Principal, Stephanie Chang Ink Design, LLC
SBA Certification Roundtable and “The Hierarchy of a Dollar” webinar participant
Stephanie Chang’s journey has taken her from dance to museum education and exhibitions, to graphic design, and now to visual communications and learning and for community transformation. Established in 2008, Stephanie Chang Design Ink, LLC, based in Kaimuki on Oahu, goes beyond visual and content design by incorporating convenings and community engagement into her slate of services. Stephanie’s work strengthens communities, seeds equity, inspires stewardship and behavioral change.
“If done right, the convenings can reaffirm our humanness, offer inspiration and a safe environment for courage to find new solutions, and ultimately, even healing,” Stephanie explained. “There’s a bigger purpose to this work. It’s about inspiring communities to step into their power; to shape a way of living, a quality of life where we can all thrive. That’s what drives my work.”
Stephanie has been intentional about choosing to focus on three sectors at this point in time: energy, transportation, and independent film. “Energy and transportation are traditionally very technical-driven, so I bring value by conveying information in ways that are meaningful to people,” she said. “It’s like bringing a humanness into these sectors that have become dehumanized.”
Stephanie’s company offers a wide range of services, including branding, website development, print collateral, infographics, and digital media.
As a woman of color entrepreneur, Stephanie has observed that the energy and transportation fields are traditionally male dominated, which could be why their communications have been lacking. Tradition aside, when she attended the Hawaii Energy Conference in Maui in May, Stephanie found that women made up 65% of the panelists. “They were being mindful of gender representation, but it’s women who are actually seated in leadership roles, who are doing the work” she said, noting that the presidents and CEOs of both Hawaii Gas and Hawaiian Electric are women.
Stephanie’s ability to connect with women clients on a deeper level has contributed to the success and fulfillment she experiences in her work, and she embraces her femininity. “My family is all girls, except my dad, and we just grew up being treated like we could do anything,” she recalled.
Reflecting on her journey, Stephanie takes pride in this moment. She’s discovered her own value and learned the importance of negotiating fair prices for her services. Stephanie's mission-driven approach and values have remained consistent since the early days of her business, but with experience, she’s gained the confidence to think bigger and aspire to higher goals.
Stephanie's affiliation with the MBDA Enterprising Women of Color Business Center began through her connection with the Center’s Director Marla Momi Musick. Through the Center, Stephanie has accessed valuable information and services. Notably, she had the opportunity to participate in the SBA Certification Roundtable, an event that enabled her to evaluate the suitability of certification for her business and make the informed decision to actively pursue certification. Additionally, Stephanie attended the webinar titled “The Hierarchy of a Dollar,” expertly facilitated by Mariko Gordon. These resources have helped her gain a solid foundation for her business and understand the tangible steps required to achieve her goals.
Looking ahead, Stephanie’s plans involve further growth within the energy sector. She’s involved with the Energy Equity Hui to redesign systems to address environmental justice issues and meet the needs of the community. With a focus on project management, design, and community interaction, Stephanie aims to secure grant funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pilot a project that innovates in community engagement.
To her fellow woman entrepreneurs and small business owners, Stephanie offers the following advice: “Working as an independent can be extremely demanding. We’re doing the ‘actual work’ that we’re getting paid to do, but also the billing, taxes, marketing, and sales to cultivate a steady stream of more work. That’s a lot for one human; however, the tradeoff is we have the freedom and privilege to determine the direction of our business—what we want to work on and pursue, and how we want to do it. And we get to realize the full expression of who we are, which has, and continues to be, my life’s journey! We get to learn and use our unique voice, realize our unique contribution, and as a woman, step into our divine feminine power to succeed madly at what we’ve set our intention to do.”