Amy Nguyen’s business is Zen Tea Lounge, supporting local disadvantaged migrant women. She started off with an online tea retail outlet two years ago and has now progressed to opening premises in Smithfield. Zen Tea Lounge is now a venture comprising a Tea House, a restaurant and the wholesale of tea.
Amy grows many of the ingredients used in the restaurant in her garden at home. The needs of women are uppermost when it comes to running her business, for example, Amy doesn’t include wok-based stir fried dishes on her menu, as working with woks can damage the wrists.
Vietnam-born Amy says Zen Tea Lounge is much more than a retail outlet and restaurant. Zen Tea Lounge business supports migrant women experiencing difficulties in their lives with a two-fold approach, offering practical advice about where to get support for problems, in particular with domestic violence issues. Amy describes herself as an advocate for mental health, and also offers women help through meditation practices. “Tea meditation really helps mental health”, says Amy. Her goals for her business are to help other women with mental health and financial stability.
To this end Zen Tea Lounge offers jobs to local women. “We employ local migrant women from scratch who have no commercial kitchen experience, to provide job training so their new skills can take them to further opportunities.”