Zó project is a social business, which preserves, supports and expands Vietnamese traditional paper and the technique to produce it in a sustainable and creative way.
The idea of setting up Zó project initially came from the passion of the founder, Tran Hong Nhung. Zó is a dynamic and young team who wish to bring traditional values into modern society. In return, our profits are going back to the community of paper maker to create job opportunities and stable income for the ethnic minority village in the Northern province of Vietnam
Local knowledge and contemporary life
When she first heard of Do paper, Tran Hong Nhung already had a big career working with international NGOs (Oxfam, Vietnam Plus), but when one of her friends told her about Do Paper, everything changed. She didn’t know anything about it until she visited the village of the paper makers, who had a huge impact on her. She found herself very impressed with the incredible efforts they put in keeping this tradition alive, and she knew she could do something to help them. Therefore, she took the decision to quit her job, and follow her heart. She studied the market possibilities for a possible business, and soon realized the best way to make this work would be to create a social enterprise. She strongly believes that the best way to help people is to support them and to give them the means to develop by themselves:
“Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for one day,
teach a man how to fish and you’ll feed him for the rest of his life.”
In 2013, she took the plunge and created Zó Project. Now, Zó Project helps 20 families in total in two different villages (Suoi Co and Suoi Re), and hopes to have another village to work with by 2019, as well as to develop tourism and show travelers this incredible part of the Vietnamese traditions.
Nowadays, in Viet Nam, the art of creating this beautiful paper has been almost forgotten because of the diminishment in the demand for such the product. The reason is that the industrialization in Viet Nam Has been developed quickly during the last 30 years. Therefore, we have made our effort to preserve this local knowledge and make it alive one more time our modern life.
Our mission :
We seek to preserve the process of handmade paper making in accordance to environmental standards. By constantly creating new products with contemporary design, we also wish to increase the value of Vietnamese handmade paper to incorporate this ancient tradition in our daily lives. It is very interesting to adapt this ancient tradition to our modern life and create contemporaneous products with this paper.
It is important for us to build up and strengthen the link between actors in the value chain of handmade paper so that they can perpetuate this tradition. We want to make sure we transmit this local knowledge to the next generation and to the whole world.
Who we work with :
Zó works with the artisans from paper villages to make and improve the ancient paper making technique in Viet Nam. The benefices we make from selling the products made of this paper go directly to these families. Since they are farmers, they can only make the paper in their spare time; we hope in time, we will sell enough products to allow them to be full-time paper-makers; this would show the younger generations that being a professional paper maker is a reliable and durable job, and that they can perpetuate the tradition.
Zó also works closely with designers and artists to create new handmade paper products for contemporary usage. Our products are made of a great range of originals and inspiring designs which will inspire everyone.
Finally, Zó works with the local authorities and ecologists to make sure that the natural materials will be harvested according to the regulation of forest management. It is important for us to make sure the production of this paper respects the environment.
Our products and services :
We design and develop products from handmade papers. The paper is made in the region of Hoa Binh by paper makers, and we make the final products in our shop in Hanoi. We constantly develop new ranges of products and designs.We also organize workshops and event about paper and crafts for adults and children. We collaborate with local and international artists to organize cultural events, and we also work with designers from all around the world to create original products that will please everyone!
Our social impact :
Zó Project is a social enterprise, therefore we set ourselves a few goals regarding the social impact we want to have.
Our main goal is to preserve our traditions and culture by incorporating them into our modern lives. We also seek to create jobs as well as a sustainable income for our partners, the paper makers.
We believe it is possible through our project to protect our environment with an ecological approach, and to promote a lifestyle with sustainable consumption. Our products are based on ecological standards.
Check out the Tedx Talk our founder Nhung gave about Zó Project : “Believe in yourself and love what you do”