Cool Friends: Kim & Vanessa of Omsom

Headshot by Deanie Chen

Product shots by Mischelle Moy & Jenny Huang

April 22, 2022

Meet Kim & Vanessa, sisters and founders of Omsom - a culinary company bringing Asian flavors to the home kitchen. We caught up with Kim to hear how their childhood led them to launch their tasty and beautifully designed line in 2020.

Interview answered by Kim Pham, co-founder of Omsom :)

How did you start Omsom, your company bringing Asian flavors to the kitchen?

As first-generation Vietnamese-Americans and daughters of refugees, food is not just a love language for us, it’s a way for us to re-engage with our identities as WOC and “third culture.” My sister and co-founder Vanessa and I have long wanted to start a business together - we’re best friends. Growing up, we never felt represented by the “ethnic” aisle in mainstream grocery stores (why do they even still exist?!) - so we wanted to build a company that reclaims and celebrates the multitudes in Asian flavors and stories.

Vanessa and I launched the business in May 2020 on this mission and it’s been bonkers ever since. We’ve sold out 11x (the first time within 72 hours!), launched inbound partnerships with household names like Instant Pot and Disney, and have built from the ground up this incredible digital community of folks who ride for Asian communities + issues. It’s the greatest privilege.

We partner with iconic Asian chefs to craft our products, which we call starters (essentially pantry shortcuts with all the aromatics, spices, and seasonings needed to cook a specific Asian dish). These starters provide the foundation for home cooks with a level of cultural integrity that has been, disappointingly, hard to achieve until now. Omsom has your back on flavor, but also leaves room for flexibility and creativity – you bring your own protein, vegetables, and starches to the party. We want to celebrate these flavors, but also empower folks to actively engage with them.

What's your favorite part about the New York creative community?

The sheer number of weirdos here. I’m obsessed with all the unique ways that the creatives here approach the world. It’s been beyond inspiring to learn from and alongside creatives who work in wildly different industries than me. Even if their work isn’t “directly applicable” to mine, there is something for me to learn about their approach, their mediums, and the way their work comes together.

What's inspiring you right now?

I’m deeply inspired by the kink and BDSM communities. There is really incredible art and community being made “in the shadows,” and I love how folks are finding community, solidarity, and joy through the innately human joy that is play and pleasure. Lots for me to learn from as a queer, sex-positive WOC navigating a world not made for her.

Follow along:

Omsom: @omsom
Kim: @kim_tpham
Vanessa: @vanessatpham

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Made in Brooklyn, NY