Take one look at Sophie Snow and you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she is the woman behind Happy Six, the chain boutique (there are now two in Southern California) exploding in Hello Kitty and other kawai goodness.
What you would be surprised to learn is that the ethnically Tieuchiu Chinese and her family fled the Khmer Rouge and their native Cambodia when she was just a little girl. “We came to America with literally nothing but the clothes on our backs,” says Snow. “We lost everything we had — family members, homes, everything.”
To support the family — who even lived in the projects at one point — Snow’s mother worked in sewing factories. “That’s how I learned to sew,” says Snow. “Out of neccessity, I learned to make my own clothes.”
Fast forward a couple decades. Snow had been working as a (self-taught) designer for various fashion companies. She happened to see a “For Lease” sign in the Sawtelle area of West Los Angeles one day. That space became Happy Six. Today, in addition to carrying Hello Kitty, tokidoki, Harajuku Lovers, Tarina Tarantino, Angry Little Girls, and Disney Couture, Happy Six also features Snow’s own line Sophie Snowflake as well as the in-house Happy Six line. Snow opened her second Happy Six boutique in Plaza El Segundo in nearby El Segundo, Calif.
So what makes the 37-year-old tick and so obsessed with all things kawai after all these years? We asked her.