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Featured on Mar 09, 2011

Jiashan Wu

"Surround yourself with bold, crazy people and expect the fantastic. That's why I'm happy to be here :)"


Jiashan Wu is a bike loving designer/art director. After graduating from Parsons in 2008, she worked in advertising as creative intern and art director on accounts like Jetblue, Smirnoff, Dos Equis, Heineken. After almost two years of drunken agency life she ditched the cubicle and traveled to Uganda, created and photographed the Fifty Dollars Campaign. In 2010, she curated and designed the Fifty Dollars Exhibition in Tribeca in collaboration with her Parsons and SVA friends and help/sponsorship from Givology. Currently she's working as a freelance designer and creating, a site that tells people what and where things are in chinatowns. She likes to check out exhibitions, shows, take photos, have her photos taken (photographers, who need volunteers?), and trying something new each week.

  • Title: Designer/Art Director; Founder,
  • Age: 24
  • Location: LES
  • Contact: @Ohjia, from: jia

Your own startup, Chinatang, was founded last year. What has been your toughest challenge while getting started? Have you been able to overcome it? If so, how'd you go about doing so?

Yes, Chinatang was started last November. I've always been my friend's "Chinatown guide". They ask me where's the least known chinese restaurants, best hair salons, the most flexible Chinese movers, what things are in Chinese super markets, and much much more. So I thought why not create a website that tells my friends and others what and where things are in Chinatowns and provide a platform for small Chinese businesses to promote themselves in English?

The biggest challenge for me is focusing on priorities since there's not enough time and human resources to make everything "perfect". As a designer it's hard for me to digest the fact that there's no such thing as a "perfect" startup. Since I started I've been marking down what UI and functions I think will make Chinatang better and negotiating with the developer on what's possible within the time frame. I don't think I've overcame this challenge.There are still many things on my list, and I'm still looking for more development help. But what's most important is that the site have been progressing towards the right direction, and Chinatang Alpha is ready for testing. (I'm testing the next two weeks) will be live in April. I'm very excited about having the first group of users try it out! I think what helps is taking a little time every week to evaluate  past week's work/this week's plan and make sure I stay on points.

Do you listen to music while you’re designing or do you prefer to work in silence?  Either way, please list off a few artists that top your playlist.

It depends. When I get into the work mold or I'm on a tight deadline, I can work like a ninja. But most times I need to listen to music or even audio books, to distract myself from over thinking a design. I've been listening to New Order, Broken Social Scene, Patti Smith, Blue Scholars, Chinese punk band Carsick Car, and David Sedaris (audio book). 

In your New York Tech Mixer bio you mention that you believe that you can bring a unique perspective to the New York tech community.  Can you please elaborate?

Usually I'm one of the few designers at these tech mixers. I really think design nerds and tech nerds need to get together more.

My perspective on technology have always been more cultural, visual, and content driven. So the type of startup I build will be very different from most tech startups. One of the most exciting part of Chinatang for me is finding a way to break the cultural and intimidation barrier. Also I like to look for opportunities in the least expected places.

Web Designer, User Experience Designer, Design Director