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Weaving a future
SOARÉ is a beautiful rounded place mat, woven from the vibrantly green, sturdy and fast-growing water hyacinth that thrives in the Mekong River in Vietnam. The process of harvesting, drying and weaving the plant is important to the people living along the river banks. It keeps the waterway passable, it preserves handicraft tradition, and it earns the weavers extra money.
“One woman told us that thanks to SOARÉ her daughter is now training to become a teacher.”
Lillemor Franzén, the SOARÉ team, IKEA of Sweden
When SOARÉ became a popular product among our customers, supplies couldn’t cope with the demand. So, we thought it was time to change something in the production, or maybe replace it with a machine-made alternative. But before we decided, we wanted to go to Vietnam and look at the whole manufacturing process.
“We’re so glad we went, because we saw how SOARÉ is having a positive impact on the people making it.”
Lillemor Franzén, a member of the IKEA SOARÉ team
Doing good while doing good business
“Before we went to Vietnam I didn’t have an emotional attachment to the product. I just saw cost and business,” says Daniel Bergman, one of the members of the SOARÉ team.
They decided that the solution to meeting growing customer demands, was to offer both handmade and machine-made place mats. That gives the customer a wider selection to choose from and it takes the sales pressure off SOARÉ, as the machine-made place mats can be produced in higher quantities, and the SOARÉ production can continue as it is.