I first went to Tuyetlan Orchidsilk in 2013 on my first visit to Ho Chi Minh. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful silk material and designs. On each of my return visits to Ho Chi Minh City I always make sure I return to see their new designs, and also order more of my favourite styles in different colours. I'm one of those people that when I find a design that fits, is comfortable and cool to wear in hot temperatures, I get an assortment of colours. I've also had a number of designs created and I've always found the service and quality of all of the designs to be excellent. If you are travelling to Ho Chi Minh city and are looking to purchase some unique silk clothing, or clothing made from natural fibres, then this store should definitely be on your list of places to visit.
Tell us a little about Tuyetlan Orchidsilk
My name is Tran Thi Tuyet Lan. I am the owner of Tuyetlan Orchidsilk. I was born and raised in a poor family in Saigon. After the war, Vietnam was still in very difficult need and our family is also poor so I have to fight for a living soon. I remember, going to school was a very difficult thing and it was a privilege that my parents gave me. After opening Tuyetlan Orchidsilk, I started to study more short-term fashion design courses.
What is your best childhood memory?
From 10 years old, I had to work and study at the same time. First, I helped my grandmother sell coffee and iced tea on the pavement and then I went to sell lottery tickets. One day my teacher caught me selling lottery tickets, then when I got to class, she invited me up to check my old lessons. And I memorized, she especially praised me in front of my classmates. It was an unforgettable memory for me that I still feel proud every time I recall.
|Lan visits her old school
||Lan's Teacher's return to her old school
How did it all begin for Tuyetlan Orchidsilk?
The turning point in the "business" of my garment was when I was assigned a space to work as a "stall" at Tax department store (Nguyen Hue street - that department has now been closed). At that time, the shops at the department had very few goods. The top floor had no sellers, leaving it blank. The head of management assigned me to clean the top floor and was allowed to sell there without any charge. I didn't have much fund so I had to run to the Cho Lon (wholesale market) to buy cloth. I knew a little English in high school so I could communicate with foreigners who wanted to buy special fabrics that "made in Vietnam". Then the demand of customers was increasing, not only wanted to buy fabric, they also wanted to own designer and tailor-made clothes in Vietnam. So Orchidsilk has been formed since that day. (1985)
|Lan's first store located on Nguyen Hue Street
||Lan's first store located on Nguyen Hue Street
Why did you choose this profession?
Although I come from a poor family, my passion for art, design and beauty has never ceased. Hoping to bring many beautiful designs, in accordance with the different physique of each person, I have chosen this profession.
What sort of garments do you create?
The main products in our store are costumes designed with simple form but luxury that are made entirely from nature (such as silk, linen, cotton, ...) with exquisite embroidery or hand-drawn pictures. In addition, you can also order your own designs and receive enthusiastic advice from our staffs.
Who would be interested in buying your clothes?
I think customers who want to find unique but still keep the design simplicity will be interested in our products.
Can people have your beautiful designs made to order? How long does this take?
Of course. I'm very pleased to receive your orders. Usually a fast or slow order will depend on the complexity of the design. If it's just simple, we will finish in 1-2 days. For elaborate designs (such as embroidery, hand-painted or evening gowns), it will take 4-5 days to complete.
Who is your favourite designer?
My favorite designer is Karl Lagerfeld - the "second soul" of Chanel.
What inspires your designs?
Each of my designs is inspired by travel, looking at the beautiful things around me and seeing customers wearing the costumes I designed is also a very special inspiration to me.
Do you have a favourite design? Did you create it for someone special?
The design that I especially love is the first áo dài that I designed for the most important person in my life. It was my mother who gave birth to me and raised me.
Have you created designs for any famous people?
The most famous person who used to be my client is the daughter of former US President Bill Clinton - Chelsea Clinton. She visited the store when she came to Vietnam in 2000. It was an honor and pride that I didn't think I could have.
Chelsea Clinton with Lan (on right with stripe t-shirt) when she came to Lan's store
If you could create a design for anyone in the world, who would that be, and what would you create?
I will create an environmentally friendly design, good product quality but the price is not too expensive for everyone to wear, whether rich or poor, can wear my design.
What is the worst design you have created and what lesson did you take from that?
The worst design I ever made was probably in the years I just started the store. It's a shame, but there is a design that I had to fix many times before I could deliver it to the guests. But it doesn't mean that I will live forever in that shame, thanks to that mistakes, I have gained valuable experiences for myself.
What is your favourite material to use?
My favorite material is silk and it's also the main material of my store. I like natural materials because they are friendly to the environment, suitable for every user.
How do you choose your suppliers?
Silk at our shop is made from Lam Dong and from the northern provinces of Vietnam. The silk color we dyed at our factory so it's very special and unique. Our suppliers who have been with us for more than 10 years, so quality is proven over time and we always put quality criteria on top.
Do people have to come to your shop to be able to get clothes made? Can they organise to have clothes made if they are not in Vietnam? How can they do this?
Yes. Customers can go directly to the store to order clothes or order online through the store's Facebook
page. When ordering, you need to provide us with the designs you like, measurements as well as information for us to ship to your door with extremely reasonable ship fee. We ship goods worldwide. For payment, customers can pay us via Western Union.
What do you feel most proud of?
I built this store from nothing and until now, I can take care of my family, my parents. That's what I most proud of.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
Each year, I set aside a travel budget, so far I have been to 18 countries around the world. The places I usually visit while traveling in each country are shopping malls and clothing shops in their countries. I can learn a lot from them. I wish I could go to Russia or Australia, I haven't had the chance to travel so hope that I can accomplish this goal in this year.
If you could keep only five possessions, what would they be?
The first possession is definitely my family, the second is my passionate store, the third is probably the collection of clothes and accessories, the fourth is my voice and the last is my sharp mind to create new designs
Who do you admire most in life? Why?
I admire those who are talented, rich but have a very calm and simple life, can do what they like and live freely. And that's also what I want.
What are you most afraid of?
I'm afraid that I'm out of passion and enthusiasm in designing. I‘m afraid that one day I can no longer create beautiful products and cannot pursue my goals anymore
What is a skill you'd like to learn and why?
The skill I want to learn is playing the guitar and learning more about design to improve the products I create.
What does a perfect day look like to you?
A perfect day for me is a day full of energy and being able to see my customers happy about the products I make. After work, I can sing with my friends. In addition to passionate about design, I also love singing. When I'm stressed, singing helps me to relax and live happily.
|Lan loves singing to help relax her
Is there any advice you would pass on to anyone aspiring to design and make garments?
I have only one advice for those who are pursuing this industry. If you do it with passion, all the difficulties will be overcome and sooner or later you will be succeed. You must try hard, be patient, learn and observe a lot.
|Charity to raise funds for water for highland villagers that Lan participated in
||Charity music show for cancer patients that Lan participated in
||Saigon Charities and friends - a group of Lans friends that are doctors and nurses, Lan is also a part of thi scharity group
How do people find out more about your beautiful designs and where you are located?
Address: 217 Le Thanh Ton Street, Ward. Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (+84) 362748576
Hotline - WhatsApp: (+84) 918118509
Facebook: Tuyetlan Orchidsilk
Customers can come directly to the store to see the latest designs or via Facebook or email to order.
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