We had the good fortune of connecting with Thanou Thammavongsa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Thanou, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I had a very different upbringing, I was born in Paris, France, my parents brought me to the States at the age of 11. From there, I grew up in North Minneapolis without them. I learned how to survive living with different families including an African American family in the inner city for 3 years to a vegan family in the suburbs, to a my history teacher who took me in as a senior in High School. It’s been a long road. As a senior in High School, I realized I was “out of status” with immigration, so I voluntarily went back to Europe and decided to go to college in England where I met my wife in my 4th year doing my Post Grad degree. She was from Phoenix and the rest was history, I returned to where I thought I claimed as “home”. From the age of 11 growing up without my parents and throughout college, I worked hard my whole life to stay safe, educated, innovative and scrappy. I was always lucky in a sense, but I learned how to appreciate the little things and work for the best things. I’ve been back in the states for almost 15 years now and I had the honor of becoming a naturalized citizen just 7 years ago. Every day when I wake up II have a gratitude for our beautiful country, and I am thankful for doing work I love to do. I tend to have a coach’s bend when it comes to serving clients, I draw out their passion and appreciation for their craft and have them use it as crucial fuel for their own success. I like to push them to their limit and get them to accomplish things they never thought they could.
What should our readers know about your business?
In Phoenix, on a daily basis we work with small business owners, dental offices, charter schools, non-profit organizations, have a disadvantage in the marketplace. We see a discrepancy in how they are being served and where they are finding their resources. Most don’t know where to start to get what they need in order to market, brand and even acquire every day things like print materials without getting taken advantage of. They don’t have an in-house designer most of the time, and may not have a large budget to hire an agency to take on their work. What I’ve created at Bun & Beanster is a bit of a different approach in order to meet that need. Business owners all have very different and specific needs, but they require the same thing: attention. Too many are sold things they don’t need in the moment and from many different companies. We listen to what they need first, help them forecast on what should come first. For example, if a business with a standing brand need visibility, they may need to refresh their website and simply devise a smart plan to be seen through free avenues such as social media, YouTube etc. But they’re not in need of a “re-brand” quite yet, and don’t need to plan on thousands of dollars of ad-spend… So we advise them based on what’s best for them, what’s within their budget and what would be most impactful in the short run within a bigger picture scenario. We walk them through a plan they can picture, comprehend and plan around. I’ve had our challenges working with vendors experiencing it first hand as a customer when I worked for significant companies in the valley. I’ve been curating only the best the valley has to offer as well as national vendors. I’ve gathered some of the best in the last 10 years. I try to stay within Arizona first, then regional, I hardly off-shore anything.These relationships have been nurtured and carefully curated by me in order to serve my clients with the very best. So when we say we’re out to help small business owners we really mean that we could help them with everything they need, with the best, but most importantly with a plan that’ll help them become/stay fruitful and good stewards of their business. We love to see them grow their business and of course their profits, their success is ours, and we truly cheer them with every project we have the honor to do alongside them.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Well, being an avid foodie with all my years of travel and experiencing some of the best, I would literally take them to a highlight of my very best restaurants in the valley and some of the unique foodie places worth visiting. I’d take them to the ones with the history, the amazing ownership. I would share with them the most amazing hikes around the valley. We would stay at a few resorts central to where we’d want to be. I’ve actually done that before having friends who love food and drink, we try to hit all the items on the list, and save the ones we didn’t get to for next time.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have many of people to thank when it comes to the help I’ve received from people in my youth, and the people I turn to for wisdom today. I dedicate this shout out to all the father and mother figures in my life who stepped in at one point or another to help shape who I am today.
Bun & Beanster
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