Jo Ko is the owner of Xev Pallet Crafts, a Singapore-based store on Etsy selling handcrafted Pokemon dioramas. She has sold over 1,000 of them to date.

Published 2019-08-08 16:07:22

Like many of us, Singaporean Jo Ko (31) hates rush hour traffic.

While that wasn’t the main reason why she left the corporate world to start her own Pokémon diorama-making business, it was one of the factors that made her realise that “life is much more fun and fulfilling doing what [she] enjoys for most of [her] waking hours”.

Having worked in a corporate marketing role for real estate developers since graduating from university, she revealed in an interview with Vulcan Post that she didn’t formally learn how to make the beautiful dioramas she creates, and that it was all “just a build-up of skill sets over the years”.

pokemon diorama
Image Credit: Xev Pallet Crafts

“It also helps that I love crafts and I’ve been crafty since I was a kid,” she said.

Terrariums have become a trend in recent times, but the reason why Jo chose to make dioramas (which does not include live plants) instead was simply because she “didn’t have the green thumbs needed to keep [the plants in terrariums] alive”.

pokemon diorama
Image Credit: Xev Pallet Crafts

“I [just] made what I enjoyed looking at,” she quipped.

Jo shared that making a Pokéball takes “anything from a week to a couple of months to complete”, and she gets inspiration for the designs from her travels “and of course, the Pokémon world”.

pokemon diorama
Image Credit: Xev Pallet Crafts

Having had most of the materials needed to create her dioramas, Jo didn’t need to invest much to start the business.

“I made more a few extra [dioramas] and put it online to check for interest [and] the business grew organically from there.”

In September 2017, Xev Pallet Crafts was born.

Over 1,000 Pokéballs Sold To Date

Image Credit: Xev Pallet Crafts

Currently, she has sold over a thousand of her creations to Pokémon fans around the world, but business didn’t take off from the get-go.

“Business was slow at the start, as expected,” she recalled. “But being on Etsy’s marketplace platform helped a lot.”

Screenshot from Etsy

With most of her customers being located in the US, UK, and European countries like Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, logistics arrangements were the “bane of [her] existence”, especially in the earlier days of the business.

“I craft my Pokéballs with a lot of love and care so I would hate for them to be damaged on arrival!”

“Another challenge I still face to this day is creating designs which don’t move even with vigorous shaking, and yet stay true to the character and lore of that Pokémon.”

With so many dioramas created, Jo shared that her most memorable one to date was the very first watermelon-sized 20cm Pokéball she handcrafted.

“It was so huge that the base I use for other Pokéballs wasn’t stable enough, and I had to sculpt a new custom type of base for this monster.”

When asked about her future plans for Xev Pallet Crafts, Jo shared that she is looking to add more features to the Pokéballs and even create non-Pokémon dioramas.

“You’ll have to stay tuned to my Instagram for more information,” she teased.

  • Check out Xev Pallet Crafts on Etsy here.

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