently doing so the next steps very often escalate out of excitement. For example with Baobei, I’ll get inspired by a heart shaped object, then a store will get excited about it because I’m so excited, then we’re collaborating on a product. So I guess my ongoing work is what inspires me - work > inspiration> work > inspiration. So yeah, be immersed and passionate in your work and the next steps will jump at you. 

That being said I do have very big visions of my businesses, so that’s what gets and keeps me in the flow. The vision isn’t anything physical like a big global office or a full team, it’s more so the social meaning of the brands; what I do it all for, who I do it all for, the vision, the mission, the big why. You simply must know the big ‘why’ for whatever you’re doing to be successful. 


Being true to who you are and growing up Asian in New Zealand...

Something you’ve helped me with is being true to who I am; dressing how I want to, sharing what I want to, following my dream; something I’m still working towards every day. What keeps you staying true to yourself? Does any of this stem from growing up asian in New Zealand?

You know that moment when you’re trying on something that’s really out there or unconventional or perhaps a makeup look that’s a bit wild and you think to yourself, damn I wish I could just do it? I would always clock these moments and the way that I actually have free will to decide. I could take it off or I could wear it and feel like a version of me that I invented, not what my mum/friends/community invented. 

So it’s that connection to my agency and also when you start to realise you can inspire other people to do the same. Like that feeling of being able to help another person be true to themselves is PRICELESS and it’s a constant reminder for me to keep doing it. I’m grateful to have best friends who are no one but their true selves, who take risks, who have breakdowns, because chasing dreams is scary. When I’m surrounded by people like that, how could I possibly not be like that too?

It’s a journey for sure; a journey of self love, which I like to think of as self compassion, being accepting of yourself. Like why would you judge yourself? You’re the only person you really have at the end of the day and you’re out here judging yourself? No.  

I work very hard to get to know myself as if I was the love of my life (which I am!). I go to therapy, I unpack my attachment style, I investigate my reactions, I look deeper in my insecurities to figure out who the fuck I am and what I stand for. Once you figure out these things, which obviously are ongoing, you start to feel closer to yourself, your own best friend or love of your life, and there is no way you can betray that person and from there on, you only move closer to yourself, not away. 

And everything has to do with being asian because I am an asian girl. All my experiences stem from feeling like a minority and once not believing in myself, but I’m now at the point of believing in myself so hard it’s borderline delusional. 

You are Kiwi Taiwanese-Chinese. Something we have bonded over and another thing you have helped me with is loving my culture and ethnicity of being Asian and not only accepting it but being proud of it. How important is having POC friends, especially asian friends to you and why?

Extremely important. Because they make you feel heard and seen in your minority experience which most of the times can’t be configured into words. One thing I love that my friends do, is when they show me baby photos / videos, because you see a precious Chinese child, or an excited South African kid, or a funny Brazilian baby and then amongst all of that, you see yourself and remember how you need to protect them and love them.


Lessons learnt and reflection...

A moment in life that shifted your perspective for the better

 Starting Baobei was a massive moment. I remember thinking ‘cool, I’ll be doing what I want from now on’.

If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?

The way you see yourself is the way the world sees you. Tell the world who you are (someone who is ever changing, someone who is growing, someone who is bold, someone who sometimes isn’t bold) and don’t let the world tell you who to be. And wear whatever the fuck you want :) 


And last but not least, favourite Buttermilk Hair Claw?

The Bella in Multicheck. I love it because it adds an unpredictable touch to my outfits. She’s my fave. 


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