We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Ngu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, how do you define success?
I’ve always defined success purely financially. What number would define success? How many loaves of bread would we need to get there? How many customers would need to walk through our doors? Some years we would demolish our year-end goals, others miss it completely, while some years just barely reach it. As the daughter of the founders and the current CEO, I now know that success cannot be defined only by a number. Success can be seen through so many different perspectives. I now define it as making differences in people’s lives. From our team to our customers to our suppliers from all over the globe, we successfully create smiles and feed families. I’m so proud of our team and so grateful to our customers. Success to me now means love and we spread love through our bread. I feel like one of the luckiest people on the planet to be able to do what I love and love what I do everyday.
What should our readers know about your business?
Of course, every company has their unique stories and ours is no different. Pacific French Bakery started off as one of the many attempts to simply survive for my parents; Steven and Stefanie Ngu. They were refugees from the Vietnam War and came to America penniless while not knowing a lick of English. My mother went to adult school at night and worked at a local bakery. My father worked as many jobs as he possibly could in a 24 hour period. He knew this is the land of the free and the brave. Being here in America was my dad and mom’s second chance in life. They decided to start their own bakery. After 35 years of blood, sweat, and tears, the bakery grew into a small bakery chain. This little family run bakery got me and my 3 sisters through college. It wasn’t easy. My parents ran a business while learning the language to get around. They would spend anywhere between 10 to 18 hours at the bakery everyday for years, without a day off, and definitely without a vacation. The had to swim, sinking without an option for them. I grew up adopting their amazing work ethic. Hard work and dedication was in our blood. As the current CEO, 10-14 hour days aren’t unfamiliar to me. I learned that there are endless solutions to any problem. Giving up was never a solution. We can and will figure it out, whatever it was. I want the world to know that my parents live the American Dream through their hard work and perseverance. They are living proof that anything is possible.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many amazing places around LA to go and see. I would take you around our beautiful city! Ready? Let’s go! First off, our beaches! You can’t visit California without letting the water hit your feet and feel the sand underneath your toes. We would start as far down as Laguna Beach. Go to the Farmers’ Market and choose the delicious, sweet peaches and the mouth-watering plums. Yum! Then, we’ll take them down to the beach and have ourselves a little picnic in the grass right before the sand. Before leaving Laguna Beach, we have to get our feet wet a bit. We’ll jump into the car and drive north to Santa Ana where you’ll find the best Vietnamese cuisine in all of southern California. If you like to shop, you can’t skip South Coast Plaza! The beautiful indoor shopping mall and the restaurants are very fancy so it’ll give you an excuse to wear your taller heels! We’re heading over to Huntington Beach now. Along PCH near 2nd and first street, you’ll find yourself with a little local shops, restaurants, and firepits! Stop by a market and pick up some marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers because we have to make some smores before leaving Huntington Beach. Next day, you have to do a few days at the theme parks. We have Universal, Disneyland and California Adventure, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Six Flags Magic Mountain. Making our way up the shore, you have the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Hermosa Beach has great Mexican Food. A very cute place to shop as well. Manhatten Beach has great outdoor eateries and don’t forget to rent some kayaks in Marina Del Rey. The famous pier at Santa Monica. If you like adventure, they have a trapeze school right on the beach! It’s so gorgeous to be flying through the sky with oceanviews. Continue up PCH and you’ll find yourself at Malibu. Beautiful quiet beaches with big waves. If you want to try the waves, get there early. Surfers from all over are fighting for parking by 6am! Then, drive inland toward downtown LA where you can easily grab a scooter and go all over town! See the sights and sounds while feeling the breeze in your hair! Lots of taco trucks and downtown dogs (aka street vendors selling hot dogs wrapped in bacon and smothered in fried bell peppers and onions). Check the schedule because you might be able to catch the Lakers play! A few miles north of that is Alvarado Street where you will find lots of Latin flavor! From decor to the cuisine, you’ll be transformed into the wonderful world of pan dulce, taco, burritos, and Latin music. Drive a little more north and there you’ll find Dodgers Stadium. There you can grab a Dodger Dog! In Los Feliz, you can sit at a bunch of quaint outdoor restaurants. Jump onto the 10 freeway and get off in Little Tokyo to get some award winning ramen and continue on to the San Gabriel Valley to get some authentic Asian food. If you want to hike, Malibu and Griffith Park have amazing views!
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?
I dedicate my shoutout to my parents for their unconditional love and for inspiring me to reach for the stars!!
Linkedin: Pacific French Bakery
Yelp: Pacific French Bakery