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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

Bio

December 16, 2013 - 11:20 am
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As we’re getting ready for the holidays and buying presents for our loved ones, it’s worth stopping and thinking: What if I made the decision to buy American-made products? Would that help our ailing economy?

It would, and one immigrant from Vietnam has made it her career and life’s work to make buying American easier.

Her name is Noelle Nguyen. Her American love affair begins in one or our nation’s darkest hours, the military defeat in Vietnam and the fall of Saigon.

“Oftentimes I just don’t like talking about” my back story, she tells me. Hers is a life of overcoming extreme danger and hardship to become an American original. Recounting the details of her early life doesn’t seem to get any easier.

“When I was a very young girl, my parents and I escaped Vietnam by boat.” Her father, a high-ranking officer in the South Vietnamese army, had been captured and imprisoned by the communists. He attempted to escape 10 times before succeeding, and the family fled Saigon. They spent seven harrowing days at sea in rickety boat escaping Vietnam. Pirates accosted their boat during the journey, and her mother swallowed her wedding ring rather than lose it to the brigands. That decision would prove to be wise, as that ring would later pay for the family’s provisions. Noelle’s mother negotiated the family’s release from the pirates, and the family ended up in a Thai refugee camp. Her first contact with Americans was a soldier who helped her by picking her up out of a ditch. The American Red Cross would introduce her to American generosity. Her family spent a total of three years in refugee camps, two years in Thailand and another year in the Philippines. The Nguyens eventually made their way to Baltimore, where churches helped them survive and, eventually, thrive.

Fast forward and Noelle Nguyen establishes herself as a successful fashion designer whose clothes have sold in most major department stores. But with success, she felt the call to give back.

“With all of our blemishes, we’re the most amazing country on earth,” she says of the nation that took her family in.

“If I am going to create a new business venture, how am I going to use my skills and education in the best way possible?” the thankful Pepperdine business grad asked herself.

She found a way. Today Noelle Nguyen is a highly educated self-starting dynamo with a dream: rebuilding the American manufacturing base so that American workers are competing for every job in the global economy. It’s an ambitious goal to be sure, but spend a few minutes talking with her and you’ll believe that it’s possible. To someone who has been through everything, nothing is out of reach.

She founded American Love Affair in 2012, which she describes as a “small-scale Amazon.com for things made only in America.”

“I want people to know where to go first to buy things only made in the USA.” While it’s mostly a portal to find American-made products, American Love Affair also manufactures its own products. Specifically, fashion items and now jewelry.

“There are so many reasons” to buy American, Nguyen says. “We have to compete for every job. You see what’s happened to manufacturing” over the past few decades, she says. “Economists are saying that it’s a very global economy, but we have to recognize that the developing world is now able to compete with us because they have the technology and the human capital.” Fighting only for high-tech jobs is “fatalistic,” and we should fight for every manufacturing job to come back to the United States.

“What most Americans don’t realize right now is that our American-made products are so popular overseas,” she says, noting that American-made products are popular in China, Thailand, Europe and even her native Vietnam.

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Top Rated Comments   
Lots of folks like to buy American. They're free to do so, and I'm free to write a story about one way to do it. There's no call for any government mandate here. You're free to find all of this confusing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (24)
All Comments   (24)
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my best friend's step-mother makes $65/hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for 8 months but last month her income was $16520 just working on the computer for a few hours. Get More Info,,,,,,,,,

http://www.tec30.com
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another idea to make American retail manufacturers more competitive globally is to have all the incarcerated people in American jails contribute manpower. If other countries can compete with low cost workers, we can easily use our 2 million incarcerated Americans to help our economy and effectively rehabilitate them...with proper incentives!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We've tried that. In fact, I think it may still be going on here and there.

The problem is with those "proper incentives" you mentioned. That structure provides a strong incentive for the system to put people in prison, and keep them there.

Cheap labor is an intoxicant. Free labor is a narcotic.


Bad idea.


But then, prisons are a bad idea, anyway.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ms. Nguyen is right on point, we can't just focus on high tech markets...there is still a vacuum for manufacturing jobs here in the U.S. and hopefully companies like American Love Affair can help streamline virtual markets for American manufacturing jobs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr.Preston
(( the military defeat in Vietnam and the fall of Saigon. ))

Sir may I remind you that It was a Political Defeat and not a Military Defeat in Vietnam. The American Politican and the American Public didn't have the Gut's to Finish the Job and we were winning sir. I do Prase this young Lady for her stance and love of this country,Thats something that Native born Americans no longer have or care about.
Delta
Sgt. U.S. Army Vietnam Vet. 67-68,69-70

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thanks for that very important correction, Sarge.

And thank you for your service.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Your comment guidelines are the most ignorant and abusive I have ever seen. I was critical of Amazon and China, using no foul or off color language- I guess the fix is in.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
For one since we were told by Bill Clinton That America has changed from a Manufacturing/Agra based economy to a Service based economy we have been declining, at the same time China got temporary Favored Nation status and our manufacturing sector went down. In order to compete everybody had to go to China. What intellectuals of either stripe know about manufacturing could almost fill a thimble, if any know what that is. Most think of factory floor workers such as during WWII. Automation has replaced much of that work but there is still the tooling industry as well as jig and fixture makers. These are highly skilled positions that made a good blue-collar income as well are crucial to this Countries sovereignty. How? If you can not produce the means to defend yourself and feed yourself you will not be independent long. Tooling, Molds and Dies are the first thing you need if you are making a product. WE ARE LOSING THESE SKILLS, current apprenticeship programs are not producing well rounded Journeymen. The plants that utilize the Toolmakers has many other secondary household income jobs yet we wave them good by to Mexico and China. I've watched my customer base flee the Country since 97. I ask this "How's this going to be the greatest consumer market in the world if nobody has a decent job. Wal-Mart parking lots aren't just filled with clunker's there are Cadillacs and Mercedes there too. We could use a Government that is on our side too. Of course this is all good for the Investor Class but with manufacturing gone there is nothing to trickle down to.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let's keep prompting American mediocrity; that'll restore the American "delusion" the USA has been living the past 100 and some years.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Go figure; A foreigner praising and advocating on America's behalf.

What a great effing country - if you can keep it that way.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wow, what an inspiring story. Every now and then you come across a story like this and it reminds you that we are a nation built on hard-working immigrants. These are the immigrants we need to keep here on our shores. I like that she doesn't seem to take anything for granted. Moreover, she's a beautiful woman who doesn't really seem to put herself at the center of attention. Way to go, Noelle!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've shopped on this website before and it's nice to see them thriving. To be honest, my initial motivation for trying American Love Affair was a coupon I received. After seeing first-hand the high quality and nice design of the products they sell, I've made a couple of additional purchases (mostly from Second Sunday, one of the brands they have) as well as gotten their gift cards as birthday presents for a couple of friends. And now they get bonus points for the owner's humbling background story :) Warmly recommend
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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