For most people, being able to derive satisfaction from a job that one is passionate about is like a dream come true. Before founding her design firm FunQ Spot, Yancy Leung was once bothered by emotional problems and her life hit rock bottom. However, in the midst of howling wind and pouring rain, she found the courage to confront her emotional adversity and rediscover the joy of life.
Overcoming adversity to take charge of life again
Yancy had a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Since graduating from university, she had worked in various sectors such as sales, exhibition and logistics, living an office worker’s life like most other people do. However, not only did she fail to derive satisfaction from her work, but also suffered from emotional problems like anxiety because she simply could not strike a balance between work and life. Worse still, she found her supervisor not happy with her performance and acting increasingly hostile towards her. She began to doubt her own value and the meaning of life.
In the face of emotional adversity, Yancy planned her supposedly last trip before taking her own life. Luckily, the trip not only dragged her from the brink of self-destruction, but also re-established her perspective on life. Yancy said, “On that trip, it dawned on me how trivial and insignificant my personal problems were. All of a sudden, I was no longer anxious about the petty issues in front of me.” That trip truly broadened her horizons and helped her regain her passion for life.
“Actually, I’ve always been interested in art since young, but I had no idea about art-related jobs. That’s why I didn’t choose a career in that context.” Having experienced one frustration after another in the workplace, she decided to take a career personality test, so as to identify jobs that match her personality. The test results revealed that Yancy was most talented in art. Since then, she has been trying all sorts of art-related jobs, such as art director and acting in micro movies, so as to create a link between her work and her interests.
Ingenuous design that benefits others
In order to gain more professional knowledge and practical experience, Yancy chose to pursue further studies in art and she was enrolled in VTC’s Higher Diploma in Visual Communication. “VTC has always attached great importance to in-service training. We learned to use design software and cultivate a design-led mind set in the classes. The knowledge and skills I acquired were highly practical.” The programme took Yancy’s design ability and skills to the next level.
With her design works, Yancy hoped to share her own experience with others suffering from emotional issues. “Art is about beauty, but it also conveys messages. It is a powerful medium.” Thus, in her graduation project, she combined her knowledge in sociology and psychology, design thinking and techniques, and her first-hand experience of recovering from emotional disorder. The end product is Together Cards in the Fellow Buddies series. The card game aims to arouse awareness of mental health issues among young people as they play games.
In her VTC years, Yancy participated in many design competitions hosted by various institutions and colleges, and many of her works were socially engaged, such as an illustration on the indigenous culture of Hong Kong’s offshore islands. “It’s a great honour to have my illustration shortlisted by Hong Kong Jockey Club and to be a part of an exhibition.” Yancy thought her skills might not be on par with other contestants, but she excelled in her personal style, a unique character that stood out from others using different techniques in conjunction with the imagery. She also won the first runner-up and a scholarship in another competition, earning precious experience and financial support.
Moving ahead with no fear of uncertainty
Yancy derived much pleasure and satisfaction from her achievements and experience with these competitions. Meanwhile, the encouraging results also boosted her confidence in terms of art and design. She also made good use of the prize money to start FunQ Spot, her own design firm with a mental health theme. She hoped young people would understand more about emotional health as they play the card game, and be more mindful of the subject matter. Although she never studied business and lacked experience in running a company, Yancy handled her company matters with a positive attitude and worked hard to overcome the steep learning curve. She did not feel discouraged even amidst the pandemic. “Together Cards are our hero product. Though we cannot let people try playing the cards in person in community centres at this point, we can still keep on promoting them when the pandemic is over.”
In future, she plans to collaborate with various institutions to launch products such as calendar and hand-crafted items in a bid to promote public awareness on emotional health. Yancy urged younger VTC students not to give up on their dreams easily. “As long as you take the first step and persist, you will succeed one day.”