Vietnamese business stories often start here and stay here. But in the case of Betty Tran, her rise as a Vietnamese fashion entrepreneur started in Vietnam and eventually took her back to her adopted country of Australia. In Perth and Sydney, she would see her fashion brand launch to the global stage. Betty grew up in the industry along her mother, a seamstress working in Vietnam during the 1990s. She recalls sewing machines in the background. Manual press with paddles with noise in the background and tons of fabric around her.
After moving to Australia in her teens, Betty’s family had to start from scratch, despite decades of experience in seamstressing, What started as a small manufacturing setup in the family backyard, with one machine, their family business grew from knocking on doors to get orders to becoming a well-known local favorite. After their first venture struggled to take off, Betty moved back to Vietnam to take a break and find her new inspiration. Even with her debt and family pressure, Betty undertook the challenge of creating a new collection in Vietnam.
“I remember buying a bunch of silk to put together my initial designs. This was in 2012. This is how it all started. I want to create pieces that take women from day to night effortlessly. Appreciate the Vietnamese-ness, but is not entirely Asian. East meets West. Looks European, but the designer is Vietnamese.”
What sort of woman do you design for? What is the best way to describe your designs?
I promote diversity in my collection. The inspiration starts with “who’s the Betty Tran woman” rather than where they come from. In my line of work as a designer, I want to encourage a generation of new-found self-belief, where women can embrace their spirit, soul, and mind. I love taking traditional Vietnamese techniques and making it modern to a wide range of people.
Colors that are soft and vibrant. Like pastel pink, ivory, white, light coral. Happy, soft, and romantic to celebrate a beautiful life. Anyone can wear it and it adds a realness. The designs blur a line between fantasy, illusion, emotion. It helps bring people closer.
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Where are Betty Tran fashions seen today?
We’re Aussie-based, but global. We have accounts in the Middle East with distribution lines in Europe. And we’re coming to America soon. We have names like the Williams sisters and Miss Universe trying our styles. Female empowerment is also important to me. We want the everyday woman to be the role model, not just celebrities.
Who should we speak with next?
Dai Lee. She’s a Vietnamese-Australian politician in parliament. She’s a champion for promoting diversity. Karen, Australia’s consul-general to Vietnam. She’s action oriented and is using her influence to help better the world. A true visionary for Vietnam and Australian relations.