We’re starting a new series introducing you to Brooklyn Makers who’ve come to the US from another country. New York City wouldn’t be what it is without its vibrant immigrant population, which I’m a proud member of. When I moved to Brooklyn from Spain in 2004, I quickly felt at home (you would have never guessed, right?). Since then, I’ve started four businesses and met countless other entrepreneurs from around the world who have done their part to turn Brooklyn into one of the creative capitals of the world. I guess you just get the entrepreneurial bug hard when you start a new chapter abroad.

I’m excited to introduce you in this first installment to three amazing local talents with faraway roots – Hong Kong, Russia and India. A small sample of our diverse, awesome community.

Esme & Mao / Bianca Siu Davies

Bianca Siu
Esme & Mao
Esme & Mao

What brought you to Brooklyn?
I grew up in Hong Kong and moved to San Francisco for college. On my first spring break in freshman year, I splurged all my savings and took a solo trip to New York and stayed in a hostel in Manhattan. I immediately felt at home in this city. So after college, I packed up, moved across the country and have been here since.

When did you start your business?
I started making silly cat and food-themed cards for friends and family around 2012. People were really sweet and encouraging, so I slowly started adding things to my Etsy shop over the years, and in 2016 I finally turned it into a real business and started to sell wholesale to a few stores over the country.

What’s unique about your business?
This is a tough one, there are so many amazing card-makers out there! I just try to keep the cards silly and not serious. I love illustrating and writing captions for the cards because it makes me happy. If it ever stops being fun, I’ll stop making them.

What do you love about Brooklyn?
Where do I even begin?? Brooklyn, in my experience, is a welcoming place no matter where you’re from. It’s a place that people have gone out of their way to help and encourage me.

I live in Clinton Hill and I tell people I live in the real life Sesame Street. The architecture is beautiful, the people are so nice, and I’m pretty sure Big Bird and Cookie Monster are around here somewhere!

Turbomasala / Nikita & Anastasia

Turbomasala

Turbomasala

Turbomasala

What brought you to Brooklyn?
We love Brooklyn because out of all the places in the world we go to (we travel at least 8 months a year) that’s the only one where we feel like we’re on the edge of everything that’s happening in the world: fashion, art, music, tech.

When did you start your business?
We’ve started our business two years ago and since then made great progress in the States!

What’s unique about your business?
We believe that the whole way of how we’re making our product is what makes it so unique. We first saw the seeds, then we grow flowers, dehydrate them, search for legends related to each flower inside our ornaments. It’s a whole story behind each one of our items. And the story on a tag makes it a very personal gift.

What do you love about Brooklyn?
We love Brooklyn for its streets, its graffitis, little cafes and, most important, the people that are the core of this everchanging borough.

The Brooklyn Block / Sanksshep Mahendra & Namrata Vansadia

The Brooklyn Block - Sanksshep & Namrata

The Brooklyn Block

The Brooklyn Block

What brought you to Brooklyn?
We did our Masters at Pratt Institute. Sanksshep got a Masters in Architecture and Urban Design, and Namrata a Masters in Communication Design.

When did you start your business?
We started The Brooklyn Block in October 2013

What’s unique about your business?
Videos of locations across neighborhoods are processed in code to create generative patterns. The generated pattern is then printed on a scarf thus reflecting colors, layers and textures of that neighborhood.

What do you love about Brooklyn?

Brooklyn is a very stimulating place for designers and architects. It has some amazing open spaces and structures with lot of character. Every neighborhood in Brooklyn is diverse and beautiful. Brooklyn has contributed a lot to American culture, art and has layers of history wrapped in it.

Love these three! Know any awesome Brooklyn Makers with foreign roots that we should check out? Tell us in the comments below.

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