Our empowering woman of the month is Thy Nguyen!
Each month we are collaborating with the talented Mike Aguilar Photography to show and feature our amazing boss girls in our community.
Thy along with her husband David is the owner of VII Asian Bistro, a Vietnamese and Chinese restaurant located in the heart of Oklahoma City Asian district on Classen Blvd. Running one restaurant is a huge feat but together the couple owns and manages 2 locations. The second location is located in south Oklahoma City.
When I think back about the time when opening my own boutique was a mere idea, the first person that comes to mind is Thy. My husband and I very often visit Thy and her husband’s restaurant, if you haven’t tried it, you must check it out! It easily became one of my favorite Vietnamese comfort food places after moving to Oklahoma City and still is.
As often as we eat there, you get to know the owners quite well! Each time we ate at VII Asian Bistro, I would get to know Thy more and more. Eventually, she would just sit down with us sometimes during dinner and visit. The things that really stood out to me about Thy is that she is a woman of faith and she is so empowering and positive and very genuine.
When I brought up the idea of opening a store in Oklahoma City, she was so excited for me, coming from a fashion major and fashion career previously, she wanted to know all the details. And I am sure some of the excitement is that she loves to shop just as much as any girl out there. She always had encouraging words for me and told me about her and her husband experiences, good and bad, about wanting to open their restaurants. She said she would just pray on the bad days and pray even when things were good and that it would continue to be good. She was very optimistic and was constantly sending positive words and advice my way.
I have been inspired by Thy not just with her faith but her support and love for her culture and community. Even with running two restaurants with her husband, she also makes time to be apart of her community through her charitable involvement including sponsorships and involvement with F.A.I.T.H Kid’s Children Cancer and Oklahoma Vietnamese Community Fundraiser. She is also currently a board member for the Asian District Cultural Association for Oklahoma City, a non-profit organization to promote the Asian district and culture, and to build awareness of the businesses around the area. She is a volunteer and member of several local organizations. Thy is also a contributor to over 8 different local charities.
Whether your faith lies in your religion or not, sometimes we, as women, just need to believe there is something bigger than ourselves out there. This faith helps us strive to be a better version of ourselves and to seek a meaningful life in this chaotic world. And it only makes things better and easier when other women are out there cheering us on as well! We are all one team. Thy has been a cheerleader to me since the beginning of Nhu Avenue, when it was just a tiny idea. And for all those reasons, Thy is our empowering woman for the month of August. She is an example of believing, having faith, and uplifting others!
Getting to know Thy!
What is the most challenging thing about running your own business?
Being a restaurant owner is not as glamorous as it’s being portrayed in movies. No job is beneath you like cleaning the toilet or taking out the trash. There’s always something that need your attention, either with staff, customer, food, inventory, or maintenance.
What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?
The reward of having your own business is being your own boss. There’s a lot of responsibility that goes into the title, but the joy of knowing that it’s yours and you can make a difference. Our business is in Asian District. Just this past June, we were apart of the Asian Night Festival that promotes the different Asian cultures in our city with food and entertainment. We provided the Pho Challenge Contest and were one of the sponsors that sponsored the event. If we weren’t a restaurant owner, I don’t think we would be able to contribute in that capacity. It’s part of giving back and building up the surrounding community.
How do you balance your work and personal life?
The key is to have good, trustworthy, and reliable people. Since having my sister-in-law, Linda Nguyen, as the front manager, it frees up a lot of time for me to do the things I need in my personal life.
What are some are pros and cons working with your spouse on a business together?
The pros are we are in it together. We are each other’s support system. Plus, the restaurant hours are long, so if we were not working together, we would not have seen each other much. As for the cons, the tensions from work could come home with us.
What advice would you give someone that is wanting to open up their own business?
Be prepare to work really hard and you might fall on your face a few times, but remain steadfast in your vision. The first year might be a struggle, but it will get better.