Ann Sun is passionate about design (and the people she designs for), toys, and her small business

Modern Maker: Meet Ann Sun, the small business owner, artist, and toy designer

Ann Sun is a toy designer turned product designer who runs a shop full of treat-themed pins, stickers, and cards reminding you to get this bread.

This story is part of the Modern Maker series, which focuses on womxn-owned businesses in Seattle and beyond.

Toys have always had a special place in my heart, and I want to create and replicate the positive experiences I’ve had for other people.

“As a kid, you’re not always able to pick your own outfits or dress in glamorous ball gowns, but Barbie could,” Ann said. “She could have any career, and I could use my imagination to play out all these stories.

Ann in her childhood playroom

When working for a company, you have to get things approved by your manager or a higher up. I saw my small business as a way to have creative freedom and make something myself.

She went on to work at Mattel, the toy company that created classic childhood toys ranging from Uno and Hot Wheels to the Barbies that Ann loved so dearly as a child. She primarily worked on DC Superhero Girls, which included Batgirl and other female superheroes. As a toy designer, she was required to transform Wonder Woman from the animated series into a 3D doll with rooted hair and superhero outfits.

Ann with some of the DC Superhero Girls dolls that she designed
Ann’s yummy yogurt pin and soju pin

The clearer you can be up front, the more others can help you. Everyone appreciates clarity.

She applied the same attention to detail when creating her pins, often anticipating the questions that manufacturers would have.

Notebook with Ann Sun’s BTS BT21 stickers

I don’t [always] feel like I’m ‘there’ yet. I continue to remind myself that I’m always making progress and building my business piece by piece.”

“Other creators in the pin world told me that counterfeit pins were really common,” Ann said. “When it happened to me, my first thought was, ‘dang, I made it.’”

Learning by doing is the fastest way to learn something new, and the same goes for running a small business.

“The more I share, the more people will be invested into my brand,” Ann said. “One of my long-term goals is to do wholesale one day and be able to come off Etsy and have my own website.”

Ann Sun

Writer at Microsoft | Human Centered Design and Engineering Alumna | Lifting as I climb | www.aleenahansari.com