Vyvyan Doan was born in Portland, Oregon to a large and tight-knit family and was raised in Gresham. Her family moved to NE Portland when she was seven and she has lived in the city ever since. She grew up as a member of Our Lady of Lavang Parish and was a part of various Asian student clubs at Portland State University. In 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, she created Dream Escape Design, a web design business that quickly became successful. She describes her plans to retire Dream Escape Design because she is more passionate about her new business: Ooh What’s This?. Doan conceptualizes Ooh What’s This? as an Asian Etsy because it supports AAPI artists from all over the world. She then describes ways the Vietnamese community could be strengthened in Portland, detailing how she feels Ooh What’s This? could contribute to building community. She also discusses ideas about creating an app to help people quickly connect to businesses and events.
In this interview, Doan reminisces about how her family functions like a beehive, with her Grandma at the center as the queen bee. She describes her time as a student at Portland State University, reflecting on her realization that studying science was not her calling. It wasn’t until after college and the beginning of the pandemic that Doan began turning her creative passions into a career through the creation of Dream Escape Design and Ooh What’s This?. She goes on to talk about the need for more racial awareness in the workspace as she and many others have experienced microaggressions and racial biases. She concludes the interview by discussing the gap between different generations of Vietnamese Americans and recognizes that their definitions of hard work are completely different, requiring empathy for the generations to fully understand each other.