During the 1960s when Vietnam was experiencing turmoil from the war, many of the country’s men were off to battle leaving wives, girlfriends, daughters and friends behind. Amidst all the chaos, those that stayed back banded together to create handkerchiefs, pillow cases and other fabric accessories for the men. A business was born as a result.
In a narrow alley along Hang Gai in Hanoi, a small shop called Tan My Embroidery was created in 1969. The store works with silk and embroidery to make pillowcases, handkerchiefs, clothing, bed linen, tablecloths, cushion covers and more. This small shop eventually became part of the now-famous Hanoi Silk Street.
Now, close to half a century later, the shop, located in the iconic Old Quarter is still standing strong and has turned into an icon of Vietnam’s capital city.
A Colourful Heritage
Bach Thi Ngai, the founder of Tan My came from a silk village. As a child, she learnt some of her skills as she sold to her French customers and employed these techniques in her shop while maintaining an emphasis on tradition, quality and service. She built a team of professional artisans, creating every item by hand and as a result, the shop’s reputation grew. The tradition was then passed on to the next generation via her daughter, Do Thanh Huong.
Tan My Design, a second shop opened just across the street in 2009 under the helm of Ms. Huong and her daughter, making the venture a third generation business. The three-storey, 1000-square-meter shop is home to a collection of gorgeous fabrics and fashion, silk products, lacquerware, art pieces, jewellery, accessories and more.
An Enduring Brand
Tan My’s enduring popularity can be traced down to its products. Working with some of the finest fashion and accessory designers in the country, Tan My Design’s products are notable for their exquisite design, elegance, value, impeccable workmanship and a strong reputation. The brand has served many customers, including royalty, presidents and prime ministers, foreign politicians, ambassadors and United Nations staff.
The group of about forty designers working with Tan My Design includes Ipa-Nima, My Way Decor, Chula, Catherine Denoual, Ha Truong, Minh Hanh, Pascale Dang, Harmony and Dinh Cong Dat.
Combining Tradition with Modernity
Tan My Design’s success is also largely due to the focus on maintaining tradition. Sitting behind a wonderful old facade, you can find a balance of old and new Hanoi with their traditional values of quality, service and value, all of which is married to modern and contemporary architecture and design. The brand is constantly updating their business and design focus, from the unique design of the shop, to establishing a relaxing cafe inside the premises.
The shop also has an e-commerce enabled website that allows you to buy their items online, even from outside of Vietnam.
What Others Say
The shop has a 4.5 out of 5 score on TripAdvisor with most of its reviews praising the shop’s unique architecture, standing out from its peers in the Old Quarter, and of course for the high quality and workmanship of their products.
Another notable factor singled out for praise is their service. Tan My Design’s dedicated staff will go to great lengths to guarantee customer satisfaction. Besides the fabric items they are well-known for, reviewers also remarked that this is an excellent place to buy gifts for loved ones.
What City Pass Guide Says
You can never go wrong with an establishment that counts leaders and members of royalty from various countries as part of its clientele.
With three storeys of exquisite designs, quality handcrafted goods and a cozy cafe, don’t be surprised if you spend quite a bit of time there. If you visit, there’s a decent chance that you won’t leave empty handed.