Kayla Dihn
Kayla Dihn | Foto: Kayla Dihn

Kayla Dihn: a Voice of Empowerment

Por: Karen Limón

24, November, 2021 en Luxury Trending

If you add a gallon of independence, a cup of strength, a liter of intelligence, a pound of perseverance, and miles of creativity you’ll get someone like Kayla Dinh who mixed all these ingredients to plant seeds and pave the way to be the empowered woman she has become today.

Like a true Gemini, thirty-year-old Kayla possessed a curious mind and had a variety of interests and dreams which evolved throughout the years. “Yeah, I know, I’m one of those crazy astronomy girls,” she quips. Born and raised in Vietnam, Kayla modeled at six years old. “I always adored fashion and was obsessed with beauty. My first big dream was to make it far as a model.” At fourteen years old, Kayla broadened her horizons and realized that she wanted to be more than just a pretty face. “I thought of being a tour guide so I could travel all over the world to have freedom and experience life,” she shares.

Kayla and her family migrated to America when she was eighteen years old. “A close family member tricked my parents and caused us to lose our home in Vietnam. This painful situation put our family through very challenging times. It was difficult for us to have faith in people and I still battle with trust issues but have learned to forgive. Undergoing that experience carved a goal to be financially free and independent so I can take care of my family and do whatever I want in life. This sparked my desire to work hard and work smart,” she confides.

Her first business venture was a beauty salon. Although Kayla liked cutting and styling hair, she didn’t want to be a hairstylist forever. Over time, she decided to challenge herself in a different field and this is when she opened her first Food & Beverage business―a boba store which she named Boba Fitt. The business was a huge success and this urged her to open a second store. Kayla’s definition of success is about doing something creative and meaningful. “I wanted my business to reflect my personal style and not just about making money,” she states.

Kayla Dihn wearing a pink dress
Kayla Dihn wearing a pink dress

After two years of managing the salon and Boba stores, this unstoppable woman embraced another business venture— K Café Patisserie & Tea house―an Asian-French cuisine restaurant located in San Jose, California. “Back in Vietnam, going to cafés was a part of my daily life. When I moved to the US, I couldn’t find any cafés in my area so I decided to create one. K Café is the product of my desire to create with the inspiration I’ve gathered from my travels all over the world. K Café originated with the yearning to bring happiness and provide the perfect vibe with exceptional food and drinks at affordable prices. K Café combines traits of Asian and French cuisines and creates a fusion of the flavors―the best of both worlds. I wanted a place where people could feel loved, less alone, and connected on every occasion. K Café is a cafeteria for everyone—a feeling of luxury in the bay.” She smiles.

As soon as you step inside K Café you’ll notice the refined aesthetics with cozy shades of champagne pink and lilac. There’s no direction to look but up at the elegant chandeliers and precious flower ceiling that greets you with their astounding presence, creating a strong impact of love and connection. Hand-painted murals of Kayla, her dogs, her team, and her business welcome you with a lighthearted vibe that compels you to lounge, linger, and love. Since Kayla believes in the power of symbols, in her patio, you’ll spot two life-sized metal horse statues which represents the year Kayla was born. There are also four Goddess statues that embody the four seasons. “I opened my first business during the Summer of 2016. The second business launched in the Fall of 2017. I inaugurated my third business amid the Spring of 2018. K Café commenced during the Winter of 2019. I want to combine all my businesses and bring good vibes to others all year round,” she informs.

Her creativity and attention to detail are evident in the presentation of her food because Kayla adheres to what’s appealing to the eye should also taste good. She uses her senses to connect with your first impression which invites you to awaken your palettes as you devour in her sumptuous dishes with their most sought-after beverages. Some of the mouth-watering meals they are known for are the Garlic Soy Fries, Shaking Beef, Smoked Salmon Benedict, and Chicken & Waffle. To add flavor to her food, K Café offers Vietnamese Coffee, Egg Latté, Dalgona Coffee, Eggpuccino, Fruit Teas, Milk Teas, and many more hot and cold beverages. The highlight of a meal should always include a savory dessert and you can never go wrong with K Café’s Cakes, Custard Toast, and Cupcakes.

For Kayla, being an entrepreneur isn’t just a choice, but an opportunity. “I found a way to create K Café from all the experiences I had with my previous businesses. Hard work became the foundation of creating K Café where I make sure to do better than the day before. When you’re too desperate to create, it’s hard to work for other people because you want things done your way. You have to be passionate about what you do or you won’t be able to push through when times get hard. Believe in yourself and your vision,” she declares.

Kayla Dihn with a cup of tea
Kayla Dihn with a cup of tea

Kayla understands first-hand the value of being patient, consistent, having the ability to wear multiple hats, and taking risks. “The business won’t be successful overnight. No one ever tells you how much practice every little thing in our life takes. Small businesses are always challenged to get all their work done, so be ready to do whatever it takes. There’s always an element of risk with self-employment. You may need to quit your day job, sacrifice your weekend, lose some relationships, or spend all your savings into the business,” she advises.

Six years in the business industry have allowed Kayla to express her creativity, practice her values, and find joy and inspiration. “My goal is to create a lifestyle where I could have freedom with my time and my choices and at the same time bring pleasure. Having the chance to share my feelings through my creativity with others provides an unexplainable feeling of euphoria. Aside from that, seeing people happy makes me happy. I’m blessed to witness many special events like weddings, bridal/baby showers, anniversaries, birthdays, etc. I also love to travel and bring stuff back home to the community,” she relays.

Kalya draws inspiration from people and the community. “I am extremely grateful to those who I have met, worked with, and been with. They have guided me through the hardships and countless tough situations. They truly inspire me to do better and find ways to help others. I believe this is what improves our community as a whole. Every time I meet new customers and see/hear about their satisfaction, it motivates me to keep doing what I love to do. Each time I receive a complaint, I make sure to take note of it and see how we can improve the experience for next time. We value our customers,” she conveys.

Kayla DIhn and her pomeranian dog
Kayla DIhn and her pomeranian dog

Being a business owner involves utilizing your creativity, practicing your financial skills, using effective communication, setting a good example, and possessing a stellar team. “As an entrepreneur, I need to plan ahead and know what my goals are. I am grateful to be able to think outside the box. I have to motivate myself and lead by example. I always share my knowledge and experiences with my employees. I truly believe that people can do amazing things when they are inspired enough and I want them to love their job as much as I do,” she says.

Despite her success, Kayla encountered many challenges along the way. Kayla launched her businesses with no support from her family since they preferred that she get a stable job. “Everything started from little steps. With no guide, I made many mistakes and learned everything the hard way. Aside from that, building a suitable team was more demanding than it sounds. Throughout the years, it was difficult for me to choose the right people to join my team and handle vigorous responsibilities that held my business together,” she discloses. “Luckily, I met Ryan & Kris. They’re my left & right hand partner. We have the same vision towards the bigger picture. Without them, I won’t be successful like I am today. Ryan who was an network engineer but believe me enough to quit his job to pursue the dream with me from the beginning of my first business till now. Kris was my employee but became my business partner from the 2nd businesses till K Café,” she adds.

Kayla Dihn
Kayla Dihn

While Kayla divided her time between her business and personal life, she realized that K Café provided a greater responsibility which involved more time and effort for her. This propelled Kayla to sell her beauty salon and one of her boba stores. She renamed the remaining Boba Fitt to K-On-The-Go. “To me, K Café is more than just a restaurant, it’s a symbol of blood, sweat, and tears that was put into the business. K Café wasn’t my first business, but it was my most challenging one. We opened the café at the end of 2019, but when the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world, we had to shut down for almost a year after running for only three months,” she divulges. Kayla learned that it wasn’t easy for her new and small business to survive given that she had minimal staff and no support from the government. However, as relentless as she is known to be, Kayla used this time to work on K Café’s website and she created a menu for high tea services. “It will take more than a pandemic to take us out and my goal was to bounce back stronger and better than before,” she adds with conviction.

Kayla believes her purpose is to set a good example for the women who want to be like her. She offers a tad of wisdom. “I didn’t grow up with rich parents or tremendous support. To be able to show that you can come from nothing and make something out of yourself is priceless. You just have to find your passion and pursue it. Do not be afraid to dream big, and if I can do it, so can you. You will reach new levels of success if you choose to chase your dreams and not money. Don’t rely on a man, but rely on yourself. Know your goal and learn about what you like and what you don’t like.”

As an innovative entrepreneur and millennial who has achieved so much at such a young age, Kayla continues to reinvent herself and her business. “Each day is a day for maintenance improvement which involves creating a new product, planning new ideas, organizing the store, or just simply prepping and connecting with customers,” she expresses. When not working, Kayla spends time with her Pomeranian’s Boba and Goldie and hopes to travel around the world to connect with different cultures. K Café is her pride and glory for bringing the community together with love and joy.

Nothing is insurmountable for Kayla Dinh who set her mind, knew what she always wanted, and did what it takes without relying on others to fulfill her dreams. She is the voice of empowerment.