Meet Hien Nguyen. "..expect the hard work, expect that there is going to be struggle..."
When I am not designing, or working or doing much of anything, I like to hunt through the forest of creative people. Looking for exciting, new people I would like to get to know. I am drawn to passionate people, exciting people. Ones exceptional at their craft. New people. Interesting people. Ones with interesting, different, meaningful and inspiring stories. I dig different and unique people. Challenging what has never been done. I come from very little and had to make the best with what we had and I find the most creative people have a very similar background. I like the people that didn't always fit in, they always have the best perspective, work ethic and aren't afraid to cuss a little. These are my kind of people.
Which gets me to my next part of my Blog. I want to talk to really unique, inspiring, engaging business owners. Passion seekers. Path finders ( isn't that a car? ) People who are leaders in their industry and they may or may not even know it. Rule brakers. I want to hear their strategies, success, failures and learn from them. I am so interested in the inter workings of success and how it looks to other people. I want to witness their business's grow. Meet some REAL people, in REAL business, doing REAL life things. Making their dreams come true...like...for REAL. Guess how REAL I want them to be haha.
Alright, so one day not to long ago, I am hoping for these real people to come into my life. I try to be a believer of what you think you attract. I think the power of the mind is unbelievable (We will talk about that in another blog) So I am sitting at the play ground, burning in the sun, while my daughter is running around and I get the magic "ding" Facebook notification. I have a new friend request. Welcome everybody to Hien Nguyen.
I stocked her Facebook page and instantly was attracted to her photography. It was sexy, moody and deep, while some was bright and happy and playful. She was a mix of all the things that are cool in this world! I had to meet her! I asked her is she would be interested in doing an interview about people who are REAL...ly into business. She was down! We met at the weirdest located Starbucks ever but she was gem to sit with. I LOVED getting to know her, her vision and her true believe of hard work. Her name means "nice" Born in Vietnam she came her when she was 10 with her Mom. Here's what we talked about:
AWM: So I get asked a lot "what does your name mean?" So I am going to have to ask you too..what does Hien mean?:
Hien: Nice hahahah
AWM: that's cool!
AWM : Your born in Vietnam, what made you come to the US ?
Hien: ( thinking) better opportunities
AWM: I understand moving to the US can be a big transition, was it a big culture shock?
Hien: Yes! I was in 4th grade! we didn't learn English. It wasn't part of our program to learn English. So going into 5th grade with no English was hard but good thing I was so advanced in other things like Math. My Math was like a junior here, so I got to skip a lot and constantly learn English in the back of the class. luckily the school I went to had a Vietnamese teacher, it was a little out of the way from the house, but I was so lucky I was able to study with her.
Going into 6th grade. I watched a lot of TV and read captions so I could spell pretty well. A lot of people get shocked, like "you don't have an accent." People wouldn't know. But I am still fluent in Vietnamese.
AWM: Wow! what a transition! when and what made you lean towards photography?
Hien: I was always that kid that had like a video camera. As a junior I took my friends seniors pictures and it really started from there. I never went to college, I graduated high school and that was about it. I didn't want to get myself into college and get myself into debt. I felt like I didn't know what I wanted to do and then I thought about it and realized, I know what I want to do! I was always interested in graphic design and web design and it was in the same genera. At 19 I was like "what am I talking about? I have a camera (I bought a really nice camera) I just had never realized this is what I wanted to do.
AWM: How did you know you wanted to take this on as a business? I know you said before the interview you worked in a restaurant. Were you getting burnt out?
Hien: I always wanted to go full time photography period. I was always debating, do I want photography to be my money maker? like my bill paying Job? or do I just want to create art and not really on paying my bills with photography? I was always in that limbo. Then working for corporate, running 3 restaurants and doing 70 hours a week on salary with no over time pay I was working so much. Lucky my mom had started a good job and my boyfriend too. I thought, you know what I am 24 years old, lets give this a chance.
AWM: So how was that first year?
Hien: I am still in my first year! its been pretty good, I had a ruff start. When winter hit everything through me off track with Christmas. Then, it started back up again at the start of the year. I have been doing pretty good and I don't think I need a " real" job yet hahah. Kidding, this is my real job.
AWM: With photography do you feel like it freed up your life? you said you were working the 70 hours?
Hien: Oh yea Oh yea, I was not sane. I am much happier and much relived. I feel like I am in real life and not in that limbo where I couldn't do art and I had to pay bills. I had to do what people want. I have come to realize people do respect my art and they are like "do whatever you want!" I have come to realize I can find a balance, I can do art and pay the bills.
AWM: Have you decided this is all or nothing?
Hien: This is my future. If it came to a slow season I wouldn't appose to get something on the side. But I don't think I need to be in that spot any more. I feel I can fill my time with collaborations. I feel like its not been a full year and I feel very confident. July will be my full year. The last 10 months have been a roller coaster. There are some days I cry because I wish I was more successful. Some days I am burnt out because I have done so much hahah. Some days I wish I could do more and some days I wish I could slow down!
AWM: Life of an entrepreneur
AWM: If you could go back 10 months ago, what advice would you tell yourself?
Hien: I feel like I have grown a lot. In just skills wise and marketing wise and basic business. I feel like maybe those are the things I would of told myself like, "this is the true you" you should network more, you should do this more, you should go this way more. I would of pushed myself to talk more. I am terrible at messaging hahaha.
AWM: Great! Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hien: in 5 years I mean.....I would love to have my own awesome amazing studio with a couple people who are amazing that I can work with. For direction, I am still trying to find out what my direction. To be successful I feel you have to put yourself 100% in one of these directions. I still trying to find out what I enjoy most. I love the wedding industry. I just feel like I dont know if I will ever get married hahaha.
AWM: Where this boyfriend we were talking about?
Hien: well yea, I tell him its like really expensive. Maybe in like 10 years. I do love weddings because I feel like its a fantasy I wont have any time soon. I get to make other people feel like this is their day. I love the modeling industry. I love the artistry. I used to be like "I want my picture in a magazine one day.." now I am just like "I just want these photos!I" just want them to look bomb. Magazine is dead haha. I love the family industry and I love the normal real people pictures, family, graduation, those are people that need me to capture these.
AWM: I can understand. Its hard for me to do everyday floral when I want to focus on Weddings and Events. Even holiday floral, because I am trying to focus on weddings. It takes a large amount of time.
AWM : What advice would you give to those entering into buisness?
Hien: umm...I think one advice I have been learning from I think is expect the hard work, expect that there is going to be struggle. There is going to be a lot of working in investments after a real life. You have to live a double life. One life is your dream and the other is reality. So a lot of people feel like they want to give up because its to hard but sorry thats the reality. Alot of people get into the indurty because there bored.
Your about to get rocked if you think your bored!
If your bored your not doing it right.
AWM: what is your style of photography? I dont know if that's the way to ask it?
Hien: a lot of photographers have like a theme or color-tone they stick with. I dont. I go based on whatever looks good in the moment. I go with whatever expresses the moment the best.
AWM: whats your favorite season to shoot in?
Hien: fall! I like the fall! I love the sunsets. Its so warm and its a good season period! its not hot its not cold. I hate spring its raining! I love fall most. But honestly I have noticed ever season has it own beauty. I have shoot some really pretty snow pictures and spring and summer. If you pay attention to natures it amazing.
Hien is such an amazing person to get to know! We spent a good couple hours at the coffee shop talking. She really reminded me to keep working, keep breaking the rules and keep doing cool shit. As I have FINALLY been able to collaborate with her, she was able to catch some amazing shots! Everything was moody, sexy and the colors she got where stunning. She took an chance with me and helped shoot some Bridal Bouquet Boudoir and the response so far has been amazing! I am excited to talk about Hien, promote her and tell everyone " if you haven't liked her business yet..do it now!"
Photographer // H.Nguyen Photography
Florist // Arrangements with Marzeyeh
Hair // Alexis Celeste
Model // Destiene Monique
Lashes // Lashes by Arlo