Established in 2013, Kym Viet started as a fine art workshop using fabric with the founders, operators and producers being people with disabilities. Made by hands of people with disabilities with manual methods, but the products still have high sophistication and diverse designs. Kym Viet stuffed animals are gifts for all ages, used as toys or decorations. Many souvenir products have modern shapes, integrate the logos of businesses, social-educational organisations very cleverly, and are not inferior to other crafts. With three facilities in Hanoi and the upcoming opening in Da Nang City, Kym Viet pursues the goal of improving the quality and value of products made by people with disabilities, so that customers will choose their products for their value, rather than out of compassion.
Most of Kym Viet’s "artisans" are women from the deaf community. Therefore, the main sound in the machining area is the sound of machines. Workers communicate with each other and with customers using sign language and gestures. Every stage from cutting fabric to assembling, stuffing, stitching, and decorating takes place quietly and meticulously.
In that silence, beautiful and meaningful gifts are created one after another, going to all parts of the country and abroad. Kym Viet stuffed animals have been selected to participate in many domestic and international exhibitions, the most recent being the World Expo 2020 Dubai (December 2021). Along with some other brands, Kym Viet contributes to promote the country and people of Vietnam.
Each beautiful gift, each needle, is the crystallisation of creativity and hard work, becoming the pride of the Kym Viet collective. Although heavily affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, this spring, Kym Viet’s skilful workers still have jobs, adequate salaries and bonuses to take care of themselves and their families. Joy sparkled and laughter in their eyes, even behind the mask.
Ha Thi Mai Hoa, an employee who has been with Kym Viet for seven years, shared (in sign language, with an interpreter): "Going back to work after a long time at home because of COVID-19, we are all very excited. Kym Viet is like a big family, where everyone shares their love, sadness and joy. I hope to be able to work here until I grow old." As for Nguyen Thi Hang (born in 2002, from the hometown of Hoa Binh), happiness also comes from the compliments and encouragements from customers, making the unlucky girl feel that a person born deaf like her can still do all kinds of work just like everyone else.
Upholding product quality and human values, Kym Viet’s production materials comply with the criteria of safety for users and environmental friendliness. Fabric sources include a diverse range of cotton, burlap, linen, and brocade, with priority given to domestically produced goods imported from traditional craft villages. The stuffed animals also contain Quang Binh beach sand, roasted rice, Tra My cinnamon (Quang Nam) and anise (Lang Son) to help give the product mould resistance and create a pleasant natural fragrance.
Recently, Kym Viet has launched a new product line of application bags with unique designs and identities, such as printing funny portraits of the owner, which has received positive feedback from customers. Whether it’s a decorative stuffed animal or a fashion bag, the products are all neat, eye-catching, and soulful, just like the brand’s motto "Products speak louder than words".
According to Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kym Viet Company Pham Viet Hoai, from 2020, Kym Viet welcomes many visitors to visit, drink coffee, buy souvenirs, and combine tours to visit Van Phuc silk village (Hanoi). Although this model was built during the stressful time of the COVID-19 epidemic, it has still been well received and shows potential for sustainable development. Some schools have offered to link up, while parents bring their children here to learn how to make crafts and familiarize themselves with sign language. When tourism recovers, Kym Viet is ready to connect with Hanoi discovery and experience tours.
When introducing the tiger mascot product on the occasion of the Year of the Tiger 2022, which has just won the second prize of the design competition at the Hanoi International Gift and Handicraft Fair 2021, Pham Viet Hoai was very proud and optimistic. As a person with mobility impairment and wheelchair mobility, he understands the difficulties and obstacles people with disabilities face when working and studying.
His wish, and that of the entire staff, is not only to create stable jobs for people with disabilities, but also to contribute to changing the community’s perception of people with disabilities; that they are not pitiable or a burden on society, and that they also have a desire to work and dedicate themselves with accepted products and services.
There are currently about 2.5 million deaf people in Vietnam, a potential labour force. Currently, Kym Viet is trying to transform the number of businesses, deploying the creation of intelligent translation applications (sign language to speech and vice versa) to remove barriers between the deaf and the community at large.
Hoai has the ambition to create a stuffed animal product that combines technology and interactivity to support English learners.
"Kym" in the word "sewing needle" by Vietnamese language, "Viet" in the name of the country of Vietnam, Kym Viet is not fussy or flowery, simply wishing to bring the quintessence of Vietnamese craftsmanship from a small community far and wide. From their hardworking hands and strong desire, they have overcome special circumstances to welcome the new spring with pride and hope.