Toronto’s Champ Magazine recently decided to dive into radio. Lately they’ve been interviewing a lot of people within the fashion industry, most notably Alex Kuang of IM King and Bee Nguyen of Hot Air Brand.
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do.
My name is Bee Nguyen; I am the owner of Grand Tactics; a lifestyle/influencer consulting agency www.grandtactics.com and I am a co-founding partner in a apparel company by the name of Hot Air Brand. www.hotairbrand.com.
What’s a typical day in your life / job like?
My days start with taking my daughter to school, then off to the gym, meetings all day, a little Twitter (@BeeNguyen), a bit of Facebook, a few blog posts (beenguyen.com), then off to one of my weekly clubs I co-promote at night.
How did this type of work interest you and how did you get started?
I always knew that I ultimately wanted to be my own boss, and so my first real job in the industry was for an entrepreneur by the name of Steve Rifkind; founder of LOUD records and now SRC. Working for a trailblazer like Steve, I learned a lot about brand marketing and the influential power of youth culture early on in my career.
How did you get your job? What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?
I started off as an intern at LOUD records, within 2 years, worked my way up to become Director of Marketing for LOUD’s sister company SRC, was able to work with corporate clients as varied as Adidas, MTV films, Pepsi, SONY, and realized that companies were paying BIG money to learn how to communicate to the young trendsetting demographic. I was then hired by Nike to be a part of their Brand Marketing team in LA, worked on a project called The Blue House in Venice, still not satisfied with my career path, I started my own consulting agency in ’04 and have not looked back since. And most recently in ’07, with a few friends co-founded our clothing line; Hot Air Brand which has been growing at a steady pace; currently in over 100 retail doors nationwide.
Can you suggest some ways a student could obtain this necessary experience?
The best way to obtain the necessary “know how” is to surround yourself with those that inspire you, those that are doing what you want to do, and having the passion and commitment to learn your craft. Like my friend Mister Cartoon says; “most overnight success stories are more like 10 years in the making.”
What are the most important personal satisfactions and dissatisfactions connected with your occupation? What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying? Most challenging? What do you like and not like about working in this industry?
I definitely appreciate the luxury of working at my own pace, setting my own schedule and doing what I love each and everyday. The constant excitement of new projects, clients, collections, events. The only drawback is the fact that when you work for yourself, no one pays you but YOU, so you gotta stay motivated, and we can all get complacent at times. I love what I do so its not a mundane task everyday, I think that’s the most important part is love what you do, then its not going to feel like work. I also enjoy the fact that for the most part, the bulk of my friends are in my industry as well so we all work together and hang out together. Its like an extended family.
What are some of the other jobs available in this field or organization?
As far as jobs, nowadays you have to be able to wear multiple hats, so it’s very common to be a graphic designer / web designer or a publicist / event producer, so it’s really about being multifaceted and being able to adapt to various job opportunities. Everyone has a clothing line now and/or is a blogger, so you just have to really carve your own career path and stay in your lane.
What particular skills or talents are most essential to be effective in your job? How did you learn these skills?
You have to have drive, determination, passion, follow thru, and an ability to work with a variety of different personalities, cause in business, you definitely come across all walks of life, and they don’t always mesh with you. I guess my learning curves came from just working, and soaking up all that you can, being around those that inspired me. Ask questions, be a sponge.
How is the economy affecting this industry?
I think that as with everything else during hard times, consumers are looking for more bang for their buck, so you notice brands with lower price points profiting a bit more for the most part, unless you are already a household luxury name like a Hermes or Gucci. We even lowered our own t-shirts which went from $65 to $36 retail. But its times like these that the strong thrive so I am very happy to be in business.
How has your job affected your lifestyle?
My job is basically my lifestyle. I have been very fortunate to be one of those folks that was able to learn early on that I myself was a “brand” to a certain extent and once I realized that I could get paid to essentially do what I do, synergize my passions, it gave me a sense of conviction and humility at the same time. I do not take for granted all that’s in my life and with that I am continuously learning to be appreciative of what I possess financially and spiritually.
What abilities or personal qualities do you believe contribute most to success in this field / job?
Humility, drive, loyalty, honor, love, and respect.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us Bee. Do you have any last words or shout-outs?
I would like to shout out my business partners in Hot Air Brand; Charlie Muff, Chike Ozah, Diego Carlin and Duke Wu. Our incredible team that supports us, Wesley Chu, Dave Rowan, Isaiah Sanchez, Emily Gaddy, and the M&P crew. Shout out to the COLLECTIVE; Doug Wu & Arsen, JL, my homies over at Android Homme, Black Scale, Crooks & Castles, Mighty Healthy, CLAE, Diamond Supply, GOURMET, PASSPORT, Public School, the ladies over at BPMW, LTD Mag, Danny Lee of the YD’S, Kenny Mac and the whole Creative Contraband family and of course The Goodie Bag for the love.
Da Bakery in NYC is hosting an event for a recent collab Hot Air did with the world famous TATS CRU in NYC. The limited edition t-shirts will only be available at Da Bakery while supplies last.
SOURCE: Bee Nguyen
Diamond Supply Co. has teamed up with with tastemakers Javier Laval and Jerry Lorenzo of Android Homme, Bee Nguyen of Grand Tactics / Hot Air, and others on this week’s Love / Hate party in L.A. If your in Los Angeles and looking for something to do tonight, definitely hit this up!
SOURCE: Bee Nguyen