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Sitting alone in the embroidery room at her home in Quang Thanh ward in Thanh Hoa City, Le Thi Kim Thoa, 31, meticulously and carefully embroiders every stitch on a tiny Bodhi leaf.

Thoa said she graduated from Hong Duc University majoring in accounting in 2013, but could not find a job in the next five years. She managed to learn how to embroider on fabric.

“At first, I just did embroidery on fabric to entertain myself. I posted images on my Facebook and social networks. Many people then contacted me and asked if I wanted to sell them. This prompted me to follow this career,” she recalled.

Thoa’s embroidered products became better known and she wanted to spend more time and effort, so in 2018 she enrolled in an embroidery class run by Thu Cuc, a famous artisan. 

Just after one year, Thoa became proficient and set up an embroidery workshop of her own. She produces and sells embroideries fabric, shirts, hairpins and buttons.

In 2021, when mastering embroidery technique, Thoa came back to Cuc to learn how to embroider on Bodhi leaves.

“At that moment, embroideries on leaves were unfamiliar products and it was difficult to sell. Cuc herself did not pay attention to the products. However, I insisted on learning the technique,” she recalled.

It is very difficult to embroider on Bodhi leaves and it took Thoa one year to create her first products. 

“Bodhi leaves must not be too young or too old. I had to spend time to select suitable leaves, soak in water, and boil them and scrub them to remove all the chlorophyll,” she recalled.

“After a lot of effort, I could choose the most beautiful leaves to embroider. But the works failed as I broke the veins of the leaves,” she said.

Finally, she still could complete her first product – a yellow bird on Bodhi leaf.

Most recently, she got a order for 20 embroidered leaves from a client would who will give them to his foreign partners as a present. It took Thoa one month to complete the order.

It takes 1-7 days on average to create a product, and every month, Thoa receives 20-30 orders. With the selling prices of VND360,000-600,000 for small leaves and VND3-4 million for big leaves, she can earn over VND10 million a month.

Le Duong