Craft Link, linking up Vietnamese artisans

Vietnam witnessed remarkable economic development at the beginning of the 1980s thanks to the country opening itself up to international markets. However, a large part of the Vietnamese population has not benefited from this success, notably the artisans who often live in rural communities, outside of the country’s more active regions.
Craft Link is a non governmental organisation founded in 1996 by eight young, enthusiastic Vietnemese people, who were interested in the production and the sale of craft works as a means of generating revenue for the country’s poorest or most marginalized populations.
Based in Hanoi, the association thus supports the craft cooperatives of a number of Vietnamese ethnic minorities throughout the country. It also encourages certain workshops based in villages that work with silk or rattan in an original and creative manner and it offers disabled people training in crochet and sewing.
Craft Link strives to help the development of these workshops, artisans and communities, by ordering textile products which will then be resold in their network of shops, but also by acting as the intermediary between them and the distributors in Vietnam and abroad, with the primary aim of attaining fair remuneration for the artisans.
The members of Craft Link spend time in the communities, offering training on how to create new patterns, in marketing, accounting and quality control, so as to give the artisans the necessary means to get the best out of their textile products and to adapt to changes in the market.
The association has an input into the design of certain products, offering a more modern outlook, highlighting some finishing touches, but always respects the traditions involved in the embroidery, dying and weaving.
We can discover, thanks to Craft Link the wonderful diversity of Vietnam’s textile products, with designs from different rather unknown ethnic groups such as the Thai the Dao, the Muong the Lolos the Hmong Fleurs, the Hmong Indigo the Hmongs Blancs… these groups have managed to retain their traditions, their own collection of patters, colours and textile techniques. The sale of their work is a means of transmitting their values and ensuring revenues for their community.
Craft Link actively participates in showing a side of Vietnam which is multiculturally rich with exceptional craftsmanship.