"Foreign customers are willing to buy Vietnamese brocade products at a reasonable price. Therefore, now is a great opportunity for refined Vietnamese handicrafts", said Ms. Le Thi Tham, Director of Truc Lam Handicraft Company.
Refined Vietnamese handmade products will always have a place in the market.
- What brought you to the handicraft business?
In 1997, I opened a souvenir and brocade shop in the old quarters of Hanoi. During those years, tourists were very interested in products handmade by Vietnamese ethnic minorities, so the handicrafts sold well. After a favorable business period, in 2000, I decided to both sell and produce under the name VNMelody. At the time, I opened workshops and built satellite production groups in traditional craft villages.
Thanks to the excellent quality of our products, we are entrusted by many foreign customers. Gradually, we were able to export orders to the UK, Canada, Singapore, etc. Consequently, Truc Lam Company was founded to carry out its mission with cherished goals and new directions.
Besides making handicrafts based on foreign customers' suggestions, we also offer a range of original products such as embroidered, brocade products, and toys made with traditional materials - all available throughout our souvenir chains.
H'Mong ethnic people, one of Truc Lam's satellite production groups, paint traditional beeswax designs on brocade. (Pa Co commune, Mai Chau, Hoa Binh)
- How do you evaluate the market potential for traditional Vietnamese handicrafts?
Many people think it is challenging for traditional Vietnamese products to compete with imported goods from other countries, both in price and design. However, with more than 20 years of experience in the profession, I can confidently say that Vietnamese handmade goods are in a class of their own and will always have a special place in the market.
In addition, our company is one of the vendors chosen by the US Embassy's Community Liaison Office to participate in the embassy's annual events in Hanoi. When visiting Truc Lam's booth, many foreign customers were amazed by our production process, from linen weaving to indigo dyeing and beeswax painting. As a result, they are willing to buy these refined Vietnamese brocade products at a reasonable price. Moreover, the modern trend is leaning towards using products derived from nature and friendly to the environment. Thus, this is a great opportunity for Vietnamese handmade products.
- In your opinion, what do we need to do to preserve and maintain traditional craft villages during this wave of urbanization?
Currently, when industrial sites are expanding to small provinces, we see a tendency among young people to transition into becoming factory workers to earn a stable income. Hence, to preserve and innovate the traditional craft industry, we must create good jobs with fair wages to encourage our craftsmen to stay with this profession.
The advantage of traditional craft villages is that workers can take advantage of their leisure time and still care for their farm works and their families. In addition, men in the countryside who have a part-time job helping their wives with traditional crafts will tend to get less involved in social miscellaneous.
Ms. Le Thi Tham at Truc Lam Handmade's booth at the US Embassy's annual event.
- In your opinion, what are the main challenges in developing traditional Vietnamese products?
Traditional handcrafts have many quintessential features. However, if the craft is not professionally designed and the production stages are not strictly controlled, the product cannot sell. The marketing strategy towards foreign customers is also a critical stage. Introducing the unique features of Vietnamese handicrafts to the international market is complicated and requires a lot of effort, time, and money. These are two inherent weaknesses that I think we need to overcome in the future.
Foreign visitors are interested in discovering original Vietnamese handicraft products.
- Can you share your plans to develop Truc Lam in the near future?
I have always loved and wanted to be deeply attached to this profession. Therefore, for many years now, I have always consciously collected traditional utensils and products by ethnic people in regional and local craft villages.
In the near future, Truc Lam plans to cooperate with partners sharing our ideas and aspirations. We want to open culturally rustic and intimate showrooms to help promote Vietnamese handicraft products to future customers. We hope to develop Truc Lam into a brand of Vietnamese handicrafts and not just merely outsourcing to foreign countries.
Personally, I want to share with our customers the stories of craft villages and the cultural heritage behind each product. By doing so, we hope that traditional Vietnamese artisans will be proud and further motivated to work in traditional crafts when they see their products gain a global presence.
- Thank you very much!
Souce: Tran Phong - Vietnamnet.vn