Bobi Craft’s mission is to empower women and create jobs for disadvantaged people while creating unique handmade children’s products out of yarn. Founded in 2011 in Ho Chi Minh City, the company now employs 450 people – many of whom work from home.
Thuy Nguyen, Director of Sales and Marketing for Bobi Craft highlights that 98 percent of those workers are female, including a number of housewives who are able to provide for their families thanks to the web-based nature of the company.
The concept came about while Nguyen was living in London, but the businesses weren’t fully up and running until 2013 when she returned to Vietnam. “We had some connection to children’s shops [in London] so we had an idea of their expectations,” Nguyen said. She added, “It was easiest for us to start selling in the U.K. and then we expanded into Europe and other countries.”
Today, Bobi Craft exports to over 10 countries including the United States, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. International markets represent 60 percent of their business and the United States, and Europe are the company’s largest export markets. “We sort of did it in reverse – we exported first and then came back to the local market, where we are trying to expand now,” Nguyen noted.
While Bobi Craft still receives most of its revenue from business-to-business sales, the company is beginning to focus more their attention on the direct-to-consumer portion of their business. Customers can now purchase the handmade children’s toys from Bobi Craft’s website, and the company is exploring leveraging other e-commerce platforms in the near future. Digital tools and platforms, like payments services PayPal and blockchain-based Veem, Facebook and UPS, make it easy for the Bobi Craft team to reach and serve customers worldwide, while tools like Dropbox and Google Drive help them run their business on a global basis.
Nguyen advises other entrepreneurs that are thinking about taking their business global to “listen to your heart, do what makes you happy and don’t quit too easily.”