Vee Caragay - littleHONEYvee
Vee Caragay is the owner and creator of littleHONEYvee. Her Filipino themed designs are a mix of Tagalog words and phrases in beautiful lettering and cute illustrations. Based in the Bay Area, Vee is a graphic designer, illustrator, crafter, and mother who can be found at events like Undiscovered SF and Pistahan SF. Her shirts are perfect for all family members (Ate, Kuya, Lolo, Lola, Ninong, Ninang, Maganda, Malakas, Maliit) and are the cutest on kids, especially her son Mateo.
How did you find your career path?
Well, I have always had a creative side to me. If you didnt catch me in some Filipino community org, I was sewing something, painting something, doodling, singing, dancing..etc. Just always making & creating. I feel like it was just always in me from a young age.
What inspires you?
First off, my son inspires me to be a better person, mom, business owner. He is my reason <3 But my Lola was the one who inspired all the phrases. I'd like to think I get a lot of my personality traits from her. One being making people smile & laugh. She was good at it. She was my comedic influence and inspiration.
What do you love about the work you do?
I love making people smile & laugh. Seeing folks roll through my booth & sing "close open, close open" or read aloud all the phrases & share stories of their Lola. Saying things like "I thought Beautiful Eyes was just something my Lola did" not knowing that it is actually a whole cultural thing that Fil-Ams have in common.
How do you get into the creative flow of design?
To be honest. Shalamar & Straw-ber-ritas LOL Being a single momtrepenuer means finding time is the more difficult task. But once there is a free hour or two...the creativity has built up & just flows.
What's on your current playlist?
I listen to alot of disco, funk & 90s R&B. Shalamar-Night to Remember is always on my list!
What inspired you to use Filipino themes in your designs?
I've been involved in Fil-Am orgs since high school, so I've been implementing Filipino designs in my work here and there since the creation of littleHONEYvee. I just kept adding more and more..until well...what I have now
How have the designs been received? And which designs are the most popular?
Everyone has been really supportive! Sharing stories, buying & suggesting new designs too. Also, just loving my style of illustration, coz it's not only the phrase that draws them to my merch. Which is awesome! My most popular ones are Pogi Boyz Club, Gigil and Halo-halo Baby.
What is your favorite part about the creative process of creating a tshirt?
My favorite part would have to be the doodling part. A phrase is just a phrase, but when you put it with your own illustration...it gives it personality & character.
How do you feel about the Fil Am creative community? It seems like such a good community to be part of and uplifting.
It's really dope and I am honored to be a part of it!
How do you balance work and mom life?
Not gunna lie, it wasn't easy lol. I took about a year and a half hiatus from creating to just be a working Mom. That's not really me though. I think it was Kevin (vendor curator of UndiscoveredSF) who said "it was like you fell off the face of the earth & now I see you, and it's like you never left the scene" to which I replied "I"m back BABY!" lol Schedule is key, but also...live a little. Surround yourself with folks who support your craft. Enjoy what you do & don't let anyone tell you that you can't do both.
Do you have any upcoming projects and events that you are excited about?
YES! I have another collab tee design with Let's Kids dropping at the end of August. The first of our collabs was the Tupac Dear Mama tee which sold out in less that 2 months! I will be at Undiscovered SF August 18th & in October. I also am the vendor curator of #thegoodssf which is a night market/club at goes down at 111 Minna every 3rd sat of the month. There are also a few tentative events in Sept & October....but please follow me on instagram to get first hand news on shows & releases :)
All photos courtesy of Little HONEY Vee