Now that he is in his second year of business, Nguyen is hoping to expand Nam Coffee into more retailers. Nam Coffee is currently in about 15 retail accounts, primarily small mom-and-pop shops, but Nguyen is actively seeking out larger retail locations. This process comes with a learning curve for Nguyen, and he has relied on fellow founders and CPG groups who have helped him learn the ropes.
Talking to buyers can be “very challenging,” Nguyen says, especially for someone for whom English is not their first language. “When you have a chance to meet a buyer, they often don't have time for you. You only have around 30 seconds to one minute to pitch your product to them. In one of my founder groups, we say, ‘They are the ocean and we are the fish.’ There are so many fish out there, so you have to give them the right points and have something that stands out.” Ngyuen, however, feels confident that Nam Coffee’s “storytelling, branding, and my emotional connection as someone who grew up in the central highlands of Vietnam,” will allow the brand to break through to buyers.
Nguyen is also hoping to learn more about fundraising in the year to come as external capital will allow him to hire sales and production teams to take Nam Coffee to the next level. “I believe Nam Coffee will be very successful if I can grow my team and get into more retailers, and from that build more product lines, or even open a brick-and-mortar location.”
“I want to be a Vietnamese culture ambassador. I love my culture, and I want to promote my culture with food and drinks. So my hope and dream is to do more products to promote Vietnamese culture, and I have a lot of ideas, but I need my time and money to make everything happen.”