WHILE her multi award-winning business Warwick Grove Florist is flourishing, Jenny Do has not forgotten her roots.
After being recognised as one of WA’s leading business entrepreneurs under the age of 40 at this year’s 40 Under 40 awards and scooping gold and silver prizes at the Interflora Australia Cup 2017 where she represented WA as Florist of the Year, Ms Do journeyed to her native Vietnam to help local charities.
While Ms Do says she is now “every inch the philanthropic businesswoman”, her road to success was not easy.
In 2006, she moved from Vietnam to Australia for marriage but three years later it ended.
She found herself in a women’s refugee centre in Nollamara with her two-year-old daughter.
“I had very limited English, no nearby family and I was living off $20 food vouchers and the kindness from people at the shelter,” she said.
But with the encouragement of the centre and government support, Ms Do decided to launch her own business – a florist inspired by her childhood love of flowers.
“Apart from completing a floristry course back in Vietnam, starting a business was completely new territory,” she said.
“I couldn’t speak English very well and I couldn’t read.
“I had to Google everything.”
In 2010, she bought her first business in Dianella where her arrangements made with fresh flowers handpicked daily from local farms soon attracted loyal customers.
She expanded in 2014, buying a larger shop at Warwick Grove Shopping Centre and doubling her staff.
But she says giving back has always been at the front of her mind.
“I know how it feels when you receive the $20 food voucher,” she said.
“All the help and support from all the ladies at the Nollamara refugee women’s centre touched my heart and I wanted to give back whenever I can.”
In April, she volunteered at the Bao Hoa orphanage in Da Lat and cooked for 50 blind people at the Lam Dong Blind Association, where she is planning to provide ongoing support to young blind people’s education.
She also funded a bridge in Western Vietnam, which allows children safe access to schools, and supplied clothes, school items, food and money to students.
“The people expressed how happy they were for the bridge because it made their life easier, especially in the raining season when there are lots of floods in the west of Vietnam,” she said.
“The children are excited they will attend school every day and there won’t be any kids drowning in the water when it floods.
“I am planning to build one bridge each year.”
In May, her journey seemed to come full circle, when she offered free flower arranging workshops in conjunction with the Esther Foundation – a Perth-based women’s rehabilitation program.
“There were about 15 ladies who were from different challenging situations,” Ms Do said.
“Some came from domestic violence, some from drug rehab, others from alcohol rehab.
“Now some want to become florists and want to do work experience at my shop.
“I feel really happy.”
She also held a free flower arranging workshop on June 2 with 27 ladies from the Mirrabooka Multicultural Centre.