In 2014-2015, Zó focused on coordinating our team to set up our organization’s vision, mission and strategy. Our young and dynamic team members share a passion to preserve our traditional values and culture.
In May 2016, Zó moved our office to the Old Quarter in order to reach out to tourists. In the short term, tourists are suitable Zó customer targets, as the tourism market lacks high quality cultural gifts. Our unique location on the railway enables many tourists to stop by. Zó also hosts many international groups to come to learn about our social business model and sustainable development issues in Vietnam.
With regular orders since 2016, Zó has brought more stable income for the paper makers in Hoa Binh. Their income increased also from $2,000/year in 2015 to $4,000/year in 2016 for 8 months of making paper alongside their agriculture activities.
Zó has also been supporting many artists. In addition to exhibitions like Dance of Paper (2014) and Soul of Dó (2015), we worked with many artists and designers to create more contemporary designs.
In May 2017, Zó expanded its market to the U.S. and received its first requests to reach out to more international artists in North America.
In September 2017, with support from Air Asia Foundation, Zó expanded its activity in the community. We initiated trainings for paper making groups to increase their income during the times they don’t make paper by creating craft products from our paper.
In the future, Zó would like to establish a nursery garden in the community as well as a bamboo house to host artists in residence. It will be an educational tool for learning about sustainable development that has the potential to bring more income to our paper makers.
Zó Project’s biggest challenge has been finding young people to carry on the tradition of paper making. We needs to create an attractive job opportunity with a reasonable income to compete in the labor market as Vietnam becomes more industrialized.
Additionally, though we would like to keep our traditional method to produce handmade paper, we still must improve upon the technique to increase productivity. Using our traditional way to make our products gives us a unique touch, but it can also cause low levels of production, especially during the rainy season when villagers cannot produce any paper for almost two months.