Interview: Cuong Nguyen of dream Bigger
Meet young, creative entrepreneur Cuong Nguyen, a local whoÂ uses his creative powers for the forces of good. Cuong designs inspirational hoodies and t-shirts andÂ donates the money from selling them to various charities. Â He is the founder of the dream Bigger movement, aimed to “motivate and support every ones right to dream their wildest dreams…”
CD: What is dream Bigger all about?
CUONG: dream Bigger to me is a movement. I mean, thatâ€™s not what it started as, but thatâ€™s what itâ€™s kind of evolved into. Dream Bigger is there to inspire, motivate and remind people to pursue their dreams, no matter how wild or crazy they are. One of the main goals of Dream Bigger is to get people to change their way of thinking.
CD: How did it start and why did you start it?
CUONG: Well, it started back when I was in uni a couple of years go. I was in a lecture and was sketching at the back of the class cause I was bored with it. And yeah it kind of just came together right there, it was a rough logo but pretty much the same one you see on our first car stickers. That day I showed a couple of my friends at Uni and they jumped on board and it just grew from there, with more people getting involved as time passed.
CD: Do you design all the hoodies and shirts?
CUONG: Yep, I usually do the initial designs and see what other guys think before going ahead with the final designs. The designs are nothing too spectacular; I just try to keep them simple and bold so the message doesnâ€™t get lost.
CD: What are some of the designs you have done?
CUONG: Weâ€™ve done car stickers, wrist bands and shirts in the past which have all featured the dB (dream Bigger) logo in some respect. If you look back at the designs, the logo has changed here and there, but the main theme of keeping it bold and clear remains. Also, you might notice the brackets â€˜[ ]â€™ around the dB, itâ€™s just kind of our way of showing that when youâ€™re pursuing your dreams, that you need to protect it and keep the negative influences from getting to you. Brackets! Haha.
CD: Where has your inspiration come from for the designs?
CUONG: People who know me know I love Hip Hop, most of the guys behind the scenes with me in dream Bigger love hip hop andmusic too, and for me, itâ€™s just the power of words that inspire me. You know when you listen to a track and the words just hit you or when you listen to one of those speeches that move you or changes the way you see the world. And even though Dream Bigger is just two words, it has meaning and purpose behind it, so we just try and push that as much as we can. So you will generally see the words or initials at the forefront of most of the designs.
CD: Explain your creative process?
CUONG: Well for us, we normally aim to create things that will spread the word and message, so that normally dictates what we do, hence the car stickers and clothing. From there itâ€™s just a matter of working through what looks good, or at least what we think looks good and will do the job of getting dream Bigger out there.
CD: Do you have a background in design?
CUONG: Yeah, I completed an Industrial Design course at QUT a couple of years ago. It helped in some aspects when it came to pushing dream Bigger forward, which is handy.
CD: Do you consider dream Bigger a brand?
CUONG: I guess in a sense I do, but I wouldnâ€™t put it down to just being a brand, like something you can just slap on product and sell. I think that cheapens the meaning behind it if you know what I mean. Itâ€™s more than just a brand.
CD: How do you promote dream Bigger? Have you done any marketing campaigns?
CUONG: Weâ€™ve tried a few ways to promote dB in the past. I remember one night me and the guys met up and had about 100 or so flyers and just went to different areas and put them up all over the place. No idea how well that worked in terms of exposure but yeah, itâ€™s all part of finding what works and what doesnâ€™t. I think we found a lot of success on Facebook and just word of mouth. The stickers, shirts and hoodies all help too. An old couple randomly stopped me in the car park a while ago cause they said the liked the message the sticker they saw on my car gave, thatâ€™s what I mean about the influence of words. Same sort of thing recently, I was just in Maccas and my mate and I had our hoodies on, and a group of guys saw the stickers on the car and then saw us inside and they approached us and we just started talking about it.
If you look at our Facebook page too, we arenâ€™t constantly bombarding people with marketing. Just bits here and there and I think thatâ€™s what works for us. When people see the stickers or clothing they can see the words dream Bigger and if they want to know more theyâ€™ll ask. We try not force feed it to people. I think thatâ€™s an important part of it.
CD: Where do you see dB in the future? What do you hope to achieve?
CUONG: Honestly, itâ€™s hard to say what future I see for dB. The people involved are all tied up with personal commitments, me included. Itâ€™s hard to get enough solid time together to get things moving forward fast. That said, Iâ€™m still planning ahead and making sure things keep moving until we can get to that point to put 100% into it. I mean if we can only put 10 % of our time into it now and do what weâ€™ve done; it should be something great when we can all put in 100 for it.
In terms of what I hope dB to achieve, I would be happy to see it just serve as a reminder and inspiration to people to start and keep chasing their dreams. But if I had it my way, it would be great if we got to a point where we could actually financially help others who donâ€™t have the money and means to achieve their dreams. I mean for someone to give up their dream of becoming or achieving something they want just because of money is really frustrating. If we can help in that department as well as connections, then that would be more than enough for me.
CD: What charities do you support?
CUONG: We donâ€™t have any specific charities we donate to. We do our own fund-raising though; we are actually on our third round of fund raising for this â€˜Better Startsâ€™ cause weâ€™ve been working on. With the money we raise we help orphans in Indonesia get a better start to life than they have previously been given. Basically the money gets them some clothing, and school supplies like books and backpacks. Weâ€™ve actually just sent the money for the third round of orphans with the money we made from selling the latest set of hoodies and through some kind donations.Â So yeah, hopefully we get to start to see the results of that money soon.
CD: Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?
CUONG: A very slow one maybe haha, Iâ€™d have to do a lot more work, take more risks and do things a lot faster to do that title the proper justice, maybe further down the track.
CD: Has networking and making connections helped you in starting dream Bigger, how?
CUONG: Making connections is something that is vital nowadays I reckon, as much as it sucks it seems to a matter of who you know rather than what you know. But yeah, Iâ€™ve made a few connections that have definitely helped dream Bigger out. If I can, a big shout out to my good friend Joel who runs YungRif! You guys should check them out too, a local start up as well. Thatâ€™s one connection I made that has help me a lot with dream Bigger, so a big thankyou to him. Also just wanted to say a big thank you to all involved in running dream Bigger, all those who support and believe in it, everyone who purchased a hoodie and donated. And Dream Bigger!
Make sure you guys check out all the hoodie designs at the dream [d.B] Bigger Facebook page and get behind the dream Bigger movement!