Jimme Haung, designer and owner of Vienna Prom, sits down with our very own, Trisha, as part of our Queenly Tea Talks Instagram Live series to talk about his journey in the formal dress industry.
Trisha: Thank you for being a partner with Queenly! Let's get started: tell us the origin story for Vienna Prom!
Jimme: I basically started a company with my mother 18 years ago when I first moved to Dallas, Texas. We started selling shoes and accessories and after getting positive feedback on our unique earrings, we decided to transform that into gowns. That was about 10-9 years ago.
Trisha: So what was your inspiration? Why gowns? Why formal dresses? Why this glamorous world?
J: I was already in the formal business. The industry needed someone new and fresh and we were it. We took pride in our unique beading and coloring.
T: I want to dive into how this year has been for you and Vienna Prom. This pandemic has been a huge hit to designers and boutique owners.
J: The year has been challenging because everything has a big question mark. A lot of boutiques are concerned. I feel bad for all the women who did not get to go to their prom. As a designer, every piece is designed for someone special, for a special experience. I hope some of these girls will have the chance to have this experience.
T: I remember looking forward to my prom since middle school, so I feel for them. I know with the help of technology, some have had the chance to have a virtual prom and at least there was something we could do in that sense.
This is a question from the comments: Does Vienna Prom make pageant evening gowns?
Jimme: Yes, I do! We (Vienna Prom) do custom dresses. We have done Miss Texas USA.
Trisha: Let's talk about the future! What are your plans for this upcoming year, 2021?
J: I will produce a new prom collection and it’s going to be very fun, sexy, and vibrant. To me, prom should be fun, comfortable, and unique. Another thing, something exciting, is that I have started a bridal collection. We have started piloting and product testing.
Trisha: For those that are less familiar, how are wedding dresses different from prom and pageant dresses?
J: The bridal industry is still going on no matter what happens compared to prom. There are always going to be brides. So while maybe there is no big celebration, there is still a wedding gown. But as far as the designs, I always start with the fit. You are halfway there once you find the perfect fit.
Trisha: For yourself personally, what are your favorite kinds of dresses to design?
J: There is no favorite. My favorite is when I design something and it looks amazing on the client. That is my reward. It’s the satisfaction of seeing your work on somebody.
T: What was one of your favorite designs that you remember? A piece that you were really proud of.
J: Anissa Mendez, Miss Texas Teen USA 2020. It was a very risky dress. The dress was a halter dress with a lace overlay. It was a yellow with white lace overlay, with crystal bedding on top of it. It also had a train that was as heavy as the dress. It took over 40 man hours just to make that train. Everybody was questioning it. But we assured that this dress would be a showstopper. This dress was unique. The color was very unique. I like to take risks.
T: So this is a fun question: Out of all the previous pageant holders, who would you want to dress?
J: I would say probably Crystle Stewart (Miss USA 2008). She has a very wide range of looks. You can dress Crystle in a very glamorous look and then go for a business suit.
T: She was just a commanding presence. That is what makes her one of the most memorable Miss USA’s.
We have another question from the comments: Do you think Miss USA should branch out to other gown designer sponsors?
J: This is controversial. However, if you take the business man out of me, I think a competition should have the freedom of choice for attire. It's hard, however, because it’s a business decision at the end of the day.
T: I agree. I watch Miss Philippines every year, which is similar to Miss USA. Every single year, I love that every girl is working with their own designer. It is a relationship that is exciting and diverse.
I’m going to switch gears into more quick, fun questions. What is something that recently moved you?
J: Family. It has been a tough year, but my family has really been there. I actually named my daughter after Vienna (FYI).
Trisha: Another fun question: what is your favorite birthday cake flavor?
Thank you Jimme! Check out the full interview here And make sure to follow Queenly on Instagram for more exclusive interviews.