About Us

Noi & Simone

Ampai Maneewan (Noi) and Simone Buys are supporting a Hmong Hill Tribe Women Artisans Community in Northern Thailand - with Product Design and Development, following a Fair Trade concept of Social Concern and Care.

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Noi has a long experience as a social worker and as a teacher - and is currently attached to a Foundation taking care of children (Karen Hill Tribe) needing foster parentage. www.raintree-foundation.org.

Simone has a long experience with income generating women projects in Africa using her creativity to design products for an export market, based on the artisanal skills of rural women. As VSO volunteer and UN volunteer she also taught notions of business management and administration to ensure the sustainability of the enterprises.

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A few years ago, Simone got interested in the Batik Art of the (Blue) Hmong Hill Tribe women of Northern Thailand. The two friends worked together on this project during their free time and have achieved some good results: Now production and sales are flowing.

Their main target has been to save a beautiful traditional craft from disappearing due to cheap and bad quality mass production – caused also by the competition of industrialization of printed fabric. Simone has enriched the common pattern work with new compositions and textures while respecting the cultural heritage. One master woman artisan has followed this development with courage and much talent and is now an example to the other women artisans in her village. But as the new and original work achieved was destroyed by the bad quality dyeing of the villagers, the two friends decided rapidly to have the waxed fabric dyed by a reliable professional Thai workshop in Chiang Mai city.

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After a few years of effort, the batik products developed are appealing to the local and export market. The time is ripe to develop a dye center of quality within the village. Later on, Noi & Simone will open a second dye section using the natural indigo plant found in the forest near the village. These products would then be offered to the high end of the market. Do follow our progress about this new development on our blog.