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
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.
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.”
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 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!