We had the good fortune of connecting with Jullie Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jullie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’ve always been the type of person to play things on the safe side but during the pandemic last year I found myself unhappy working for a corporate company that didn’t value one’s safety/health and put profit first before one’s well-being. I took a huge risk of losing my high paying salary along with all the benefits – healthcare, 401k, etc. to start my own business in the midst of a pandemic. All I can say is that it was the most terrifying feeling not to have any financial security and to invest a chunk of my savings into this new chapter of my career wasn’t easy… but definitely rewarding to see my business grow this past year and am enjoying all the support from the community thus far! 🙂 I’ve learned that taking risks can be scary but all worth it if you continue to work hard, stay positive and focused.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
BÀN BẠN in Vietnamese means “a friend’s table” – I wanted a name that focused around conversation. Whether it be a coffee table, dining table or a desk, a table is the centerpiece of where one gathers for conversation with friends, family and strangers. I wanted to help my clients create these spaces in their homes by providing a curated collection of vintage and contemporary pieces.
Hunting for vintage furniture was something that I always enjoyed doing over the last decade so starting this wasn’t necessarily hard for me to do when it came to sourcing – however, like myself, tons of “pandemic dealers” we’re born last year making it much more competitive. Setting up the legal stuff and business end of things were challenging but I found that if you asked for help, all the answers you need are out there.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When friends come to visit, first stop is usually my studio! We sit, talk and catch up on life. Once we’re done with all 350sf of my shop, I take them to a few local favs for food: Otomisan and Marisco Jalisco in Boyle Heights, Yuchun and BongChu in Koreatown, Angels Tacos in Eagle Rock, or Burgers Never Say Die in Silverlake.
It really depends on who’s visiting and where we end up taking them. Could be a beach day in Malibu, a hike up to the Griffith Observatory or just a mellow hang at Echo Park Lake – but always starting or ending with shop visit!
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?
A person that plays the biggest role in the success of my new business venture is my husband, Thomas Le. Without him, Ban Ban would not have been born. He has been my rock and supported my decision to leave my corporate job. He’s a creative himself and has played so many roles in my branding, photography, styling, sourcing, etc. He’s my right hand man and someone I can always lean on – especially with lifting heavy furniture lol!