While others in her seventh-grade class were thinking about friends, dating and fashion, May Vuong began to flex her entrepreneurial spirit. Vuong noticed a trend was flourishing for colored contact lenses, but they required a prescription for corrective lenses where she lived in Vietnam. To take advantage of growing demand, she began purchasing large quantities of colored contact lenses from a manufacturer in Korea to import to Vietnam.
Vuong’s parents were both entrepreneurs. During Vuong’s childhood her father started a business working as an alcohol distributor and taught her how to talk to people, start a business and learn from mistakes.
When she came to America five years ago, her experience with her father had prepared her for a humble start in the restaurant industry as a waitress while working on her nursing degree at Everett Community College. Opening a restaurant was nowhere in her plans.
“If five or six months ago you would have told that that I would have restaurants, I’d be like ‘ha, yeah right I’m in school’...it just happened,” said Vuong.
When Vuong first moved to Everett, she met John He, her business partner, who became the chef of Botan Ramen n’ Bar.
Vuong’s husband, Noel Lopez, was the visionary and with Vuong as the executor, Botan Ramen n’ Bar began to take shape; leading Vuong to become the proud owner of her own business by the time she was 21.
Botan Ramen n’ Bar represents more to Vuong then just the opportunity to bring quality, authentic ramen to Everett. The word “botan” means peony in Vietnamese, also known as “mother’s flower.” Vuong hopes to continue to develop and grow Botan Ramen n’ Bar as a tribute to her mom.
Even as a child, Vuong always believed that she would become a business owner. Now that Botan Ramen n’ Bar is up and running, she looks forward to creating other businesses within the Everett community.
For others who have an entrepreneurial dream, Vuong says: “If you work for your dream, it’s going to be worth it. It doesn’t matter how many hours you work. Just put your mind on it, and work for it, and it’s going to turn out.”
Check out Botan Ramen N’ Bar located at 2803 Colby Ave., Everett, WA 98201. You can find their menu and event information on their Facebook page: facebook.com/botanramen.