Jess Tran

An Aussie-turned Brooklynite, multifaceted consultant, and champion of all things vintage and secondhand, Jess Tran is always doing something worth noting. Whether she's spearheading a vintage market or managing a pro-voting campaign, she's someone who aligns her work and values. Read more about both below.


source: @jessglistening

Tell us about yourself. In your opinion, what does it mean to you to be a person of substance?

Being a person of substance is understanding that you have the responsibility to leave the people and environment around you a little better than you found it. It means going beyond the fluff and surface-level chit chat, and being willing to be vulnerable, brave and creative in your own way. Most importantly, it means exercising curiosity and a willingness to learn and grow to better understand yourself and the world and systems that surround you!


source: @jessglistening


What's your favorite tattoo? Tell us the story behind it.

Hard to play favorites with all my children, but it would have to be my wonton dumpling tattoo on my right arm. I got it to commemorate my grandfather who committed suicide in Vietnam a few years ago. He ran a wonton noodle cart in District 20 in Ho Chi Minh City for most of his life, waking up early in the morning to operate it. I was born and grew up in Australia, and was disconnected from my Vietnamese background for a long time. I was able to revisit when I was 23 with my mum and met him for the first time in my adult life, and to viscerally understand where I come from and how far my narrative has diverged from that of my grandfather's really hit home when I learned the news of his passing a few years back. It made me truly confront what it was to be a first generation immigrant's child for the first time in my life, and opened up a lot of self-examination around the immense gratitude that I have to be given the opportunities I have, purely out of sheer luck thanks to where I grew up.

How do you think this story mirrors some of your personal values?

My whole family are immigrants, and my dad is a refugee. I had never really fully examined the way that those parts of my story impacted me as an adult until I started really going to therapy this year, and I think it's so important to understand and honor the history of the people who came before you, and to really know in what ways you're shaped by those stories. My wonton tattoo is a way of honoring my Vietnamese ancestry, and the divide that I navigate around being Australian, being an immigrant in America, being a refugee's daughter.

source: @jessglistening

What would be your recommendation(s) for someone thinking of getting a tattoo?

I saw a meme that said the first tattoo seems to hold a lot of sentimentality for people, and the fifth tattoo is like, "it's a hotdog 'cause I like hotdogs". That's definitely been the narrative of my journey with tattoos - I would say do your research and go with an artist that truly excites you, and make sure you really want that tattoo, regardless of whether or not it has a story.