Eny Lee Parker grew up in São Paulo and moved to LA when she was 13 years old. There she was reunited with her Korean mother who didn’t speak Portuguese, but with the help of friends she learned Korean and then English. “I had a typical immigrant experience in LA. I didn’t speak the language and don’t have good memories from there. I knew I didn’t want to move back there.”
After studying furniture design at Savannah College of Art and Design she ended up in New York City. “I fell in love with everything here,” she says.
Eny’s first New York City studio cost $2,000 a month. “I was terrified,” she says.
Her jewelry helped her pay the bills in the early days. But she didn’t grow up imagining she would one day be running her own design studio. “The American dream is a 9-to-5—having a salary and a 401(k).”
Eny’s playful furniture scale pieces made from clay, like her handbuilt Oo Lamp, earned lots of interest—especially on Instagram. “I have 20 to 30 open orders at any time,” she told me from her latest studio in Queens, where she now employs both a production assistant and digital manager.
A version of this article originally appeared in Sixtysix Issue 05 with the headline “Eny Lee Parker: Furniture Designer, Queens, New York.” Subscribe today.