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Conversations with the Inspiring Amanda Nguyen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Nguyen.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started Feast.Fashion.Faves back in May 2011 as a creative outlet to explore my interests in food and fashion. I had just graduated from UC Irvine with a degree in dance and was currently teaching dance and needed a way to channel my other passions.

I really worked from the ground up before Instagram became a driving force for bloggers and businesses. I covered three seasons of New York Fashion Week and various LA Fashion Week and other fashion related events for the following years. FFF has given me numerous opportunities to write for various publications such as ehow.com, ladylux.com and currently the Irvine Chamber of Commerce’s tourism blog Destination Irvine; model for product video and photo shoots; wardrobe style and work back of house during runway shows, create a digital fashion magazine with a fellow fashion purveyor and most importantly create long-lasting relationships with other passionate, creative people. Through FFF, I have been featured and published in VietBeauty Magazine, Locale Magazine and named on the Best O.C. Fashion Blogs list by CBS Los Angeles for three consecutive years. I currently reside in Orange County, Calif., and work as a marketing a trade show coordinator for a software company, and always have a constant desire to travel which I enjoy sharing those adventures through FFF as well.

Has it been a smooth road?
I would say at the beginning it was a mix of smooth and not so smooth because everything was new, there weren’t many resources and peers to help navigate the journey so there was a learning curve, but I feel that was a blessing in disguise as it really taught and pushed me to go after what I want to build my brand. My motto is, you don’t know until you ask; so although I was just starting out and didn’t have that large of an audience, I researched and reached out to people in the industries that I wanted to cover or get involved with. I would say more often times than not, I would be given access or a pass to the event or whatever it was that I wanted to cover. And if I got a no, at least I took the initiative to ask. I’ve had numerous individuals (other influencers and bloggers) see that I’m working or collaborating with a brand and reach out to me directly to share the contacts with them – I feel like this is a big no-no unless I specifically reached out to you to connect you with those brands. As a blogger/influencer/content creator, I work extremely hard for the partnerships I have and relationships that have stemmed from the partnerships; I also feel it’s a breach of privacy if I were to openly share emails and contacts of brand representatives and staff as perhaps they don’t want to be inundated with media inquiries.

What I discovered in recent years is that the blogging industry has become diluted and the struggle for me now is to convey my own unique voice and keep myself from comparing to others, especially in the digital visual age in which all I see is what fantastic destination or what cool new bag or item is this blogger or Instagrammer wearing now. I really had a “come to Jesus” moment where I needed to stick to what I’m all about and not let all the media around influence or dictate my content or what I truly love to share. And I feel that that perseverance to my authenticity and individuality is what my audience likes about my blog and socials.

My biggest advice for women starting on a similar journey is to identify the “why” you want to be doing this, is it just for fun, for business or both (although I must say even if you are pursuing this for fun, to have a business ethics put in place just like running any other business cause at the end of the day if you’re looking to get involved in this space and work/collaborate with others I think there should be a certain professional standard such as having a designated email address for your blog or platform and knowing how to write up and respond to emails or other inquiries); knowing that you can say no to a partnering with a brand or company if you feel it doesn’t align with your style or even your values; and not being afraid to go after what you want. For example, you like a clothing brand and you want to collaborate with them. Write down main points as to why and how you will partner with that brand and incorporate into a pitch email – and if you don’t know where to begin… my best friend is GOOGLE. Although many bloggers and influencers now are sharing great tips on how to compose pitch letters to media kits, there is also an ABUNDANCE of resources available to you online. If I didn’t know something like how to draft a statement of work or contract to use with companies (which I always advocate having some sort of agreement even if you are receiving a small product in exchange for your work, because then everyone is on the same page and you have a document to refer back to), then I would just look it up and then tweak the contract template to work for me.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
My day job that is separate from FFF is a marketing & trade show coordinator for a software company. So, it’s good for me to be exposed to marketing practices on a corporate level, and I get to plan and execute the company to exhibit at trade shows and conference on a global level which has enhanced my skillset for FFF.

For my brand personally, I specialize in product modeling and styling and also assist with floral design, decor styling and shooting for weddings and events. As a brand, I’m proud to share the things that matter to me in life, and although I do participate in publishing paid content, the content I produce and share is still true to my personality – I’m not trying to push the newest diet tea or teddy bear vitamin fad (unless that’s a product I’m genuinely interested in), or get someone to download an app to shop my outfit. When I work with a brand or company in which I get to meet them or a representative in person, they are always pleasantly surprised that I am the way I portray myself to be on Instagram or my blog – yes my IG feed itself is more of a highlight reel, but if I share anything via Instagram stories or snapchat, I’m being myself, and people (from the feedback I’ve received) are excited and drawn to that authenticity.

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
Some women that have inspired me in my life include:

My mother – She has always supported me to pursue my dreams and passions (even though I know she had aspirations for me to be a professional pianist). She has also been someone that I looked up to for style inspiration, and is my forever fashion icon! She has a kind heart and soul which she strives to instill that kindness and compassion with myself and siblings every day, and I have an extreme respect for her as an immigrant that fled a country affected by war and making a new life for herself in the U.S. where she was able to complete her BA and Master degrees while working a full-time job, being a wife and raising 2 children. I know that if she could do all that, I can achieve anything.

Shawna Henrie/Bleudog Fotography & Bleudog Floral – we met while on set for a hair/makeup shoot that I was modeling in and she was photographing for. We completely hit it off and I was drawn to her free and loving spirit. I always refer to her as my second mom, cause there is such as soothing and calm aura about her that helps me center myself, and she is an incredibly talented florist and photographer. I can’t recall how many times we have just chatted back and forth bouncing ideas on photo shoots to plan or places that we can go to shoot for my blog. She is definitely a driving force in my career and a big part of my personal life as well.

Renee Rogers/Hanger Shortage & 16thColony – Renee and I first met at a blogger networking event, she was there on behalf of her blog Hanger Shortage. I was so thrilled to get to know her more as she definitely has this mysterious allure to her; and was impressed and in awe to find out that she has a design background and even her own bohemian inspired clothing line called 16thColony. We have gone on many adventures together in which we created content (she’s a super talented photographer and videographer) through styled videos or shoots in places from Joshua Tree to Sunken City in San Pedro. She has really opened up many doors for me with new jobs and exciting endeavors and continues to be a supportive and inspiring figure in my life.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Food & Fashion Photos: Shawn Henrie of Bleudog Fotography, Birdseye view of Subscription Box Photo: Feast.Fashion.Faves

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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