FogRose Atelier: Creative Engineering for a Sweet Result
After 11 years working as a civil engineer, Quyen Dang decided to pioneer her own business in a completely different industry: hospitality. While the transition might seem straight out of left field, her decision combined passion and professional expertise - fusing creativity and culinary science in the form of “engineered” desserts crafted for each customer. As COVID-19 shuttered storefronts across the country and left independent eateries facing unpredictable circumstances, Quyen embraced her professional pivot and nurtured her chic confection-forward restaurant, FogRose Atelier, against some overwhelming odds during its first year in business.
We reached out to Quyen for a Q&A to learn more about her perspective as a local business owner, the hurdles her team cleared and what she appreciates most about connecting with the Heart of Bellevue community:
BDA: Alright, what are a few reasons you personally love working downtown?
QD: I love urban life. I love finding pockets of stillness among all the activities. And that's what I tried to do with my business; create an urban oasis, a space for reflection and celebration.
BDA: Among its unique qualities, what first piqued your interest about the downtown scene? How does Bellevue stand apart from other metro areas?
QD: It's the feeling you get with each city. In Bellevue, there is this energetic feeling of growth. New buildings are under construction at every turn. And with more tech companies and diverse talents flocking to the area, anyone who visits Bellevue can sense that all the action goes on here with more excitement on the horizon. It's an attractive place to live and work.
BDA: How has your store adapted its response to challenges brought on by the pandemic?
QD: Initially, what our business started out with in its core concepts relied so heavily on plating and presentation that we had to scrap those methods and create an entirely new system and menu to adapt to the take-out and delivery model. Eventually we found our rhythm, focusing on products for celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries.
BDA: Have there been any encouraging moments over the past year (think conversations with customers, fellow downtown vendors, staff members) that reminded you to stay positive?
QD: We're incredibly lucky to have the team that we have. Everyone pitches in and tackles daily operations to improve how we serve our customers and continue moving forward. The support from patrons and community partners has also been amazing to hear. Customers would write to us with personal stories and we would listen and lend a hand by crafting the perfect dessert to suit their occasion. It's the most wonderful part of the job. We're not just decorating cakes; we're helping people celebrate their stories.
BDA: Has your business launched any partnerships or made charitable contributions to any local nonprofits?
QD: We have a pretty small team, so we haven't been able to participate in any big efforts. However, we have, on our own, donated cakes and ice cream to local hospitals and clinics to give our healthcare heroes a "sweet break” as the pandemic continues.
BDA: What kind of growth would you like to see for FogRose Atelier throughout the year ahead?
QD: I've experienced the most joy building this business, and the lessons I've learned are invaluable. I would like us to deliver some of the programs we had to postpone because of the pandemic. Before the lockdown mandate, we were just gearing up to start an afternoon tea program. I would love to realize that concept and set a few other projects in motion, in addition to more partnerships with local companies and community organizations.
BDA: Lastly, are there any upcoming discounts or bargain deals you would like to mention?
QD: Yes! Once our Valentine's Day package goes live, use promo code “BDA15” for 15% off your total purchase. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for Valentine's Day item announcements!
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.
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