Founder of Mango Pop, Keiko Agena, used to forget birthdays. Months would go by before her friends and family would get a belated birthday phone call. One day, she vowed to remember every birthday that year. She made a list and decided to actually look at it. But instead of a phone call, she took the creative leap and started decoupaging handmade cards. She would think about each person and come up with the best expression of that feeling she had for them. The results were whimsical, personal cards that conveyed the joy and appreciation she had for these important people in her life. They were also a lot of fun.
Mango Pop is the next generation of that process. Since Keiko had no prior expierence with art, she decided to teach herself illustrator from a $40 tutorial she downloaded from the Internet. Now, barely a day goes by when she’s not trying to draw something she’s never drawn before. Some of the humor of the cards might be fostered in the Groundlings Improv School classes she takes…… or not. But one thing is sure, each Mango Pop card is crafted with care and exists as a wish to bring two people closer together. Keiko always thinks about which of her friends she would give a card to before she designs it. Some of the cards even have the name of this friend hidden on the lower left corner on the back of it. Each of the characters express a feeling that Keiko has secretly or not so secretly had. Their environment is an illustrated playgroud where addictions for chocolate, television and napping are celebrated. Yipppeee! Of course, the other crucial member of Mango Pop is Keiko’s husband, Shin Kawasaki. Shin is the first person to see each new card design. He is a Los Angeles based musician most known for the bands, Los Desnudos, John Paul Yamamoto and Lunar Unit. Keiko, when she is not working on her cards, is also an actress, most known for her role as Lane Kim in Gilmore Girls. She also tries to join her husband’s bands as a back up bass player and drummer… she hasn’t been successful yet. Shin and Keiko are very grateful to have the opportunity to stay in creative fields. One day they will move to Hawaii (where all of the Agenas are) and spend their afternoons eating mangoes from the back yard and sitting on a swinging bench.