Hej hej, I am Trang Tran, founder of Vindigo. I am a Vietnamese and have been living in Stockholm, Sweden, for a couple of years. I am a Software Developer.
The idea of Vindigo came to me in 2020 when I together with my Swedish friends took a trip to Ha Giang, a mountainous province in Northwest Vietnam. One of our stops was at a craft village of H’mong people where they sold handmade tribal fabric products from hemp.
As a Vietnamese, I grew up seeing different tribal costumes, but rarely paid attention to them. However, that day at the H’mong village, I saw my Swedish friends so passionate about the pillowcases, the table runners, the bags made by the local artisans. They discussed with each other which colors would be nice for Easter or for Christmas or which items they could use in their country houses. One man even said “Wow, I wish I could bring this store to Sweden. Exotic but still elegant, these things are so pretty!”.
That sentence caught my attention. I thought there must be something special in these tribal designs that made my friends like them that much.
Also at the village, we witnessed how the fabrics were made from newly harvested hemp plant; how people there weaved the fiber with simple tools, or how they used beeswax to draw the patterns… Everything is manual. So much work and effort, and at the same time, a lot of skills and talents involved. All artisans there were women and the oldest one was already 82 years old.
Inside the workshop of the H'mong craft village in Ha Giang
I also realized that the younger generation were leaving the village to pursue different careers in cities. Over time, there are fewer and fewer people knowing how to make good hemp fabrics or create beautiful embroidery. “If not maintained, these skills will soon become scarce and may disappear”, I thought.
Back to Sweden, the idea of bringing over those H’mong products lingered in my mind, but I was not sure I could do it. During that period, whenever I looked at the pillowcases that I bought from Ha Giang, I always found them beautiful and that idea continued popping up.
Then the Covid pandemic happened. I could not visit home for 2,5 years. I guess subconsciously the need to be connected back to my root encouraged me to take action. I started contacting the craft village in Ha Giang and importing the first items from their workshop.
To test the idea, I participated in some market fairs to see how people reacted to the products and was happy with the feedback I got. Vindigo was gradually coming into existence. I am virtually "bringing that store to Sweden"!
I hope by making these beautiful tribal fabrics accessible to more people in Sweden and other countries in Europe, Vindigo can contribute to the conservation of the skills and talents of the artisans, and in the end, improve the income of anyone involved in the creation process of these products.
A photo of me in a H'mong skirt taken at an ancient house in Ha Giang
To discover the story Behind our logo, click here