Folks We Love with Veronique Nguyen of Les Gamins
Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you’ve come to arrive here.
I’m Maman to an incredible little guy, Zack, and baby #2 is due in June. I mainly grew up in Montreal, but also lived in Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Singapore before moving to Brooklyn with my husband Ben in 2010. I oversee Merchandising at AERIN, and I have also been working on starting my own business, a new kids clothing line called Les Gamins, which just launched last week! I started Les Gamins out of our Brooklyn apartment where countless pieces of chocolate were used to bribe Zack while he tried on clothing samples. Les Gamins was born with the idea of creating high-quality, timeless basics at an affordable price point. I’m a little short on sleep but am excited for the launch of this little labor of love!
Who’s in your family? Ages? Names?
Our little family consists of my husband Ben (34 years old), our incredible little guy Zack (2-year-old), and his baby sis who is due in 1 week!
How did you choose your kids’ names?
This is a pretty embarrassing story but my husband and I had years long affection for Mzee, that giant tortoise that adopted a baby hippo after the 2004 Tsunami. Sounds crazy, but “Mzee” was how we’d joke about our unborn children long before we ever got married. Well, when I got pregnant Mzee led us to the Z’s… and it just felt right to go with Zack! His middle name is Vinh, after my brother, another pretty awesome guy!
Founder/Owner of Les Gamins (www.les-gamins.com)
Merchandising Consultant for AERIN
What’s on your manifest board?
I had to Google what a manifest board is! The biggest goal is to remind myself to always be present⏤ even if it’s not always easy. It’s also very important to me for our family to continue to travel and continue to challenge ourselves to see new things, learn new perspectives and meet new people. I’m also big on writing resolutions each year⏤ read more books, exercise more, meditate more, be more patient, the list goes on and grows on!
Tell us some of your most loved ways to spend the day with your clan?
We have a little beach house in Montauk and it’s definitely our happy place. We love spending long days at the beach⏤ catching snails, building/destroying sandcastles, going on hikes and just spending time outside breathing in the salty air.
We also love wandering around in our neighborhood in Brooklyn, hitting the multiple playgrounds and going to all the specialty food shops. We love the community we live it and how dynamic and diverse it is.
What are some silly/fun things that the kids do or say?
Zack has started saying “Good job, Maman!”, “It’s ok, it’s ok Maman, don’t cry” in a really high-pitched sing-songy voice… guess I know what I sound like! He’s also just started telling us “I love you” unprompted which is not silly/fun but the most heart-melting thing in the world!
When you were a teenager what did you dream of? Do things look different?
I always just wanted to travel and live abroad when I was younger, which I did right when I graduated from college. I have to say that while life may not always be perfect and that there are constant challenges that make you question a lot of things, our little life is so much better and more fulfilling than I could have ever dreamt of as a teenager. I’m very grateful!
What are some things you really believe in?
I grew up Buddhist, and karma is a core principle in our philosophy. It’s pretty basic, but it’s one of the principles I believe the most in– always put out good energy into the world, in thought, action, and relationships big and small.
Where do your passions lie?
My family, first and foremost.
Building and growing Les Gamins and creating a brand and product that people can connect with, feel good dressing their kids in, and that can help give back to our community.
Has your relationship with your other half changed since having kids?
Definitely! I was so emotional at the end of my first pregnancy, “mourning” the last days of it just being Ben and me (I’m blaming it on the hormones!) Our priorities have shifted since having a kid. We haven’t been as good on our promise of consistently carving out time for date nights just the two of us, but we’ve had a few weekends away where I’m quickly reminded of why I fell in love with this guy. I also think our bond is stronger than ever and there is nothing more attractive than seeing how loving and attentive he is to our son, watching him make up all kinds of silly games, and when he takes Z out on Saturday mornings to let me sleep in!
What are some of your favorite life lessons you’ve grown to love? (even if learning them at the time was hard)
I’ve always been an optimist and while I’ve learned that unfortunately, things don’t always go your way, humans are so much stronger and more resilient than we sometimes think or feel. So, “when going through hell, keep going”. This too shall pass.
What do you wish you could’ve told yourself when you were a teenager?
It’s TOTALLY okay not to know what you want to do with your life! There is a good chance you still won’t really know 10 (err, 12) years from now, but it’s okay. Stick to doing things that interest you and work hard, and it’ll all work out (I hope!).
What do you find most challenging about being somebody’s parent?
Monkey see, monkey do! It always sounded like a light-hearted cliche to me, but with a toddler the stakes are real! It’s adorable how much the little ones will follow your lead but it can be humbling too.
Also, patience! Having a toddler really forces you sometimes to dig deep to remind yourself to take a deep breath and stay calm!
What do you want your kids to learn about the world?
So many things, but mostly to see the good. I think that captures all the rest. I would also want them to know that what they do counts and that they can have an effect on the world.
What are 4 things you can’t live without as a parent?
2. Trains aka “choo-choos” in all shapes and form. They’ve provided hours of entertainment as well as distractions when there is a meltdown coming down the pike!
3. The amazing support we get from friends and family.
4. Pedicures! I try to remind myself self-care is very important and there are few things more efficient than a pedicure with a 10-minute foot rub to totally decompress!