We had the good fortune of connecting with Doris Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Doris, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My uncles who played a father role growing up is a big influencer in my life. They are big dreamers and talked a lot about being an entrepreneur so it’s what’s engraved in my mind growing up.
When I started my first fashion women label, Hanhny, I had no business plan but I had a clear vision of the women Hanhny represented, a wanderer who is free-spirited and not afraid to take the beaten path.
Now that I’m a mother of two, I wanted this new label to be sophisticatedly more colorful and fun where both adults and kids share influences equally to the aesthetic of the designs and brand. That’s how Akimiro came about.
Sophistication (adult side) + playful (free-spirited little ones) = Akimiro
If Akimiro was a song, I would like to compare it to ‘Sing to Me’ by Walter Martin and Karen O. I discovered Walter Martin not too long ago because I’m a big Karen O fan and one thing led to another and a happy discovery! Walter Martin bridge the gap between music for children and adults as Akimiro is a fashion label that bridge the gap for children and adults.
As children is such a big representation of the future, I think a lot about what role Akimiro can be a part of to stand for sustainability. And this led the idea of launching the first collection to be fully up-cycled and promote slow fashion. Every piece is all cut and sew by me in my work studio. With up-cycled collections, I wanted to send a metaphoric message by reworking secondhand/vintages pieces, we are making connections with the past to the present for the sake of a better future.
I am currently working behind the scenes with a supplier on a ‘made to order’ collection. This way, it would help minimize waste and over stocking. In another word, we would only produce what gets sold! I’m super excited about this and aim to launch this Fall. So more on that later. 😉
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Looking back at my career life, some times I can’t believe I landed in big corporates career like Old Navy or Tommy Bahama. There are definitely a combination of luck and hard work involved, but I said I can’t believe it because I was just a refugee kid who grew up in a low-income and single parent household. So landing in corporate jobs and even started my own fashion line and being able to take it as far as it did, I sometimes had to take a moment and appreciate every part of it.
And today, I am feeling blessed I have this moment in my life to start a second label, Akimiro where I took up the challenge on starting an adult and kids line with even more sustainability in mind. I’ve spent months figuring out what ‘sustainability’ means and how can a small designer brand like me play our part, so that’s why I started out with the first collection fully upcycled pieces. Every piece starts out as a treasure hunt with an imagination of what it could become. Although I may have specific ideas or designs assigned to every piece, it takes time to get it right with trial and error. That makes the process exciting and interesting as every piece is unique and one of a kind.
I call this first collection, Blu. (https://akimiro.com/collections/frontpage) because blue is the color of the sky and the sea and symbolizes unity, peace, calm, serenity and freshness. I want this collection to offer a breathe of fresh air and send positive vibes.
This Blu Gallery is…
A space for peace and unity.
A place where we stand for love and be good.
A moment in time where we can finally step outside again to exhale the worries and breathe in the beauty laying ahead.
Like a ‘punky reggae party’, positive vibes only.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am currently in Seattle, Washington. We moved here 4 years ago and the more corners I turn, the more I’m starting to realize how beautiful this place is. We are so lucky to call this place home. When my besties come visit, these are the places I would take them to:
*Go for a morning 3 mile run around Geen Lake
*Take a bike ride on the Burke Gilman bike trail from Ravenna Park to Magnuson Park (Must stop at the Met Market along the way for ‘The Cookie’. I bribe all my visitors with ‘The Cookie’. Then stop at Magnuson Brewery for some good beer with waterfront view.
*Take an easy hike at Discovery Park and let the kids play at the sandy beach while we take in the scenic view of the Olympic Mountains. After that, have a picnic lunch at Ella Bailey Park and enjoy the scenic view of the city.
Favorite Foodie spots:
*Pie Bar in Ballard (they got drinks and best pies!)
*Meet Fresh in Bellevue (for boba tea and hot grass jelly)
*Bakery Vouveau – best almond croissant!
*Regent Bakery & Cafe – love their sponge cake!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many people I have to thank you for. I’ve actually made a video recently and perhaps I can share that! https://youtu.be/Ho_i7OBpU3Q
All images are taken by me and have the rights to share.