Beautiful-Inside-Out, the Journal

I Vow to Do Everything in My Power to Save This Village, and the Time is NOW

I Vow to Do Everything in My Power to Save This Village, and the Time is NOW

If you have been following YEM's journey, you must be familiar with our pitch black Midnight Silk's inspiring story. It was the only traditional craft I found throughout my year of traveling around Vietnam, my home country, that not only met my extremely high standards for quality and sustainability but exceeded them. The only problem is, it is disappearing if we don't do something to save it. 

When I decided to work with Midnight Silk, I knew it was a dying craft. What I didn't know was how fast it was dying. 

Four Hardest Things I Learned as a New Purpose-Driven Entrepreneur

Four Hardest Things I Learned as a New Purpose-Driven Entrepreneur

I had no idea that quitting my job and starting my own business would come with so much pain. But surprisingly, if I had a choice to go back in time, I wouldn't change a thing. I have learned that the pain and other unexpected challenges are part of the process, and to avoid dealing with them head-on will only lead to more troubles and failures. To summarize Viktor Frankl said in his powerful book Man's Search for Meaninglife is full of struggles and the only way to survive is to find meaning in them.

Why #TotalTransparency is Now My Motto - Part 2: Hitting the Wall

Why #TotalTransparency is Now My Motto - Part 2: Hitting the Wall

I don't know if it was the sunshine, the free spirit in the air, the creative vibes or my age (32-33 at the time) but in California, my alter-ego really came out. Out of nowhere, I had the courage to quit my job, launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new business (not Yem) and traveled home to Vietnam to promote the new venture. My boyfriend and the dog came with. 

Why #TotalTransparency is Now My Motto - Part 1: Journey before California

Why #TotalTransparency is Now My Motto - Part 1: Journey before California

...because after years of soul-searching, which started as the quest for my true passion in business, I came to the conclusion that my personal mission is to "do the right thing while inspiring others to do the same." I now believe that the only way to inspire others is to be 100% transparent about who I am, what I do and how I do it. I have to take control of the fear of being judged by others for being my true self and for the mistakes I have made to get here.

Starting Yem, I Was Forced to Learn to Love Myself

Starting Yem, I Was Forced to Learn to Love Myself

A girlfriend said to me the other day as we were peacefully walking on the beach near my home: "You have it all figured out, I sometimes envy you." She had no idea. So I told her about the unwanted journey I had to take to get to where I am today: simply alive and slowly improving.

I don't have it all figured out, especially a year ago when Yem was just an idea and I was jobless.

The Truth about Traditional Craft Villages

The Truth about Traditional Craft Villages

f you search for Tan Chau silk village on the web and find articles saying it is thriving or reviving, don't be quick to believe. I learned it the hard way. 

In December 2016, I left Los Angeles and went back to Vietnam full of excitement. I was thrilled about going to the craft villages to find the best artisans to make eco-friendly handmade products using my contemporary designs. For almost a year, I was led to so many announced "thriving craft villages" ( làng nghề in Vietnamese) only to find either no-one left doing the craft or families including children hand-making products using non-traditional chemicals and toxins.

Why The Name "Yem"?

Why The Name "Yem"?

Many have asked me why the name Yem (pronounced ee-yam). The answer is simple. It was inspired by the traditional undergarment Vietnamese women wore centuries ago. Throughout the years, because of its simple style and practicality, it has managed to stay popular in Vietnamese ladies' style repertoire. Today, it is a staple in my closet, not as an undergarment but as a piece I am proud to wear everywhere (paired with a shawl in certain conservative functions).

Fashion is the New Food

Fashion is the New Food

Food has always been a big part of me and my adult identity. I love shopping for food, cooking food, eating food, sharing food with others and talking about food. However, recently as I have been spending the majority of my time with Yem and cutting back on time getting creative in the kitchen, somehow fashion has won over my heart again. 

I find fashion sexy the same way I find food sexy. It's best when it's pure, simple, classic, created with care and integrity, and beautiful looking.

My Personal Road to Yem

My Personal Road to Yem

was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, in the early 80's. My first memory of fashion was a tiny jacket my mother sewed together from plaid fabric taken from used adult clothing. My mother, already a popular Vietnamese actress at the time, was my fashion icon despite the fact that Vietnam was still recovering from the war and fashion was more of a fantasy. As early as I can remember we always had style, even though the majority of our clothes were picked from second-hand bins. Although fashion designer wasn't a common profession in Vietnam at the time, I secretly dreamt that one day I would become one.