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Meet Van Nguyen of messageNOW in Century City

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

Van, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?

It started in high school; I loved throwing parties for friends and families. I found it really invigorating to brainstorm party themes, decorate, and give people a great reason to get together! During sophomore year I became the Founder of the A la Mode club, which led me to produce my first photo shoot and fashion show. With all the events leading up to this point, I feel like I was predestined to do what I’m doing today. Because there was a lot of pressure for alternatives, initially I by passed the creative route. First, I dove into the dental world, but over time creative opportunities kept presenting themselves to me. At the age of 19, I was getting scouted by modeling agencies. The experience of modeling definitely helped fill the creative void I was feeling. Before I knew it, I was on the runway alongside Janice Dickinson’s models and America’s Next Top  Model reality stars,modeling for hair ad campaigns and fashion designers like Maggie Barry, and getting my photo published in GQ Germany. It felt surreal. Around the age of 21 my photographer invited me to my very first red carpet event. I can’t tell you how exciting it was for me to be in the same room with Megan Good, the Black Eyed Peas, Tyrese, and one of the Mowry twins.

Following that, I was getting asked to help out with event management and production. It varied from store launches, charity and fundraising red carpet events to celebrity gifting suites. I never thought I would have my own company. But here I am! If it weren’t for Ethan Fialkow from L7 Business Consulting, I probably would have never gone down the entrepreneur path. I am lucky to have such amazing mentors to show me how to run a successful business. More recently, I was asked to throw a gifting suite in celebration of the MTV VMAs last year and people had such a great time they stayed up to four hours long. When have you ever heard of people staying that long after getting their swag bags? NEVER! It was so challenging. I remember many sleepless nights leading up to the event. But after it was over, I was so satisfied with the amount of press attention the sponsors and the event received. The best part was just seeing how much people enjoyed it.

Has it been a smooth road?

I wouldn’t exactly call it smooth. More like the Rocky Mountains, but that just meant each time I got past a summit it was extremely satisfying to know I conquered it. I feel like no two situations are exactly alike. So each time I was presented with a new project, there would be a different issue. Luckily, I’m a problem solver and I’m able to hyperfocus and complete things without too much anxiety, especially when I’m working under tight deadlines.  Rather that slide towards the end, I like to put even more pressure to ensure I deliver amazing results! When you learn to expect the unexpected, it definitely helps. Sometimes, I don’t event sleep the night before the event. There are so many things to do up until the minute the event starts. Like making sure the press wall is printed in time or the custom gift bags were picked up before the event, or finding a DJ literally two days before an event. Sometimes volunteers and staff or confirmed celebrities don’t show up or the printing company messes up the badges the night before the event. Then on the day of the event there are times I have to turn away people because they aren’t on the RSVP list, but somehow they managed to sneak in past the check-in table and two bodyguards. Should I go on? One time I had to kick out an annoying drunk that looked like he was about to start a fight with me and refused to follow the rules and I was forced to be the bad guy or in my case girl and had security throw him out.

It’s not easy being a woman and running your own business. I have to say that has been challenging. It’s hard for people to take you seriously when you are looked at as a model and talk somewhat like a valley girl. The biggest challenge for me is giving up being a perfectionist. They say in business, if you wait till everything is perfect, nothing will get done. I’m my worst critic.

We’d love to hear more about your business.

messageNOW was launched to help brands reach their full potential by creating clear and effective messages and helping them get their message out. My company crafts brand stories to help reach and build a positive emotional connection with the target audience to help maximize their success. There are so many components to building a brand. My company services includes: event planning, production, management, and PR, product launches, grand openings, red carpets, gifting suites, fundraising events, open houses, creative services and direction, press placement, attraction marketing, branding, digital and traditional marketing, social media setup and management, image consulting, directory listing, media training, media research, planning, and buying, media list development, consulting, employee training, crisis management, influencer engagement and campaigns, strategic partnerships, content strategy and procurement, blogs, press releases.

I have a strong background in healthcare, dentistry, psychology, science, entertainment and fashion industries, but that doesn’t mean I can’t tackle things I haven’t done before. I have the versatility to handle diverse projects and if I don’t have the answer, I’ll find it.  I’m known for having a discerning eye, being highly empathic, well organized, stylish, hard-driving, and committed to excellence.

As a company, I’m most proud of the fact that every client we’ve had has been beyond satisfied with the results. After a two-month campaign for an extremely controversial film produced by Stellar Motion Pictures, the Producer said we did such a phenomenal job, they wanted to do a shout out on social media to let their network know how great we are! This was actually my company’s first client. To my surprise, they said PR was the biggest waste of money and the last PR firm they hired was a much bigger firm and they got them zero press placements because of how controversial the documentary is.

The way my company operates is quite different from our competition. When I launched my firm, I wanted to create a mindful business and change the way the industry works. messageNOW works with clients who want to create brands, not commodities and we have a limit to how many clients we take on each quarter so we can give our clients the time and attention they deserve. Every strategy, event and execution is performed with a focus on quality to ensure people and businesses reach their full potential. With that being said, before a strategy is even laid out, there is a research phase first with each and every one of our clients, after that, a custom tailored tactical strategy is laid out, and then executed to ensure success. I also oversee the design work and work closely with the designers to make sure the branding is on point.

The other thing that makes us stand out are our unique strategic partnerships offering the following services: business strategy, think tank & idea development, content strategy, research & due diligence, competitive & SWOT analysis, opportunity identification, user experience, on-going strategy, process and flow optimization, agile, buying/selling a business, starting a new business, identity/logo, user interfaces, websites, mobile app, print, responsive websites, frontend & backend, commerce, prototypes, and hosting.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?

I definitely feel like Los Angeles is a good place for businesses. There are so many individuals and businesses that need the services we provide. Especially with the population of over 4 million, it’s one of the best places to be, especially with LA being the international media and entertainment hub and all the wonderful event spaces and not to mention the kind of talent we have here. Everything is accessible, there are plenty of places to rent equipment for events, amazing catering companies, and chefs. And how can we forget Hollywood where all the celebrities congregate and not to mention where a lot of the films are made.  Then there are top hotels like the Four Seasons and the Beverly Hills hotel, headquarters to successful businesses, some of the best florists, it’s got high tourist attraction, amazing GLAM teams to the stars, great stylists, it’s also known for being one of the hot cities for fashion, the options are practically limitless.

I definitely recommend someone who is just starting out to start here in LA. If you are new it’s much easier to network here and meet the right people than you would anywhere else. Plus it’s a lot easier to get around than NYC. I can’t emphasize that enough. Some of the biggest events each year are held in Los Angeles, you can attend, watch, and learn. Not to mention there’s enough room on the road to drive your car wherever you need to go. Just makes it much easier when you have to run around town getting different things.

Contact Info:

2015-06-05_08-44-24 2015-08-28_16-15-59 2015-08-29_14-29-52 60819_431766106686_6763419_n 11235351_1298194336873540_6410900718829245080_o 11958212_10204579458273089_279275979138340816_o maria_menounos_on_sna_red_carpet unnamed-14

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