Humans of Harker: Vinny Vu creates his personal brand

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Humans of Harker: Vinny Vu creates his personal brand

“I grew up with a single mom,

“I grew up with a single mom," Vince Vu (12) said. "It really shaped me to be more responsible. She’s a really good role model. Even when she’s not there, I’m thinking about what she would want me to do. My mom’s success drives me. She was a refugee. She wasn’t born here. Just seeing what she can accomplish, just her, is truly what drives me to work hard at this school and pursue a further education.”

Devanshi Mehta

“I grew up with a single mom," Vince Vu (12) said. "It really shaped me to be more responsible. She’s a really good role model. Even when she’s not there, I’m thinking about what she would want me to do. My mom’s success drives me. She was a refugee. She wasn’t born here. Just seeing what she can accomplish, just her, is truly what drives me to work hard at this school and pursue a further education.”

Devanshi Mehta

Devanshi Mehta

“I grew up with a single mom," Vince Vu (12) said. "It really shaped me to be more responsible. She’s a really good role model. Even when she’s not there, I’m thinking about what she would want me to do. My mom’s success drives me. She was a refugee. She wasn’t born here. Just seeing what she can accomplish, just her, is truly what drives me to work hard at this school and pursue a further education.”

by Devanshi Mehta, TALON Seniors Editor

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If you spot a clean pair of shoes and an outfit crafted to fit the street style aesthetic, it’s probably Vince “Vinny” Vu (12).

Often referred to by the nickname Vinny, he is most noted for his brand, Uniq Sneaks, that resells shoes online and at sneaker conventions. Students on and off campus sport their hoodies in numerous different colors with the brand logo on each one. Created with his brother and two other friends, his brand started from the spotting of a business opportunity in his most valued closet staple: shoes. He builds his outfits around the pair of shoes he wears for the day, so it only seemed fitting that the central element to his fits were central to his business as well.

Although most did not believe that his reselling business would go far, it did, and now Uniq Sneaks sells at both Sneaker Conventions and online. Its logo, a cursive “sneaks” overlaying a bold “UNIQ,” appears in several color combinations and adorns dozens of sweatshirts at school on chilly mornings.

“His brand kind of speaks for itself,” Rahul Mehta (12) said. “He’s quiet, right, but he’s really clever, because in a month, everyone’s wearing his sweatshirts, and everyone knows what brand he has. So he’s kind of understated, but he’s really smart at what he does.”

Vinny’s drive and ambition comes from growing up with his mother and little brother, striving to eventually carry himself the same way and with the same success that his mother does.  

“I grew up with a single mom. It really shaped me to be more responsible. She’s a really good role model. Even when she’s not there, I’m thinking about what she would want me to do,” Vinny said. “My mom’s success drives me. She was a refugee. She wasn’t born here. Just seeing what she can accomplish, just her, is truly what drives me to work hard at this school and pursue a further education.”

He learns from his mother key values that still push him to become better everyday. Responsibility over his siblings is something that has been instilled in him since the beginning.

“[She] really shaped to be more responsible and manage my time better. I have to take care of my brother and my dogs,” Vinny said.

Beyond his shoe business, his bold fashion sense, and his carefully curated Spotify playlists, Vinny strives to delve deeper into an interest discovered at a very early age: science, specifically biology.

“I was in third grade and we were dissecting a worm, and I just saw everything and thought it was really cool,” he said. “I continued to bring that same third grade interest to later classes in high school: organic chemistry, AP environmental science and nanoscience.”

He plans to continue to explore his deep-rooted interest in the subject by major in biology during his higher education.

Behind his quiet, calm and collected attitude and his basketball persona, Vinny strives to pursue his interests through a higher education and ultimately channel his mother’s strength into his own life.