Nam Vo was microdosing—which is when the celebrity makeup artist and content creator says she gets all of her best ideas—when she had an epiphany. She recalled hearing the jingle of the ice cream truck as a child, and the immense happiness she’d experience running outside to get a cool treat. “It created so much joy and was such a fun memory for me,” she says. What if she could recreate that experience for adults, she wondered. “I had this crazy idea of wouldn’t it be fun if there was an ice cream truck that makeup and skincare would fall out of it? Then I did some thinking.”
That’s how she came up with the idea for the Dewy Dumpling Delights truck. Essentially a food truck and beauty truck in one, Vo introduced it in New York City for the first time during fashion week of September 2022, and it was such a hit that she purchased her own truck and now it’s back a year later. Each time the truck hits the streets of New York City, she partners with one food company—last time it was bubble tea. With each food sale, customers get free samples of skincare and makeup products.
“I want to do something fun that’s a great experience; I want to give people fond memories,” Vo says. “I didn’t know what would happen, but on the first round we literally shut down Soho. We had five block-long lines as if they were waiting for Beyonce or something. It created community for these people that stood in line and got their first Rhode lip gloss or Summer Fridays. It is so much more special to them. And then brands got a lot of digital impressions. It brought me joy.”
As a long-time celebrity makeup artist—she’s painted the faces of Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Paris Hilton, Kylie Jenner and Chrissy Teigen, to name a few—Vo had already made a name for herself in the beauty world, but when she coined “dewy dumplings,” her trademark term for gorgeous, glowing skin, she catapulted into the stratosphere of beauty. “So basically, I came to the point in my career where everybody’s like, are you coming out with a product?” she says. “It would financially make sense for me. It’s just what people do. I like to do off brand things because I like to keep the public guessing. Everyone thinks I’m going to come out with a highlighter. But unless I could do something that’s groundbreaking, I’m not gonna give birth to a product just for a paycheck.”
Instead, Vo decided to make the next step in her career the Dewy Dumpling Delights truck. “Everybody’s making more and more unnecessary product,” she says. “We don’t need another hyaluronic acid. We don’t need another lipstick. We need human connection and we need experience, and nobody was creating experience. I learned that people want community.”
Aside from bringing joy, the Dewy Dumpling Delights truck is also an excellent marketing platform for both Vo and the brands she distributes from the truck. Some days are dedicated to an exclusive brand takeover while others have multiple brands. For her second session, lasting four consecutive days starting on September 21, she’ll be doling out products from a range of brands around New York City. This time, Saigon Social, Vietnamese comfort food, will be the food partner, which is also a nod to Vo’s Vietnamese heritage. She prefers to keep the beauty brands a surprise, but in the past she’s shared products from Rhode, Oribe, Summer Fridays, Hourglass, Matter of Fact, Peach & Lily and Riki Loves Riki, among others. Don’t expect travel sizes or minis—Vo gives full-size products. “I always say the experience is like dreams and wishes,” she says.
To avoid mayhem in the city, Vo posts the location of the Dewy Dumpling Delights truck two hours in advance on the day of the event. “You have to wait on Instagram and chase it, which makes it even more fun,” she says. “You don’t know what surprises are going to come out of the truck. My friends actually call me beauty Santa.”
Eventually, Vo hopes to bring the Dewy Dumpling Delights truck to the streets of New York City three times a year, and later expand to other cities. In the future, she even dreams of having a Dewy Dumpling café, with beanbag chairs and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling that look like dumplings. “I don’t know what the truck will evolve into, but I know that it’s fun and we need to do something for the people,” she says. “No one is doing anything for regular people. I felt like all focus was going to influencers—everything was for influencers—but nobody was thinking about regular beauty lovers.”
Vo has already experienced the joy that the Dewy Dumpling Delights truck has spread. One night she went to Pastis and the wait was two hours long, but the hostess recognized her and helped her get a table. “She was like, ‘I’m a Dewy Dumpling; I came to your truck,’” Vo says. “She said, ‘I went to the truck every day. When the truck happened, I had just started NYU and I had only been in New York for two weeks.’ She said that’s how she made friends, just standing in line for hours.”
Ultimately, it’s that human connection that the Dewy Dumpling Delights truck brings that’s the best part for Vo. “I want to continue to push for human connection in any way that I can because I think this world is really lonely,” she says. “There’s not enough community and human experience. The truck is something a little bit different. I walk away not thinking about sales. I walk away knowing that I make people happy, and it makes me happy.”