Son Dong in Ha Tay province is a traditional crafts village reputed for religious wood carving handicrafts for sale in the local markets. With support from the Danida funded Business Sector Programme Support, (BSPS) they are now accessing markets in the west with modern products using the same traditional skills.
VN Design a company owned by Mr. Nguyen Chi Thanh, a successful architect from Hanoi with a passion for traditional crafts from Vietnam has been working on a pilot scale with 40 traditional crafts house holds. In his quest to reach the export markets, it was realised that external help was needed to overcome obstacles such as: poor and outdated designs; inconsistent quality; poor packaging and lack of export marketing efforts.
With the assistance of international designers, supported by the Global Competitiveness Facility under BSPS, VN Design has developed about 150 new designs and delivered to traditional crafts households along with the production detailing.
The new designs have been created based on customers’ modern needs while using the existing elements of traditional wood carving skills available in the villages. Crafts households have been trained to reach the export quality and have produced new samples under the supervision of VN Design for 21 potential customers in the United States, based on which regular supply contract have been signed.
VN Design’s model of an exporter working directly with 40 households (in the initial stage and expected to increase to several hundred households in the future) with them having increased availability of market need based products for export and the households in return getting more stable jobs and better income is likely to expand to several other areas in the former Ha Tay province with over 65,000 households engaged in the production of handicrafts employing approximately 175,000 people. The sector needs to create additional employment to over 5000 workers every year in order to absorb the young workforce joining the rural employment market.