Waste not want not as carver up-cycles offcuts to preserve forests, boost income
The Joy Wooden Handicraft Factory is one of many factories in Vientiane to see the importance of using wood that might otherwise go to waste to preserve forest resources, support business expansion and employee livelihoods.
A carver at work.
Factory owner Ms Phetsamone Neuangkongmany always deplores the waste of valuable wood and tree roots whenever she sees such treasure left to rot away in rice fields or forests after timber felling.
The efforts of herself and her team see this valuable yet otherwise wasted resource take on the likeness of Buddha, human and animal figures.
Her business has increasingly helped her customers and suppliers realise that many waste woods can be transformed into money with the right combination of technique, experience, dedication and a gentle touch.
She initially began this wooden handicraft business in 2009 as a family concern.
Understanding the importance of managing wood resources sustainably to support the government's policy on preserving forest, Ms Phetsamone always buys wood off-cuts including tree roots wherever she can find.
“Using waste wood is one of many ways to sustain the number of trees in forests,” she said.
All products made by her factory must achieve quality standards and reasonable prices to create satisfaction for customers as much as possible.
To achieve this commitment, the Joy Wooden Handicraft Factory collects waste wood from other factories and from members of the general public who have cleared their own land to build houses or factories.
Sometimes, she notices waste wood dumped in rice fields, approaching owners for permission to purchase.
Yet as her name has become increasingly known, more members of the public are contacting her to inspect waste wood at various sites.
Sometimes, they bring this waste wood to sell at Joy's factory at Salakham village, Hadxaifong district.
All waste wood sent to the factory will be treated by professional carvers.
Sculptures will be undertaken depending on the size and suitability of the raw material.
In addition to Buddha images, other popular items include carvings of elephants, buffalos, lions and deer.
She also makes carved tissue boxes, tables and chairs.
After carving, lacquer will be painted on to add to the beauty of all pieces.
Today, there are more than 100 types of items produced by the Joy Wooden Handicraft Factory, up from only 20 types when she began the business some eight years ago.
The cost range of these items starts from 10,000kip to more than 4 million kip depending on the size, design and pattern.
Most carving products are sold in Laos, with most of the remainder exported to China and Thailand.
She usually participates in furniture fairs whenever involved authorities organise such in order to promote carving items in Laos.
To expand market of her carving products, Ms Phetsamone has already attended furniture fairs in China and Thailand.
In addition, some regular vendors bring carving items from Ms Phetsamone's factory to sell at Talat Sao Mall, airport and tourist sites.
This is also a way to increase gross sale of the items of her factory.
An increase in gross sales helps her generate more income and lift her family's living standard year by year.
Ms Phetsamone's factory can also provide various carving items depending on customer's order.
Carvers at her factory also provide a live service at your home if you would like to see a large root transform into a unique and spectacular centerpiece or heirloom for posterity.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 19, 2017)