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Meet Shi Jun Ng of The Assembly in West Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shi Jun Ng.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Shi Jun. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I had spent six years in advertising but wanted a more purpose-driven, fulfilled life. Early childhood memories at my grandfather’s coffee shop helped shape my course and the vision for The Assembly: an inviting community space — inspired by art and design — for people to come gather and engage in meaningful exchange and conversation.

I would say I part stumbled into it; I had known for the longest time that I wanted something of my own, but it didn’t fully take shape for at least a few years.

Now that The Assembly has been up and running for the last five years, I’ve since returned to a freelance design career — rare, but I’d say I get to enjoy the best of both worlds!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, not entirely! It’s definitely been bittersweet, to say the least. I’ve certainly experienced my fair share of obstacles from delays in the initial construction of the space to having another specialty coffee shop backed by a multi-million dollar restaurant group open around the corner from us right after we did.

When The Assembly opened, the struggle to find our unique place and gain foothold within our community took longer than I had anticipated. Even so, once it feels like you’ve established your brand/business, you still have to continually take stock and evolve to better serve and align with your community.

That means learning to let go (not easy since I’m a perfectionist!) and to keep your wits about you— because change is inevitable yet also necessary for positive growth. Finding a great team wasn’t the easiest either, it’s so rare when you find the right people who believe in and champion your values because they’re the first touchpoints our customers have with the brand and business.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Assembly – what should we know?
The Assembly is an independent, LGBTQ and woman-owned specialty coffee shop in the heart of the West Hollywood Design District on the iconic Robertson Blvd.

At The Assembly, we seek to create an inviting space for the community, where coffee serves as the invitation for people to come gather and engage in meaningful exchange and conversation. In addition to coffee we retail crafts/goods from local artisans and other small business owners (i.e., Poketo for our retail offerings). We also open our space to local artists and feature their work through our monthly artist-in-residence program.

We consider the social, environmental and economic impact our decisions have on our local and global community. That’s why we focus on sustainable and ethical sourcing by selecting our partners carefully.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I credit my inner circle — my partner and close friends who always stop to provide advice when I ask or cheer me on when I need, and who also (without fail) always provide their comfy shoulders to cry on in times of difficulty.

And my team, because we can’t be open and serving our community if they weren’t as dedicated as they are. I’m so grateful and appreciative of their commitment, for showing up every day on the job, especially given the current “new normal” we’re operating in due to the pandemic.

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