Although facing many challenges, during the past 04 years, Zó has been achieving some important results.
First of all, in 2014-2015, Zó focused on organizing our own team to set up our organization’s vision, mission and strategy. Most of our team members are young and dynamic people who share the same passion and vision to preserve our traditional values and culture.
Pic 01: Zó team hang out at new office on the railway
In May 2016, Zó moved office to the old quarter and that was the right decision to reach out the tourists, which are suitable with Zó customer target for short term. The tourist market is lacking a high quality of culture gifts. Zó get a high traffic of more than 1,000 customers to visit and also more than 20 reviews on Trip Advisor. This unique location on the railway helps us to attract also many tourists to stop by. Zó also host many international groups to come to learn about our social business model and sustainable development issues in Vietnam.
Pic 02: Zó host students from Australia leading by Laika Acedemy
Zó story has been featured on BBC, the Guardian UK, Word Magazine Vietnam and many other national news and media.
Secondly, Zó brings more stable income for the paper makers in Hoa Binh with regular orders since 2016. Their income increased also from 2,000$ in 2015 to 4,000$/year in 2016 for 8 months of making paper besides their agriculture activities. That makes their life much better than before.
Zó has been supporting many artists. We organized some exhibitions such as: Dance of Paper (2014), Soul of Dó (2015) and also worked with artists and designers to create more contemporary designs.
In May 2017, Zó expanded its market to the US and had the first few orders to reach out more international artists in North America.
In September 2017, with the support from Air Asia Foundation, Zó expanded their activity in the community. We started to give training for paper maker groups to make craft products from our paper to increase their income during free time they don’t make paper.
In 2018, Zó would like to create a nursery garden in the community and build a bamboo house to host artist to come. It will be an educational tool for learning about sustainable development. This will hopefully bring some more extra income for our paper makers.
The biggest challenge for Zó is to find young people to become future paper makers. The reason is that Zó needs to create an attractive job with reasonable income compare to high demand of labor in the industrialized zones in the countryside of Vietnam now.
Secondly, even though we would like to keep our traditional way to produce handmade paper, we still need to improve a lot of technique to have a better productivity. Using our traditional way to produce make our products have a special and unique touch, but we reach a low level of production, especially during the rainy season, the villagers can not produce any paper for almost 02 months per year.