We had the good fortune of connecting with Nancy Nu Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nancy Nu, what role has risk played in your life or career?
As a kid, I was the chicken aka scaredy cat upon 4 siblings. I remembered, my mom took all of us to the park and all my siblings climbed to the top of the tall, 10ft slide with excitement. They were fearless and laughing as the sled down repeatedly from the giant slide. . All it took for me was to look at it, and I burst into tears and thought “what if I fall and die?”. So, I waited and waited. Until, my 3 year old sister did it and make it out alive than I would. Than, when it was my turn, a sense of relive and joy came upon me coming down the slide. All the tears, and sweats was for nothing. I let fear take over and all it did was scare the heck out of me. Taking a risk gives me a crazy, nervous feeling because in my mind, I always feared of failure. But I have learned, the true failure is not taking the risk. Taking a risks will only lead you to endless possibilities and growth. Eight years ago, when I decided to leave my family business to open my first beauty studio to do cosmetic tattooing was the biggest risk I ever took by myself. My husband and family members told me to wait, wait for the right time. I stayed up night thinking? Is there a such thing as the right time? Sometime opportunities don’t just happen. I have to create them for myself. So, I did the opposite of what everyone told me. I looked at the 600 square foot studio and meeting the sweetest landlord, I signed a 1 year lease. Something inside me was like “Just do it!”. It is hard to explain, my intuition told me, it’s meant to be. So, I did it! I think I nearly cried every day for the first few months, worried and thought to myself, “Did I make the right decision, what if I failed? Will I make enough to pay rent or supplies?”. There were endless doubts. Than, I look back now, and think it was worth the jump. It took tears, hard work, determination but here I am today. I expanded to a larger location, teach my technique and looking into expand in the next few months.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There is a saying that I have on my wall at my Studio, “Art is when LOVE meets work.” I absolutely love what I do. I am so glad what I do for a living is a form of Art and Beauty. Cosmetic Tattooing is a way that I can express my creativity on someone face (my canvas), and making them feel prettier by enhancing what they have. This makes my job worth wild. My first Permanent Cosmetic training was in California, at the time I didn’t know anything about Permanent makeup. But looking back now, it was poor training. No Support after training and barely hands on. The class have over a dozen students with only one instructor. It was hard, I didn’t understand color theory, shaping, skin , etc. The products were cheap. It was just a mess, I was so disappointed and felt a sense of failure. I ended up going back to my old job and threw away all my supplies. I couldn’t put cheap products on any human skin and didn’t even like it myself. It was hard, but my intuition always told me, I needed to give it another shot, and do better research. One day, I mention my story to my client, she referred to her sister, Mary. She was in the PMU business and is an instructor. I literally felt, this was meant to be. Mary had over 20 years of experience in Softap, a manual technique producing soft effect in skin. She offer me one on one hands on training for 30 hours. It was very intense, I was sweating every minute. It was very expensive but worth every penny. She mentored me for 2 years. My sisters and friends were my first models. I still cant believe they trusted me back then. I over came my fears and challenges by practicing more. I worked in a salon environment, where there were plenty of women, I offered brow treatment for $75. I got to practice on different skin type and learn quickly how to make the brows better each time. As, I go better, I took more trainings, seminars and conferences to learn different techniques. But it doesn’t mater how much trainings I went to, the best way to learn and be better is to do it. Experience on real skin. After, many different trainings, I begin understood the basic knowledge of Cosmetic Tattooing. I realized, I completely learn differently than others. I am a visual and hands on learner. As I booked more advance trainings and conferences with world wide famous PMU Artist. It blew my mind away, how many things can be done so differently. It was amazing to learn new skills, techniques, trying new products. Now, I’m proud to say. I offer small group trainings, this way student understand and get more time hands on practice. My workshops is development from my years of experience. I share all my knowledge, tips, and secrets in my trainings. To build a successful business, you must learn how to navigate an keep up with the industry. My advice is don’t be lazy, don’t doubt what you know and let fear get in the way. But you must put your time to work on different skin type, machine, pigments, needles, products and etc. Than, understand what it takes to run a business. From leasing a spot, marketing, finance, clientele and etc. It is okay not to know everything, we learn more on the way. I learned that no matter how confident we can get, there’s always learn something new to learn. In every beginning there will be challenges, it is hard but understand nothing worth wild comes easy. I trusted myself, listen to my intuition and work with integrity. If you love what you do, your work will show for itself. Here’s something that stuck to me. I live by this quote, “the only person you are competing with, is yourself. ”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely take them to down town Gilbert. The little city is fill with great food, small businesses and down to earth people. I love the outdoor area, Saturdays they have the outdoor markets pace where local ventures with fresh veggies, fruits, hand made candles, etc. There’s amazing food trucks with delicious food. Another Spot is Sedona, where you can see all the beautiful red rocks. There all so many gorgeous hiking trails.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shout out to my Mentors, they have inspire me in everyway, as a true Artist and a kind, heartful human being. Each and everyone of my mentor has really taught me so much. I can’t thank them even. Mary Macintosh, Softap Instructor. Anita Jones, Nouveau Contour Instructor. Nhung Phan, International Trainer. Chinh Nguyen, Owner InkfamousTx, Master Tattooist, Instructor. Onika Elena, International Trainer I also would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me when I doubted myself. And of course, my Husband, Minh Le for making my ideas come to life. And last but not least, my biggest fans. My kids, Siena and Gavin Le. They have always been my #1 cheer leaders.
IMAGES from Anna Nguyen,
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