186 – Stand out by building a strong brand, with tuck shop owner Miss Chu.

186 – Stand out by building a strong brand, with tuck shop owner Miss Chu.

Every business has a story, but how often does a business idea emerge from escaping a dictatorship and surviving a refugee camp? That’s exactly what happened when Nahji Chu launched her Vietnamese tuck shops back in 2008. But this week’s podcast is no pity party. In fact, my chat with Nahji perfectly showcases how she injected her fun spirit and passion for Vietnamese culture into misschu, creating a fast food business that breaks the mould. It’s an episode all about brand building.

Anyone who has walked the streets of Melbourne or Sydney will know that Australia has no shortage of Vietnamese eateries, but misschu’s point of difference comes from its deep celebration of Vietnamese culture that works its way into every aspect of the tuck shop: the menu design, the décor, the staff uniforms, and the list goes on.

Every single small business owner out there (including me!) can learn from Nahji’s success as a business disrupter, as somebody who is unafraid to own her ideas, and who has grown those ideas from seedlings into a major brand.

PLUS, I get right into the nitty gritty of your listener feedback. So let’s get started!


In this session of Small Business Big Marketing, you’ll discover:

  • How the misschu brand started with absolutely zero market research or business planning
  • Why every business owner is Dr Frankenstein, piecing together their dream business from disparate parts
  • How Nahji Chu overcame the trauma of escaping a dictatorship with fun and humour, and applied this to her business.
  • Why treading unchartered territory is one of the most exciting things you can do in business. When people around you tell you that you won’t succeed, have conviction in your own ideas.
  • How Nahji Chu started her business with an order for 30 Vietnamese paper rolls, and was taking orders for 17,000 rolls within 3 months.
  • Why you should pay attention to the subtle nuances of your brand. Know what your brand stands for and stick by it.
  • Why every business needs to have a heart. Authenticity is key to success.
  • How misschu turned a negative spin on the refugee experience into a positive and essential part of the Vietnamese fast food brand.
  • Why multiculturalism in Australian business has failed and how misschu does things differently.
  • PLUS, I respond to your listener feedback.

Episode Timeline

  • 3.00 Can’t catch a break with online marketing? Get it SORTED with Netregistry.
  • 4.00 The beginning of my fireside chat with the misschu owner, Nahji Chu
  • 8.30 What is the misschu tuck shop experience?
  • 11.30 What does multiculturalism mean in Australia for businesses? How Vietnamese culture is about more than just food at misschu
  • 16.00  The importance of telling a story and being authentic as a small business owner
  • 20.00 Why miccschu never invested in market research
  • 22.00 The excitement of treading unchartered territory in business, and the importance of owning your original ideas
  • 28.00 HowNahji Chu started her paper roll business from one order of 30 rolls and grew it into 10 tuck shops
  • 33.00 Overcoming adversity with comedy.The importance of laughter in business and in life
  • 36.40 My top three take-aways from this episode
  • 38.00 I tackle some of your listener feedback

Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode

Miss Chu Interview Transcription


Get ready to be inspired by Miss Chu, that’s all I’ve got to say.
Welcome back listeners to Australia’s, if not the world’s #1 small business marketing show. I am your host, Timbo Reid but you, so much more importantly are a very, very motivated small business owner ready to crank out some great marketing so that you can build that baby of yours into the entire that it deserves to be and we are brought to you by the very good folks at Net Registry and I also want to welcome everyone within the Flying Solo community.

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Over to you!

Let us know YOUR key takeaways from this episode by leaving a comment below. I personally read and respond to every comment!

7 thoughts on “186 – Stand out by building a strong brand, with tuck shop owner Miss Chu.”

  1. Loved this interview Timbo. Inspiring and energetic. Need to go check out her Tuck Shop for lunch tomorrow! Also huge respect for the way you handled the feedback and turned it positive… I love hearing you read out the emails and reviews and giving your own thoughts and feedback! Keep up the good work mate.

  2. Thanks Mark. I appreciate your feedback re the feedback. You gotta test these things! Let me know what misschu was like. Tasty, I’m guessing.

  3. thefatbadger


    If Miss Chu were a shoe, she’d be a Nike!


    (what shoe would you be, Timbo?)

    Nothing seemed to stand in her way and god help those that respond to her requests with ‘I’m not sure that’s possible’.

    I’ve experienced the growing strength and ‘sharability’ of her brand first hand. On seeing one of her tuckshops a few weeks ago my brother-in-law and his partner raced over and sent me a photo of them standing in front of the trucks ‘you ling, we bling’ decal.

    Miss Chu’s success is a shining example of what can be achieved with simply a great idea and a lot of hard work.

    Too many people have great ideas and do nothing with them; or find excuse after excuse as to why something wouldn’t work.

    The two most common excuses I hear are:
    1) I havent got the money,
    2) I don’t know where to start.
    (Not too disimilar to your comments Timbo about some small business owners insistence that they dont have the time or resources)

    Those of us who know people like this should share this interview with them.

    While Miss Chu offered up one great piece of advice after another, it was her comments about branding guidelines that resonanted with me the most.

    I was taught the importance of clear and concise branding guidelines by a Marketing Manager whilst working for a past employer.

    Prior to his arrival the company exercised little control over their branding and logo’s resulting in mixed messages to the market, inconsistency in marketing materials and advertising and weaker brand recognition.

    There were no rules as to the required sizing of the logo, no PMS colour guides, no instruction as to what to do when applying the logo to differing backgrounds, what the logo could be applied to, no permission/approval process for it’s use, no version control…it’s fair to say it was a mess.

    Control over logo/branding needs to be tighter than ever these days with increasing competition and the ‘permanency’ internet marketing.

  4. so did miss chu just admit to taking ecstacy in her youth, classic!!! she is quite the character, love her brand, can’t wait to try her food, and lots of it!!

  5. HA! Just went back to listen to Miss Chu’s interview again and wallah – there is mention of me & my waterproof blue tooth speaker! Feel v humbled, thanks Timbo! Meanwhile, my name is Spanish, for the spark that starts the flame! Thanks again for making me smile Mr Marketing!

  6. Yes, Grant, I believe she did. And she definitely is quite the character. You can get more of here here – //smallbusinessbigmarketing.com/marketing-podcast-190/

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