Bobi Craft was born from the love of handmade and the dream of introducing Vietnamese products to the world.
Thuy Nguyen founded the Ho Chi Minh City-based company with the mission of creating more jobs for disadvantaged people, including women, farmers, and the visually impaired. Bobi Craft now provides stable jobs for more than 450 people, crafting handmade children’s products from organic materials.
Nguyen’s global success started with trade shows. After positive feedback from international exhibitions, she officially took the business online with a website. Shows in Japan, Korea, England, and Germany ignited Bobi Craft’s path toward wholesale exports.
Today, as a market leader in exporting wool craft, Bobi Craft distributes premium hand-crocheted children’s toys and accessories worldwide, with a majority of the shipments going to the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Japan and Singapore.
Before the pandemic, international sales comprised more than 60% of Bobi Craft’s sales.
“When COVID first hit, many of our wholesale customers went bankrupt, so we lost those payments,” shared Nguyen.
Over the last year, the team has dedicated more time and resources to developing their digital presence, improving SEO and focusing on finding new customers.
Although the closure of borders, shifts in spending habits and overall uncertainty impacted the business’s profits, the Bobi Craft team continued working, now with a heavier reliance on digital avenues. Without exhibitions, Nguyen pivoted to online platforms to find new customers.
“We are using more digital tools than ever because the computer is now the only way to reach people. We’ve automated all of our systems for our employees and we now go directly to potential customers through their websites or a business-to-business marketplace platform.”
Despite the many challenges of the pandemic, Nguyen used this opportunity to increase the resilience of Bobi Craft using digital tools to replicate business strategies that would have traditionally been in person.
Nguyen suggested that digital trade agreements and capacity-building programs could benefit small businesses like hers. “I think we need to see support for what businesses are doing. Education would be the first step–businesses and employees need training on how to use tools digitally,” Nguyen said. “I also think we need to see something more tangible. There needs to be skills trainings and then, success stories of businesses that have done it.”