Craft Beauty

Motto: Bring happiness to other people and happiness will create happiness.


Profile of CONTIGO´s partner Craft Beauty

Hanoi to Göttingen (Source: Google Earth)



Bags and accessories made of different fabrics


Hanoi (district of Long Biên), Vietnam – distance to Europe: 8,600km

Founded in 2003


  • Hoai Nguyen studies marketing and business administration and volunteers at a rural development organisation from the U.S. during her studies. Her task is to prepare local artisans and their products for the international market
  • 2002: She changes from voluntary work to professional self-employment
  • 2003: Hoai Nguyen and her husband Diep establish Craft Beauty to support local artisans to market their products: focus on silk accessories, bags and garments; participation in trade fairs and first exports, at that time only few employees for quality control and packaging
  • 2004: Craft Beauty hires a sample maker in order to design own cuttings / patterns for workshops in rural areas: a small sewing workshop is set up in the private house of Hoai and Diep
  • 2005-2009: Craft Beauty becomes member of Fairtrade Federation in the U.S.A. (membership ends, as from 2009 on only American Fairtrade companies are allowed to become members)
  • 2006/2007: Purchase of a workshop building and construction of an own production site
  • 2009: Craft Beauty moves to a bigger production building in the neighbourhood, the former workshop is still used as an accommodation house for commuters
  • 2009-2017: Participation in international trade shows and establishment of an export customers base
  • 2010: CONTIGO meets Craft Beauty for the first time, since then annual orders and continuous product development
  • 2015: Cooperation with artisans of ethnical minorities in the provinces of Mai Chau and Nghe An
  • 2017: Second designer is hired
  • 2019: The CONTIGO e.V. finances the purchase of five modern sewing machines, which significantly improve the quality of their sewing work and increase productivity

Cooperation with CONTIGO since 2010

Craft Beauty1

Structure of the business

Number of employees:

  • 85 employees
    • 45 employees in the central workshop in Hanoi
      • 39 full-time, 6 part-time
      • Production, processing, packing: 26
      • Design, product development: 4
      • Quality control: 5
      • Administration, marketing, sales: 10
    • 40 employees outside the central workshop, in the provinces of Ha Tay, Hung Yen, Hai Phong

 Organisation of workforce / work environment: 

  • Main tasks at Craft Beauty internal workshop:
    • preparation of production (e.g. cutting of fabrics for external workshops)
    • production (complex sewing tasks)
    • quality control
    • packaging
    • administration, product development
  • CEO Diep and production manager Diu Tran
    • visit all production locations on a regular basis
    • accompany closely every single production step
    • train new staff
    • enforce quality standards
  • External producers
    • Groups (mainly 3-5 people, biggest group counts 15 people) and individuals (housewives, who combine work with child care and farming)
    • Groups produce for Craft Beauty only
    • Tasks: sewing, printing, embroidery, crocheting
    • Structure of small producer groups: 1 woman leads a group of 3-5 women, leader plans production steps, divides and allocates tasks, is responsible for quality (and therefore receives a bonus for good quality and meeting the delivery time)
    • Equipment:
      • bigger groups are fully equipped with cutting machines and sewing machines, they do not need prepared materials from Craft Beauty; they receive an advance payment in order to purchase the materials
      • smaller groups and individuals receive prepared material packages, expensive equipment like sewing machines can be leased from Craft Beauty (will be billed with future orders)
  • Weekly meetings with all employees (on Saturdays)
  • Regular meetings with leaders of small producer groups
  • Designs, salary, working conditions, business development, and productivity issues are discussed
  • Bimonthly meetings with team about optimising work processes, successes, difficulties, and business outlook of the company


  • Exports (80%) to the U.S.A., UK, France, Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, and Germany, Italy
  • Home market (20%)


  • To increase education and job opportunities for women and minority groups
  • To preserve and promote traditional crafts
  • To increase income
  • To establish new business relationships
  • To create new product lines

Special features

  • Focal point: creation of job opportunities for people with disadvantages and no school education
  • Outsourcing of small sewing tasks to small producer groups to provide income opportunities for rural women
  • Principle: work tasks should be arranged around child care
  • Housing with sleeping spaces, fridge, etc. available for women with a long commute (can be used for free), house is also used for women from villages when they visit for further training

Why does CONTIGO work with Craft Beauty: Product development with Craft Beauty has been very easy and successful from the first collection onwards.


Fairtrade classification

FTA PLUS = Fairtrade Approved PLUS


Fairtrade aspects

Craft Beauty5

Craft Beauty complies with the following Fairtrade Principles:

No child labour

No discrimination

No discrimination due to gender, disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political orientation, or infection with HIV

  • All women have the same opportunities, some women with disadvantages work in high positions.

Fair wages

  • Minimum wage in Hanoi: US$ 170/month
  • Wages at Craft Beauty: US$ 180-450/month, depending on responsibility
    • In the central workshop:
      • Office workers, manager, employees in the cutting and quality control receive fixed wage
      • Employees in production receive piece-rate wage
    • External employees receive piece-rate wage depending on orders and performance, piece rate is agreed on before order
  • Higher wages in case of overtime (100%)
  • Bonuses are paid for high performances
  • Annual wage adjustment, depending on the work performance and the rate of inflation, for example:
    • 2012: wages were increased dramatically to match the inflation rate of 20%
    • 2014-2016: bonus payments for best quality and compliance with completion deadline of orders

Craft Beauty16

Humane working conditions

Working hours:

  • 8 hours/day
  • 1 break (1 hour)
  • 6 days/week

Social benefits:

For the 45 employees who work in the central workshop in Hanoi:

  • Paid holidays (10 national holidays + 12 annual leave holidays)
  • Payment of contributions to „Social Insurances“, consisting of
    • Pension fund
    • Continued payment of wage in case of sickness, accident and maternity leave
    • Accident insurance
    • Employer pays 18% and employee 8% of monthly gross wage

For all 85 employees:

  • Payment of contributions to health insurance (employer pays 3% and employee 1,5% of monthly wage)
  • Free housing provided for women who can only go home during the weekend due to long commutes (currently 10 women use the accommodation)
  • Financial support available in case of need
    • Loans provided to employees for important purchases (house) or important family matters
    • Loans provided to small working groups for tools, machines, and materials
    • Sewing machines are handed out as long-term loans
  • Workplace health promotion: offer of a free yoga course in-house once a week, especially for women who work at the sewing machines


Educational opportunities:

  • Trainings in computer skills, management skills, design, fashion, Fairtrade and export
  • Educating external producer groups in quality standards
  • Vocational education of disadvantaged women as seamstresses


  • Work contracts are available
  • Payroll is available
  • Pay slips are available
  • SAR (Self Assessment Report) was duly submitted to CONTIGO



  • Personal visits in Hanoi (2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018)
  • Member of:
    • WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization) since 2010


Country information

See Encyclopaedia Britannica: Vietnam



Visiting Craft Beauty in 2018


Visiting Craft Beauty in 2014

2014_Craft Beauty1 2014_Craft Beauty2 2014_Craft Beauty3  2014_Craft Beauty4  2014_Craft Beauty5  2014_Craft Beauty6

Visiting Craft Beauty in 2012


Visiting Craft Beauty in 2010


Author: Janina Lange on 20. January 2019

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