MBE Spotlight: Xavier Armand
Xavier Armand’s story as it pertains to The Vaan Group starts back in 2010 when his partner, Chuong Nguyen-Thanh started a consulting group for a prominent E-Cigarette company. It was the new age of E-Cigarettes. Nobody knew what it was, but everybody wanted to get their hands on it. By day they were selling the product at street fairs, nightclubs, and fashion shows, and by night they were building the website. The website grew exponentially—bringing in $1.2 million in the first year. This would become a pivotal point in Xavier and Chuong’s career and would build the foundation of Vaan in the coming year when the E-Cigarette company took a downward turn. Like all entrepreneurs, when one door closes you begin hunting for the next. Chuong and Xavier knew they were far into building the website component of the business, from design to development, and knew what it took to develop a successful build. This was the kick-off to their agency, Vaan, as you know it today. After the early years of Vaan’s foray into website design and development, they began to make inroads with some very well known Fortune 500 companies that brought them in as experts to consult on user experience design and product strategy. Once they got their foot in the door, they continued to leverage their work and demonstrate the real value that they could bring to businesses of any size and across any vertical. As their client list grew in size and stature, they started building out a global team of technologists, which has been the foundation for all of the success they’ve achieved up until this point.
Vaan was officially founded in 2011. Xavier is now formally the Co-founder and CEO of the agency while Chuong is Co-founder and COO.
Vaan is a remote-first digital agency based in New York specializing in building scalable and future-proof eCommerce solutions for brand partners using award-winning design and engineering best practices. They pride themselves on being the bridge between business goals and technology by providing a combination of complex technical solutions and unique memorable designs. Through a problem-centric approach, they turn business requirements, UX requirements, marketing requirements, and creative design into captivating online experiences.
What does being a minority business mean to you?
Being a minority-owned business means a lot to Xavier as a founder, but it’s also one of the guiding values of their company. Growing up he always heard the saying “You can’t receive with a closed fist.” They are driven to support their community both financially but also with their time. He is partners with CodeNation and LEDA which is driven to provide resources and internships to youth in underrepresented communities. Representation matters and in the agency space the number of minority-owned businesses or minority founders is really low. Being in this position they are granted the opportunity to give light to the next generation of minority creatives and future agency founders.
How has being certified with the NMSDC helped your business?
The NMSDC is an amazing organization for many reasons. One is that they help to put minority-owned businesses in front of newer and bigger opportunities but it inevitably falls on our capabilities and what we have to offer that seals the deals. Here at Vaan, we are obsessed with results so this being a space where we can secure opportunities not only based on our background as founders but on the merits of our work as a whole company, means a lot to us.
What is one thing you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?
Looking back there are a couple of things that come to mind at both the industry level and my career. Industry-wise I wish I knew the value service providers hold to tech solutions or software companies. For my career, I believe in being diligent in social media and building a presence early on would have been beneficial to the brand.