Today I met with Gia, another small business owner, and two UEF students, who served as translators for Gia and me. After meeting up, we decided to walk to a coffee shop nearby to talk. Gia has a cool story of how he not only took over his parents clothing business but how he modified it when he took it over in order to make more reliable, consistent profits that benefit a more local customer base.
His parents started their own clothing company that produced and sold products for men. They primarily sold their products to foreign countries, and as successful as they were, when Gia took over the company, he thought the company was, to an extent, financially unstable. This is because of the nature of the company’s relationships with its customers in the foreign countries. Apparently, one foreign country in particular was supposed to pay for the products they ordered and received three times a year, but instead the country was only paying the family once a year for the products. This limited cash flow caused a strain on the company, and Gia decided he wanted to modify the business structure in order to create a better, more reliable cash flow to make the company more financial stable. He did so by changing the products from men’s clothing to kids’ clothing, focusing on a more local customer base within Vietnam, and ceasing its relationships with the foreign countries. Since 2015 when he took over and changed the business, the company has become more financially stable and developed a great reputation for high quality products. Despite facing challenges with raising capital for the business, the company has been quite successful and has even peaked the interest of American and European companies who want to strike up a partnership with Gia and his company DP Kids Fashion. Gia loves his company and it is impressive to see how he took the initiative to change the business because he knew it could be more successful and how he has been able to grow the company. He has three clothing lines and fifty employees in his factory, and he plans to expand to produce another clothing line and potentially sell his products internationally.
Gia and his company DP Kids Fashion is another prime example of how common start-up culture and the entrepreneurial drive are in Ho Chi Minh City. The culture is different than that in the US as I discussed with Sue’s aunt’s story, but nevertheless, entrepreneurship is ever present in Vietnam. Even more so, many of the entrepreneurial ventures are on a global scale no matter how small the business may be. Both of the two family-owned businesses I have been able to learn about thus far have at least one global component to their overall supply chain, whether that is resources and supplies or customers.