“When you spend two years in a refugee camp, hours-old coffee doesn’t seem that bad.”
Well, when you put it that way, yes, a freshly brewed pot sounds like an unneeded luxury. And to Noelle Nguyen, it is.
While you probably haven’t heard of Noelle Nguyen, her latest project is quickly gaining steam, because it combines her powerful personal testimony with an e-commerce concept to boost American manufacturing at a time when local businesses are struggling to stay afloat amidst global competition.
“It pains me to see the numbers of people who do not realize the opportunity that they have in this country,” she told HUMAN EVENTS. “I’ve developed an unwavering appreciation for America and an allegiance to the country I’ve called home for more than two decades.”
You see, as a child, Noelle and her family fled Saigon after the Viet Cong overran the city. To make matters worse, the boat that served as their escape vessel was raided by pirates. Noelle’s mother had swallowed her wedding ring to ensure that the jewelry wasn’t confiscated, and good thing she did – mom was forced to barter the ring in a Thailand refugee camp to
keep the family fed.
Now you can see why Noelle told this writer that she didn’t consider three-hour-old coffee undrinkable.
The Nguyen family eventually settled in California, and Noelle entered into the fashion industry, launching successful denim labels that have been sold in nearly every major department store.
Yet Noelle felt that she could do more for the country that blessed her with the opportunity to pursue her passion and secure her liberty.
And that was the inspiration for American Love Affair, an e-commerce destination that offers buyers quality-made products with the “Made in the USA” tag.
“I wanted to create a website that only sells American-made apparel and accessories because, at the end of the day, it’s my tribute to the country that has given me life, liberty, and opportunity,” she told HUMAN EVENTS. “The greatest compliment I could be paid is to be called a patriot.”
The way American Love Affair works is the 36-year-old entrepreneur and her team scour the apparel market to find well-priced products for men, women, and young adults that are not made overseas. The items are aggregated and can be purchased through the American Love Affair website.
The clothes are stylish and chic; but even beyond the design and fit, the vision of the company is to encourage consumers to “fall in love again with all things that are uniquely American, be it country, community, or perhaps, fashion.”
“When you got nothing and have lived in slums, you have a whole new appreciation for what America has to offer. I want to support local vendors.”
And she does. Not only does Noelle bring American-made products to one destination, she also features a “vendor spotlight” to showcase the manufacturers even further. Ultimately, American Love Affair seeks contribute to American productivity by being the online destination for all
things American-made. As Noelle says, think of American Love Affair as the Amazon for real U.S.A. products.
“Our brands must pass the litmus test of providing a true economic value in comparison to peer brands in their respective categories,” she notes. To her, American Love Affair is moving “beyond the rhetoric” of both liberals and conservative politicians who claim that they want to help out the flagging manufacturing sector here in America, but do absolutely nothing to help encourage local development.
That’s why this immigrant from Vietnam, who came to America with nothing, has taken it upon herself to help revive local brands in the country that she loves with all her heart.
“The greatest fortune is to be an American. It saddens me to watch people squander their opportunity.”