In early 2022, Jenny Nguyen embarked on a journey to create something unique in the heart of Portland, Oregon—a sports bar like no other. Today, at 43 years old, she stands as the founder and owner of “The Sports Bra,” a one-of-a-kind establishment that focuses exclusively on women’s sports. Within just eight months of opening its doors, this pioneering venture achieved a remarkable milestone, raking in nearly $1 million in revenue. But what set Jenny Nguyen’s business apart? It all started with a single sentence in her business plan.
Challenging the Status Quo
The Sports Bra was initially just a concept, and Nguyen herself had doubts about its success. However, she approached the challenge with a unique perspective. She asked herself a crucial question: Who would be The Sports Bra’s competitors? Her response was a powerful statement that would become the driving force behind her endeavor: “The only competition is the status quo.”
Sports bars are a common sight in cities across the country, but Jenny Nguyen noticed a significant gap in their offerings—they often overlooked women’s sporting events. This observation led her to chart her own course, unburdened by established norms and conventions. She had no role model to follow, but this blank canvas was, in her words, “liberating.”
Embracing the Freedom to Innovate
Having no blueprint to guide her allowed Nguyen to embrace the freedom to innovate. She recognized that when there is no predefined path, one can make mistakes and, more importantly, learn from them. This freedom to experiment became a cornerstone of The Sports Bra’s philosophy, a testament to Nguyen’s determination to chart her own course in the world of sports bars.
A Motto That Resonates
The power of that one sentence in her business plan, “The only competition is the status quo,” has only grown with time. It has become more than just a statement; it is now a motto that resonates with the business’s identity. You can even find it emblazoned on The Sports Bra-branded merchandise, serving as a constant reminder of the establishment’s commitment to breaking boundaries in the world of sports entertainment.
Jenny Nguyen’s journey was not without its challenges. As a first-time business owner, securing funding for The Sports Bra was an uphill battle. Multiple banks and small business associations denied her loan requests. However, her determination prevailed, and she turned to a viral Kickstarter campaign that raised over $105,000. This success served as a testament to the community’s support for her groundbreaking venture.
Even with the necessary funds in hand, Nguyen faced uncertainty about the future. Her decision to persevere was grounded in a simple yet profound belief: she would regret giving up more than she would regret failing. Her worst-case scenario involved using her background as a chef to rebuild her life, moving into her parents’ basement after investing approximately $27,000 of her own savings into The Sports Bra. It was a significant risk, but she was willing to take it.
In conclusion, Jenny Nguyen’s journey with The Sports Bra showcases the power of innovation, determination, and a commitment to breaking down barriers. Her unique vision has not only transformed the sports bar landscape but also inspired others to challenge the status quo in their respective fields. The Sports Bra is a testament to the belief that when you have the courage to write your own plan, you have the freedom to create something extraordinary.