SaobanHandicrafts

Village handicrafts from the heart of Laos

Vientiane, Laos · 4 Sales

SaobanHandicrafts

Village handicrafts from the heart of Laos

Vientiane, Laos 4 Sales On Etsy since 2016

5 out of 5 stars
(3)

Announcement   We specialize in 100% handcrafted products made with eco-friendly organic materials from the fields and forests of Laos. Our products range from beautifully designed cotton, silk, hemp shawls, scarves, fabric, and home wares. All handmade products are designed and made by me and my team who are village artisans. We aspire to promote the value of our culture and heritage, preserve our hand-woven traditions, and showcase the skills and wisdom of our artisans in the community.

We accept customised and wholesale orders. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions.

Announcement

Last updated on Jul 6, 2016

We specialize in 100% handcrafted products made with eco-friendly organic materials from the fields and forests of Laos. Our products range from beautifully designed cotton, silk, hemp shawls, scarves, fabric, and home wares. All handmade products are designed and made by me and my team who are village artisans. We aspire to promote the value of our culture and heritage, preserve our hand-woven traditions, and showcase the skills and wisdom of our artisans in the community.

We accept customised and wholesale orders. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions.

Somchit Phankham

Contact shop owner

Somchit Phankham

Reviews

Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
(3)
Ruth Barker

Ruth Barker on Mar 21, 2018

5 out of 5 stars

Just lovely, beautiful colours and (after a gentle hand wash) extremely soft. I would recommend and I shall be back to buy more. Ruth

jlahlen

jlahlen on Dec 27, 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Great custom order - they had just what I wanted. Great service and quick shipping. Rings are beautiful. Don't hesistate to contact store owner to see what they have available in stock.

Astra Bergmane

Astra Bergmane on Sep 26, 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Awesome scarf - marvellous, elegant colour; exquisite workmanship - I'm more than happy with it. And good communication, kind service - thank you, thank you!

About

From nature to handmade items – preserving Lao indigenous tradition and knowledge

I grew up listening to the sound of my grandmother’s (Grandma Chum) weaving loom. I was fascinated by the way the shuttle flew back and forth and how her nimble fingers made the intricate patterns appear on the woven cloth like magic. I was also intrigued by how she would use different leaves, flowers, roots, seeds, insect resin, and even mud, to make the dyes to dye the yarn into so many colors. Whenever she hung out the colored yarn to dry in the sun, it was like seeing a colourful butterfly gently flapping its wings.

My grandmother and all the women in our village hand wove and hand sewed everything we used at home – cotton blankets, cotton bed covers, curtains, silk wraps, and silk “xinns” (Lao skirts). Weaving was all I knew when I was young; it was my whole life, and it was the life of our whole community.

I left home to study in the city when I was twelve. I lived with my Uncle Sombath, and he provided me with the other major source of inspiration that defined my life’s path. My uncle had studied in the USA, but he came back to Laos to work on sustainable community development. I remembered when I was in school, I hardly saw my uncle; he was always working in the rural villages of Laos. When he was home, he talked about how important it was to get the rural poor to help themselves. He would say all the time, “Lao villagers are such skilled artisans; all they need are opportunities to use their indigenous knowledge and skills to improve their own lives”. That was why Uncle Sombath started his own development agency, PADETC (Participatory Development and Training Center) to train rural men and women to improve their lives (http://www.padetc.org/about-us/our-founder/).

Uncle Sombath wanted to create employment opportunities for rural women to earn an income for their families. That was why he started Saoban Handcrafts as a Fair Trade Social Enterprise to work with women artisan groups across Laos to promote Laos handcrafts and to market them to local and international buyers (http://www.saobancrafts.com).

In 2012, I became involved with Saoban Handcrafts. Driven by my passion for weaving inherited from Grandma Chum, and inspired by Uncle Sombath’s vision to develop the rural poor, I became Saoban Handcrafts chief artist and designer. Working tirelessly with different women artisanal groups, I boldly experimented with using a mixture of local yarns – cotton, silk, hemp, and mulberry paper – dyed in a new palette of natural colors to give a modern and fun twist to my products, without compromising on traditional techniques.

Now after more than four years, I am ready to launch my own Etsy Saoban Shop. I am so proud and excited that I can at last showcase a range of my beautifully handmade products.

When you buy a product from me, you can be sure that it's 100% handmade and eco-friendly. Your purchase will also help preserve the long history and tradition of my culture of Lao handwoven textiles made from indigenous and organic cotton and silk threads.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me :)

Thank you for visiting and hope you enjoy my shop!

Shop members

  • Somchit Phankham

    Co-founder, Designer, Owner

    I love the textures and colors of our handwoven products, and I value the talent of my ancestors in applying their indigenous wisdom of working with natural materials found in our forests and fields in such a beautiful and harmonious manner.

  • Shuimeng Ng

    Co-founder, Director

    A community development and gender specialist who works with Lao women artisan groups across the country to improve their value chain and Lao handcrafts by seeking out export markets for Saoban.

  • Sang

    Creator, Designer

    Specializes in all weaving processes starting from the making of the silk yarn, to hand dyeing of the yarn in natural colors, and the weaving of the fabrics, scarves and shawls.

  • Joy

    Creator, Designer

    An expert in cotton handmade products. All the cotton handmade products are hand-dyed, hand-spun and hand-woven by Joy using the cotton she grew in her own fields, and dyed in the natural indigo dyes made from “kharm” leaves from her own garden.

  • Sam Pike

    Marketer, Customer Relations

    A long-time resident of Laos and former PADETC employee who supports the Saoban team with marketing, systems, customer relations, design and creative packaging.

Shop policies