GIRLBOSS: Phuong of Mibellarosa

March 29, 2016

Girlboss_Phuong_MibellarosaI think it would be impossible for me to envy Phuong Nguyen’s talents more than I already do. This post took me ages and ages to write, because every reference link she sent me, I gazed longingly at every detail of the photos. Phuong is the owner of Mibellarosa Designs, a design studio based in Houston, specializing in (exceptional beautiful!) event planning and floral designs. I first worked with Phuong on a Valentine’s shoot I did with Destiny, and the florals she created were unbelievable.  

Shortly after that, I ordered an Omakase vase (translation: “I’ll leave it up to you” – Phuong’s selection!) for Caroline Knapp on her birthday (on her Instagram here), and I felt it was the perfect way to give someone (who has lots of gorgeous things already!) a thoughtful gift. I will definitely be ordering more for other friends’ birthdays. I can’t wait to work with Phuong again – hopefully soon! 

You’ll quickly scroll through this post (before reading it in great detail, of course) and go googly-eyed over the florals she has created and her incredible styling She has the best taste (true story, I’ve had Police’s ‘Every Little Thing She Does is Magic’ stuck in my head the entire time I’ve worked on this post – not a coincidence!). So without further ado…

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WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and moved to Houston, Texas when I was three.

WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS?
Mibellarosa Designs

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND. HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN YOUR CRAFT, AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO LAUNCH YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
As a 1.5 generation immigrant, I was able to witness my parents and family’s struggles and sacrifices from a very young age, and I think the expectation to keep working hard no matter the excuse was instilled in me since then. I started working at 14 to earn spending money in order to not have to ask for any, worked my way through college to pay for my education, and I was pretty set on pursuing law so that I would have a “real” career my parents that would be proud of – something that would have possibly justified the sacrifices they’d made. I quickly learned it wasn’t my cup of tea but I didn’t want give up so easily. As I was working unhappily during the day, I moonlighted as an event planner (something I fell in love with while in college) at night and on weekends.

After one of my brides asked me to help her with her flowers, my heart grew wider to fit in this passion for floral design, so I started working part-time at retail flower shops to gain more experience. Eventually, I allowed myself to quit my job at the firm I was working at and to start this company knowing I would never be able to fully realize this potential if I kept making excuses for why it should just be my “side job.” I’m still working hard to get to the point where my family would consider what I’m doing a career choice worthy of their sacrifices.

WHO IN YOUR INDUSTRY INSPIRES YOU THE MOST?
Amy Osaba of Amy Osaba Events. What really separated her from the long list of super talented designers to me is that she is an amazing role model, mentor, boss, friend, mother, and is the personification of “community over competition.” She’s not afraid to share her real struggles and journey with, and she genuinely encourages women and designers alike to pursue their dreams.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST PART ABOUT OWNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? THE MOST CHALLENGING?
The best would be being welcomed into people’s lives through their events and/or flowers.  I’m honored to have clients trust us with their events and I love the little stories clients tell about why they are ordering flowers for someone. Trust is the best gift someone can give you in this business.

The most challenging would be bookkeeping and anything that has to do with finances. I’m not bad at math, I just dread dealing with the finances even though it’s a crucial part of owning a business.

WHAT PIECE OF WORK ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
Creating this piece was a pivotal moment in my career. I still tear up when I think about it or see photos of it. I’m so thankful for it and for everyone involved in it.

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WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE INTERESTED IN STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Just do it. You will never know what you’re really made of until you do it. Women can handle so much – heartbreaks, PMS, pregnancies, labor pains, child-rearing, menopause… – we were built to take on anything, so we shouldn’t keep ourselves from starting something for ourselves out of fear of the unknown or fear or failing. And if you do fail, at least you had the courage to start something. You don’t have to go into it blindly or alone. If you can afford it, look into finding mentorship and/or a business coach to help you get started in the right direction. Even a one-hour session is helpful. I really wish I had coaching when I started five years ago. It would have saved me a ton of time and money.

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PHUONG’S FAVORITES

BOOK? Anne of Green Gables taught me as a young girl that it’s okay to have a colorful imagination and a healthy amount of sass, so it will always be dear to my heart.

RESTAURANT? Sushi Yasuda. I love omakase-style dining and concept so much I named our daily florals after it and practice the same concept of preparing what I feel is best that day.

CUPCAKE FLAVOR? Lemon with almond buttercream

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CONNECT WITH PHUONG

Web // Instagram // Facebook

Please click on each photos for photographer/other collaborators’ information – they’re all amazing and deserve credit!

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