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April 29, 2021

Boba Jewelry Meets Pom Pom : Meet Justine Pon, Founder of The Ponnery

By Emily Merrell

After searching for statement jewelry that she could connect with, and failed to do so, Justine Pon created her own. Her jewelry is inspired by Asian American food, all handmade in pom pom, from Boba Tea earrings to Rice Balls and everything in between. Her jewelry is beautifully crafted and stands out from the crowd. Learn more how she married her love of crafting with her favorite foods to create The Ponnery

Justine Pon, founder of The Ponnery.
Justine Pon, founder of The Ponnery.

SDS: What inspired you to create The Ponnery?

The Ponnery is a pom pom accessories brand inspired by Asian American food and culture. To be Asian American is to be part of a multi-ethnic community composed of diverse cultures, languages and histories – and that’s something worth celebrating!

I love wearing statement-making yarn pom pom accessories but whenever I scoured the internet for products to buy, I would end up feeling disappointed. I could never find cute designs that I felt a meaningful connection with. In other words, there was a lack of representation in the products available. While there were plenty of fruits, hearts and round pom designs, I hoped to see boba, sesame ball and onigiri poms. So I set out to change that with my business, The Ponnery.

SDS: Your creations are extraordinary. How did you get your start? How did you learn how to make such intricate pompoms? 

That’s such a huge compliment – thank you so much! I’ve been crafting all my life: shout-out to my mom for always encouraging creativity and hands-on projects. I always wanted to start my own shop, so I’m excited to be doing just that!

I fell into pom pom making a few years ago because I thought they were so cute and fluffy. I soon realized that the pom pom medium was super versatile – I could trim pom poms into whatever shape I wanted! So that, coupled with my wanting to see designs that didn’t exist as pom poms, were what led me to start The Ponnery.

I learned to make my pom pom designs through so much trial and error. The most challenging yet rewarding part for me is turning my chicken-scratch sketches into an actual 3D thing. It can take hours to prototype a design before I end up with something that resembles what I imagined in my head because there are so many factors to consider: yarn placement, yarn colors, shape, size, extra details, etc. But I’m also continuously tweaking designs and honing my technique – it’s a constantly evolving creative process. 

SDS: I particularly love the boba-inspired earrings— do you have a favorite boba order? 

Thank you! I love this question. My go-to orders are classic milk tea or a matcha latte with boba, less ice and less sugar. But it also depends on the weather, my mood and what the specials are. 

Founder Justine Pon modeling her boba earrings!
Founder Justine Pon modeling her boba earrings!

SDS: Do you have any advice for people searching for their creative outlet? 

I would say give yourself the freedom to try whatever interests you. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be good at things that it can turn something we enjoy into something stressful. Have fun with the process and remember that it’s fine to try something else if you get bored or the activity doesn’t suit you. The key is to get started.

SDS: Do you have a dream connection you’d love to buy and wear your products? 

Honestly, I’d love for anyone who identifies with my products to wear them. I’ve gotten some really sweet testimonials from customers about how the products took on a personal meaning for them. For example, how the sesame ball earrings one woman bought reminded her of getting dim sum with her dad, or that the lantern earrings made another woman so happy to wear as a Chinese American. I’m so grateful that through my products I can play a part in connecting others to their memories and experiences. But it would be amazing if Chrissy Teigen wore my products!

SDS: Lastly, any new designs coming down the pipeline? 

Yes! I’m launching mini sizes of the sesame ball and onigiri earrings really soon. I love all of my designs, but tiny poms are just so cute! I’m also excited to announce a brand new design inspired by the iconic Asian bowl cut. You heard it here first! For updates and sneak peaks, check out my Instagram @theponnery and shop.

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