Joanna Funk

music, gardening and my dog

Oizoioi. Build a bridge, start a conversation

Fashion entrepreneurs 📷 David Fischer, Que Film

We are a third culture. Our parents were immigrants. We are seen as foreigners even though we were born here. We’re stuck between two worlds and still don’t quite know how we fit in Australia. Our fashion is a bridge. Our brand is Oizoioi – people ask us: How do you say that? What does it mean? This is conversation. We say: Loosely translated, it’s Vietnamese for ‘Oh my god.’ My accent is so Aussie, but the word Oizoioi is Vietnamese. That’s the middle ground and this is a bridge for people to get there.

Minh Nguyen
Oizoioi promotional video 🎥 David Fischer, Que Film

Start-ups and baptisms of fire go together. It’s 2020. Brothers Minh and Quang Nguyen, and nephew David Nguyen launch their new clothing line Oizoioi. They are joined by videographer David Fischer of Que Film. Photographers and models are booked. The merchandise has arrived. They are ready to do this thing, then the first Covid-19 lockdown hits Brisbane.

“It was like, we’re here in Quang’s house with boxes of merchandise, what do we do now?” Minh said. “We decided to just go to the side of the house, take photos on our phones and get them on Instagram. That was the launch. What else were we gonna do?”

The boys were swimming upstream but it resonated with the community.

Our friends wanted to support us through Covid. It was very organic. The social distancing ended up being part of the narrative. We didn’t have a website, so we literally just drove around and hand delivered the orders, making sure we complied with social distancing rules. Within a week we sold all our gear.

Quang Nguyen

They needed a website. With no IT guy in the group, it wasn’t a breeze but they got there. Quang had to knuckle down and figure it out, with some guidance from friends. 

“It’s an e-commerce site, similar to Shopify. To begin with it was all so overwhelming. But once you actually sat down and worked through it, it was intuitive and pretty user friendly. Still, you had to work out all the nuances.”

Sometimes in life, you need a dream.

I was at work one day, really late. I thought: This can’t be it. This can’t be all there is to life. So I just messaged Minh and David: Hey, Do you guys want to make shirts or something? These two straight away said Yes, and within half an hour we even came up with a name.

quang nGuyen

“We’ve learnt so much. We’re ninjas now. It’s only early days, we’ve only done a few rounds. Now we are trying to come up with designs.”

Minh Nguyen Oizoioi co-founder

David Fischer joined the team, taking care of all aspects of branding and promotion.

“David’s our photographer and video guy, he does all the product shots and product videos as well.”

The guys have an eye for fashion detail and are passionate about the design, the material and the finish of the product. “We put a lot of care into making our items, there’s a lot of attention to detail.” Minh said. “We wouldn’t sell anything we wouldn’t wear ourselves. If we weren’t confident about the product , no way would we release it to the public.”

We have decided to work like an insider’s club. It’s exclusive, because it’s a small run. Oizoioi is not fast fashion. If you buy an Oizoioi hoodie it’s going to be the last one you need to buy. It’s 350 gsm, it will keep you warm. If you want to buy another hoodie, at that point it’s a fashion choice.

Minh nguyen

“We design all the merchandise. We’ll sit down together, Quang might say: I’ve got this idea for a tee shirt. Then we will talk about the details. There are three of us, two brothers and a nephew. We are the only decision makers. so we have a way of resolving disputes. If we vote two to one, that’s one way to decide. But if someone really feels passionate about something, we can go to Time Zone in Garden City and we play arcade games to settle it! That’s the way we do dispute resolution!

The Oizoioi family

We have agreed that this is going to be fun and there is never going to be a moment where I resent this. Every time we get together I’m going to be excited. We meet; sit down, eat food, drink beer, have fun. That’s where the creativity comes from. It’s always tongue in cheek, it’s always fun.

Minh nguyen


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About Joanna

Joanna is British Australian. Her early career was in financial news in London. That ended in 2008. Joanna moved to Sabah, her parents’ birthplace, where she wrote a blog about musicians, which became a book. Joanna came to Australia in 2012 and started this blog — her second. These days, she writes mostly about music, her garden, and trips to Sabah. Oh, and Wookie the Havanese.

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