THE SHARPEST SKILLZ.
Growing up in Alberta, Canada, Lindsay Jang, started bussing tables at 11 at a Chinese restaurant called Golden Captial.
Her whole family worked there. She learned the value of hard work early, but she didn't find her calling until years later. After dropping out of both art school and management school, she moved to New York, got a job at Nobu and finally felt at peace. That was 2004. She kept hustling. In 2009 her and business partner Matt Abergel, moved to Hong Kong. They kept honing their skills, both in love with prep of Japanese cooking and yakitori.
While Matt worked, Lindsay wrote the plan for Yardbird, their modern izakaya and yakitori restaurant. The created the space they wanted to go on Sundays. They created their dream. And the energy they put into Yardbird was immediately evidenced by the flocks who lined up outside to taste. Wait times were legendary. Within weeks they became one of Hong Kong's most-hyped restaurants. Hype hasn't slowed down.
At the end of last year, Yardbird spread its wings, migrating from Bridges Street to Wing Lok Street, adding lots of extra space. Yardbird is not her only venture.
Lindsay has impressively earned success across multiple verticals—the restaurant industry with Yardbird, Ronin, and Sunday’s Grocery, the media world with MISSBISH (a site for street wear media for girls/female driven platform), and fashion via the MISSBISH label.
Next up, Lindsay introduces Hong Kong favorite Yardbird to the West Coast with the opening of the Downtown L.A. restaurant, which will be named Birdyard, followed by the launch of MISSBISH’s Los Angeles office in 2019. Apparel available now at shopmissbish.com.
Woah LJ. We're so into it.
More from Lindsay below.
Name: Lindsay Jang
Instagram Handle: @lindsayjang
You started bussing tables at 11. So where do your drive and passion come from?
My parents taught me the meaning of work ethic at a very young age and I attribute all the opportunities I've had to the simple acts of keeping my head down and working hard.
You've said that Yardbird is your dream space. That you imagined and opened the spot you'd want to go on Sundays. Now that you live in that dream, what's it like?
It's more amazing than I ever could've imagined. It has evolved into a global community of wonderful people. I get to work with the best in the business day in and out. I couldn't be more excited for what's to come.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Dishonest, ego-driven people.
You changed the HK restaurant scene. But people are always adverse to change. (i.e. someone telling you that you'd never survive with a "no reservations" policy). How do you listen to the naysayers or those that don't agree with you and stick to your guns?
I don't listen. LOL.
What do you think is more important in business: the numbers or the gut decisions?
Initially your gut and then finding the balance between how you feel and what makes sense from a business perspective.
What are your biggest fears about running a business?
Growing to a size where I don't know my core team intimately.
What's something you'd like people to know about your job that they probably don’t?
It's all about your team. Nothing happens autonomously.
IYO-- How can we stay original when we are so saturated with other people's work?
Trust your instinct and be daring to try something different. Hire young talent and listen to them.
What about your career makes you feel the most complete?
The ability I have to help other people grow.
If you had to trade jobs with anyone else in the world, who would it be and why?
Oprah. She gets to inspire and nurture people every day while defining her own path and means to an end. She has conviction, talent, and a huge heart.
At what point in your career did you find the confidence to really take charge and become the woman you are today?
I think I've always been the person I am today, I've just been given more opportunities as I've gained more experience.
What's the best advice you've ever been given? Or your favorite piece of #realtalk?
Work with people smarter than you.
When you hit a big bump in the road, how do you find a new road or a detour?
I don't dwell on the mistake or failure. I just go into problem-solving or moving forward mode.
What song do you sing in the shower when you’ve had a bad day?
I have a terrible voice. Even I don't like to hear it. LOL.
We recommend singing and dancing throughout the day as a preventative measure to bad moods.