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Bamboo products provide sustainable source of income for Sangthong artisans

She takes a seat and slowly explains the background of the bamboo products that are popular among customers today in Vientiane.
For almost 10 years, Ms Bountom Hongvilay has been engaged in making bamboo handicrafts and furniture, helping her to understand the needs of customers over a period of time.
She says that her success did not happen in one day or one month. It has taken her a lot of effort and patience to produce good bamboo products since 2008, when she started her business.
It was not easy to penetrate the market for bamboo furniture and handicraft products when she started out, but Ms Bountom always thought of positive ways to promote her products. She tried to encourage artisans to produce patterns and styles according to the orders of customers.

Ms Bountom Hongvilay poses with her bamboo handicrafts and furniture.

Today, bamboo products made by the Sangthong district family group are well-known among customers in Vientiane. Almost 100 percent of her customers come from this area. The products have continuously been made with high standards and the number of customers is rising, and the Sangthong district bamboo products were recognised as a “One District One Product” in 2014.
This recognition directly helped to increase the gross sales of the products for Ms Bountom. Most customers like to buy products made by the Sangthong district family group because of their low cost.
The products may be cheap but they are of good quality, because they are only made from bamboo that is more than three years old.
This ensures the products are strong and look good. Importantly, before making any product, the bamboo stalks are boiled to prevent any bugs from developing inside.
If these products are not exposed to rain or sunlight, they can have a life of more than 10 years.
In addition, the quality of all finished products is checked by Ms Bountom before being they are distributed in the market.
Today, there are more than 100 different kinds of bamboo furniture and handicraft products. They include tables, chairs, wardrobes, lamp shades and other household items.
The price of the products range from 5,000 kip to three million kip, depending on the size, design and patterns.
“Even though making customers accept our products is not easy, if we work patiently, we can achieve the goal,” says Ms Bountom.
Today, there are 26 families working as permanent artisans producing bamboo furniture and handicraft products in the Sangthong family group. They come from the villages of Napor, Namieng, Naboua, Huayhang and Nahoypang.
The main raw materials, such as bamboo stalks, come from the gardens of the members of the group.
This is a sustainable model by which Ms Bountom and others in the village ensure their future livelihood. The cost of bamboo harvesting is cheaper than at other places and the bamboo reserve is a true treasure of the village.
Everyone has a duty to protect the bamboo by ensuring that the forest lives on indefinitely. 
“The bamboo reserve will not only keep the handmade bamboo products and furniture for the group alive, but will provide a sustainable source of income for artisans for generations to come,” Ms Bountom says.


By Times Reporters
(Latest Update October 14 , 2017 )

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