Meet Minh, My, Cung, Pai, Dung, May and Phuong, a team of 7 ambitious young Hmong girls from Vietnam owners of a macramé business called Hmoob. The Hmoob gals are not only entrepreneurs but they are also students in Hanoi, the majority of them attending Hanoi University, considered one of the best universities in the country.
We met with them at a beautiful coffee shop located in Hanoi to discuss their business as well as their dreams and aspirations.
WC: How did you guys start Hmoob?
HT: We were having dinner one day at Minh’s house and the conversation came up of a business we could run part time to help support our financial needs and help bring awareness about the Hmong culture. And so the idea of making macramé wall hangers was born, most of us learned this technique from our mothers and grandmothers.
WC: Can you tell us a bit about your culture?
HT: Most of us are from Hmong Ethnic Minority, one of over 50 ethnic minority groups living in Vietnam. We were raised in different provinces located in Northern Vietnam. Hmong people appreciate handmade items and it’s tradition for grandmothers and mothers to pass down these techniques to the younger women in our villages. However, nowadays many young girls have to leave their villages to work or study in the big cities and they miss the chance to continue these traditions.
WC: What is your main goal with this business?
HT: Since we are not from Hanoi we have to cover all of our housing expenses on our own and so any money we make through this business is helping us continue our college studies. Additionally, we want to showcase our culture through our products. We hope people from other countries come to learn and appreciate the Hmong culture when they buy our products. Each product is handmade with love and dedication and we hope it provides positive energy, peace and prosperity to those who buy them.
WC: Can you tell us some of the challenges you’ve encountered running Hmoob?
HT: One of the biggest challenges is that we have limited access to materials and space. For example, we would like to buy threads of different colors but we can only find one color here in the city, white. Regarding space, we currently hold our weekly meetings and workshops at coffee shops, so in the future we would like to have our own store front which would also make it easier for customers to visit and buy our products. We also want to cater to foreigners living in Hanoi but our English skills are limited. However, we are working on it and are planning to take English classes to help improve our skills.
WC: How do you sell the products currently?
HW: We are doing it through social media. We have a Facebook page and an Instagram account. Most of our orders come from our followers and our friends.
WC: Where do you see Hmoob in the upcoming years?
HT: We would like to have our own store in Hanoi where we could have regular workshops to teach people how to make their own designs. This is from our desire to spread our Hmong traditions to a wider audience and preserve them as well. We are also planning to make other products such as wallets and handbags using other techniques such as “brocade” which the Hmong people are well known for.
Here at the World’s Corner we are so happy to have formed this partnership with the Hmoob team, a group of inspirational, hardworking women who are changing the world one “Peace Catcher” at a time!
If you are interested in buying their products worldwide visit our page at http://www.theworldscorner.com and if you’re in Vietnam feel free contact the Hmoob team directly via their FB page @hmoobpeace.
* Photos courtesy of the Hmoob team