As with everything worth having in life, Silkwood Traders started with a wish. A desire to create and develop a business based on sourcing beautiful objects made with care, attention to detail and steeped in centuries-old traditions and skills. And, at the same time, build a business based on strong moral and ethicial principles*.
Way back in 2004 (hard to believe it’s now 16 years later!), Silkwood Traders began life whilst we were en route back to the UK from a holiday in New Zealand where John is from. We stopped off in Vietnam, to give Joceline the opportunity to visit her father’s homeland. We both instantly fell in love with the vibrant culture, the positive attitude, the friendly welcome and the amazing colours, quality and textures of so many beautiful handicrafts, many of them based on traditions handed down over centuries.
We started small with shows local to Joceline’s home town of Brighton, and expanded to shows such as BBC Good Food Show, Grand Designs Live, the Ideal Home Show and eventually decided to focus mainly on Christmas markets and on-line.
We work closely with designers and makers in Vietnam and feel very privileged and honoured to be able to showcase the talents of so many talented craftspeople. Due to our close relationship with our Vietnamese partners we are able to offer the most competitive prices and ensure that everyone can own a piece of Vietnam’s rich heritage.
We choose our products because we love them and would want them in our own home. We’ve kept the business small so there’s just the two of us, but that means you get personal attention and excellent customer service. At Christmas, if you visit one of our chalets, you’ll meet some of our temporary staff that we employ each year. We are so proud to be able to offer employment to people local to the area and we love working with them.
We hope you enjoy looking at our stunning range of lacquered wood products and when you come to buy, you can be assured of excellent customer service, your parcels shipped and packaged with care and a lovely piece of Vietnam to call your own.
Jos and John (and Trixie the dog!)
Fair – ly Traded
*All the lacquerware sold by Silkwood Traders comes from one supplier in south Vietnam. The products are made by skilled craftspeople who work in their own villages alongside their own family members and community members who are also engaged in different aspects of the manufacturing process. All the workers receive a fare wage and work in small family groups. There is no factory as such as everyone works in small open air workshops.
All workers have access to healthcare, additional training if required and all the local children receive full schooling. No children are involved in the manufacturing process.
All the workers are encouraged to get involved in the running of the company and their feedback on product development, new patterns is actively welcomed by the owners of the company.
We visit the village on a regular basis and also visit the workshops where the products are made. We have personally satisfied ourselves that the workers are working in suitable conditions and receiving a fair wage for the work they do. As a communist country, Vietnam actually has some very stringent labour laws.
We have not applied for formal Fair Trade certification as this process costs money and we would rather pay better rates to the workers and help them keep their prices competitive.