Shoemaker Thai Van Anh Hung says his father had foreseen that the traditional trade of making wooden clogs, which had lasted for more than 100 years in Binh Duong Province’s Binh Nham village, was doomed to extinction, and had been proven right in the eighties.
More than half the workshop owners in Binh Nham had to give up their work, and Hung’s father Thai Van Siem was one of them. Siem wanted his son to enter the medical university and have a better future, but the trade ran too deep in the family. “Ba Than workshop bore all the expectations of my family and the art of making clogs was transfused into my blood”, says Hung. “I was determined to resuscitate the business.”
To revitalise a village trade and continue the business he inherited from his father, Hung took over his family’s workshop in 1995. The 46-year-old entrepreneur has since expanded the workshop and become an exporter, but the path was not easy. Hung used the new models and expended his creativity in designing new clogs, and did not compromise on quality, choosing only the right kind of wood, like that of pine and jackfruit, to create durable products. He consolidated the product by protecting the wood from fungi.
The key to his company’s success has been regular innovation in design, like having the clogs’ straps made of various kinds of cloth or attached with glass — beads.
Image via garciabraham