Sharing gift and smiles

“We’re very proud of all our products. We never say: ‘Please buy because it’s charity.’ We say: ‘Buy because you like what we’re doing, what we’re designing.’” So says Lily Pham of her stylish Vietnam-inspired notebooks, bags and travel accessories. Immigrating to the US at the age of 11, Lily founded Viet Artisans as a way to give something back to the country of her birth. “I’ve seen my parents’ generation – very talented, creative people – but because of the war, they couldn’t make anything of themselves.

Viet-artisans copy

I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse, but I feel I owe Vietnam something. Until I do something, build something that can contribute towards its growth, I feel my life is incomplete.”

So began Viet Artisans, a social enterprise employing rural and disadvantaged women in Vinh Long where the craft center was built on Lily’s grandmother’s land. Armed with a double degree in Statistics and Legal Studies, Lily came back to Vietnam first working for an anti-trafficking NGO and then as a consultant for the UN. But her goal was always job creation, giving people a way out, instead of merely providing charity.

Viet artisans

“In the Mekong Delta, typical jobs might be construction worker, fruit picker, doing odd jobs,” explains Lily. “The worse thing about that is they are unable to plan for the future. Everything is a dream, not a plan. People might say things like: ‘I wish my kid could finish school,’ but that’s still not a plan. If something unfortunate happens, people just have to accept it. With us, they earn a decent salary, we pay for health insurance, some of their children receive scholarships, and they receive training,” Lily says of the 11 people employed by Viet Artisans who spend their days sewing, silk screening, making tote bags and binding notebooks.

Viet-Artisans copy 2

“Books are a great platform,” she says. “The covers are blank so there’s room for unlimited creativity.” The books themselves are saddle or stab stitched, a time-consuming but traditional way of binding books by sewing the paper signatures together. Lily and her team of designers draw inspiration for the covers from traditional Vietnamese elements: lotus flowers, bronze drums, vintage maps, and gives them a clean, updated look. The Viet Artisans line also includes greeting cards, travel gear, purses and eco-friendly fabric bags.

Viet Artisans 2

The bulk of their sales, though, come from corporate gifts, some featuring custom designs. For example, for the 20th anniversary of The Landmark, Lily designed an image of the Saigon River, starting out as rural and gradually building up with The Landmark highlighted on the Saigon skyline.“If customers like a gift, they’re going to use it all the time and that’s very subtle brand building, a priceless endorsement, really.”


In addition to being unique gifts, Lily wants Viet Artisan products to bring a smile to the face of the receiver, whether
it’s the joy of receiving a hand-written card in the mail or unwrapping the customized packaging with names like “Cool and Crazy”, “Happy Go Lucky” or the “Thinker.” “There’s a message of ‘you’re so awesome. I’ve learned so much from you. You mean so much to me’,” says Lily with a smile as broad as the Mekong itself.

Select Viet Artisan products are carried at Gingko, Artbook and the A O Show. Its full range of products is available at with free delivery to the Nikko, Novotel and other hotels in D1. “Like” VietArtisans on Facebook for notification on full day tours to the crafts center which include workshops on silk screening, calligraphy and embroidery, boat rides and lunch. Visitors also keep the gifts they make as a momento.

Oi pick

Linen book


Linen-covered hand-stitched notebook silksreen with a traditional bronze drum (USD 11.43). used in battles to inspire warriors to fight to the very end, the bronze drum speaks of a sense of community where people work together to achieve greatness.



Share this story, choose your platform!

About the author:

Leave a Comment

The Rise of Niche Dating Apps Catering toSpecific Interests in 2024

The projected reach of the global online dating app market, estimated at $14.42 billion by 2030, marks a substantial growth trend with a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 7.6% from 2023 to 2030. This growth is a testament to the changing preferences of users, who are now looking for more intentional and meaningful connections. With

Read More »

When To Take The Services Of A Blocked Drain Repair Service?

A blocked drain can be a nightmare. Not only is it inconvenient and messy, but it can also damage your plumbing system if left unresolved. Knowing when to call for professional drain repair services versus trying to unclog the drain yourself can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run. Here are some

Read More »

Saving Money With Affordable And Cheap Skip Bin Hire

Home renovations, office revamps, store clear-outs or warehouse cleanups inevitably generate loads of debris. Renting a skip bin provides a convenient method for disposing of high volumes of waste without blowing the budget. Follow these insider tips for scoring an affordable and  cheap skip bin hire like Aot Skip Bins to handle your rubbish removal

Read More »

Key Considerations When Hiring A Mezzanine Floor Builder

Gaining extra functional space and valuable storage capacity inside existing commercial or residential buildings often gets explored as operations scale up over time yet site acreage remains finite. While lateral expansions prove extremely expensive due to land scarcity and construction complexity, heightening ceilings to add intermediate mezzanine levels allows maximising vertical room creatively minus major

Read More »

Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Granny Flat Builder

Installing a granny flat or secondary dwelling on your property can add valuable living space for family or rental income. Hiring an experienced granny flat builder like Granny Flat Solutions is key, but not all builders are equal. Asking the right questions upfront ensures you choose the best construction team. Here are twelve essential questions

Read More »

Why You Should Hire A New Home Builder For Your New House

Building a dream home from the ground up seems like a pinnacle of achievement. And while a DIY approach may appear economical on the surface, orchestrating a major new home construction solo proves immensely challenging for most. Hiring an experienced new home builder like Vision Homes ultimately saves money, stress, and headaches in the long

Read More »