While some international students struggle to meet even just a few Danes during their stay in Copenhagen, Tiffany Ng from San Francisco, USA, has managed to network her way into top fashion and entertainment circles.
But life for this full-degree student is not just a round of high-society cocktail parties.
Tiffany has found time to start her own dining and event business alongside full-time studies at the demanding elite Master’s programme in International Law, Economics and Management.
Horrified by high prices
With business savvy, she has just hosted an official Copenhagen fashion week event, combining high quality food, up and coming fashion designers, photographers and DJs.
A passionate foodie who dreams of attending culinary academy, Tiffany Ng was horrified by high prices at restaurants and cafés in Copenhagen when she arrived as an exchange student two years ago.
»Restaurants here are so expensive. I don’t care if it is a caesar salad made by Noma, it should never cost DKK 125,« she says, adding that variety is lacking too.
»When you go to cafés here, it is the same menu over and over: Burger, salad, entrecote, soup. It’s really standard,« she says.
Down to earth gourmet
In guerrilla dining, empty spaces such as a garage or a cultural centre are turned into a restaurant for a single event. Pop-up restaurants like this are a growing trend in big cities such as New York, London and Tiffany’s home town of San Francisco.
But the idea is new to Copenhagen with Tiffany’s company Silver.Spoon.
»I want to expose the Danish public and the Danish youth to good food. It should be accessible to anyone,« says Tiffany.
There is no dress code at Silver.Spoon events.
»I say to people: Just be as you are at a friend’s house. Have your manners about you but don’t be stiff and dressed in a ball gown or anything!«
Most recently, Tiffany Ng’s company Silver Spoon took over a 400-year old two-floor house to stage the fashion week event. Showcasing upcoming models, designers, photographers and DJ’s, Tiffany pulled off 5 courses for a mere DKK 225 including cocktails.
Combining full time studies and running a new business, particularly one that is so socially demanding, is not always an easy task.
Getting it all done is a matter of effective planning, explains Tiffany.
»Time management is really important. My time at undergraduate college taught me well. Everyone there is a varsity athlete, doing two or three sports and I was always working on projects there alongside my studies«.
‘Not hard work’
In the week before the Fashion week event alone, Tiffany sent over 1,000 text messages and admits that she occasionally sends business mails while she is at lectures.
She still has time to relax and have fun, despite the heavy workload.
»Luckily socialising is a large part of this business. Having the proper network and maintaining it is the most exciting part for me, and the most challenging for others,« she explains.
One shot game
»I know a combination of people from the Copenhagen night life. DJs and people from the entertainment industry, designers, models. It’s fun. Networking is not a hassle for me!«
And when something has to give in Tiffany’s life, she is happy to forego the luxury of sleep. Like a much younger version of iron lady Margaret Thatcher, she is still able to function, network and be charming on just three or four hours a night, when necessary.
Fitting studies in around business meetings and phone calls is a delicate balance.
»Sometimes I have held a study group at my apartment, where I have to leave them to it for an hour or so, while I go to a business meeting,« she says.
»The others say: ‘Hey, we have an exam’, but for me, I have three tries for an exam and just one for this business«.