At Laos Essential Artistry we can’t begin to carry a selection of sinhs comparable to shops in Vientiane. We have selected certain styles we like and have listed them on our site, but while we have hundred of sinhs, the shops in Vientiane have thousands upon thousands of sinhs. Plus, some sinhs, especially those used for weddings can be relatively expensive. We’re not at that level yet…
So what we’ve done is write in our sinh section on our Yahoo store website that we will custom order sinhs for customers and we’ve completed a number of custom orders over the last year.
What we want to do in this post is share the process we went through for a recent custom order.
About a month ago we had a request from a customer asking if we had any white wedding sinhs in stock or could get one. Well, we definitely don’t have any in stock so Bai called her sister Bouasai who works in Vientiane and asked her if she could visit a couple of the shops we work with to see if they had any white wedding style sinhs. We’ve given her a digital camera so she can take photos and she located some white sinhs, took photos and emailed us the next day several photos of white sinhs, including the one below.
Our customer liked the sinhs in this photo and actually preferred the whitish one on the left. But when we looked at the sinh carefully we could see there was a slight beige color to the white. The Lao actually prefer bright color sinhs, such as red or blue to wear for a wedding, and if they want something white, they prefer a more beige color.
In looking at both sinhs and talking with Bouasai, we determined the one on the right was closest to pure white. We told our customer and although the sinh was more expensive ($450) than she told us she initially wanted to spend, she told us that she wanted to order that one. One of the reasons these wedding style sinhs are so expensive is because of the embroidered patterns on the sinh. In this particular sinh the embroidery uses metallic threads and was quite complex and must have taken over a month to make.
When she told us about her decision then we asked her to send a check for $150 as a deposit. We can also take credit card numbers if a customer wants. Once we received the check we had Bouasai buy the sinh (she inspects them to make sure there are no issues such as discoloration, poor weaving/embroidery, etc.) and then she sent this one by express mail. It weighed just a little over 1 kilo and we paid $65 for shipping, which we had prearranged with her. If something is shipped by express it will arrive in a week. If we ship it by regular air-mail it may take up to a month and would have cost about $40.
Once we received the sinh, we inspected the sinh, took some photos and sent them to our customer. She loved the photos and sent another check to cover the balance due, $350. When we received the check we sent the sinh by priority mail and this last week she emailed us saying, “The sinh arrived last Monday! With all the holiday goings-on, I forgot to email you. Thank you so much; it is very beautiful and the embroidery is so impressive. My fiancé will be so surprised to see me walk down the aisle in such a gorgeous dress! Thanks again for all that you did to put it into my hands!”
The photos of the wedding sinh we sent her are below and we hope this post helps provide more transparency into what goes into a custom order.
We are currently working on an order for 18 sinhs for a customer in Minnesota who needs the sinhs for Lao girls who will be dancing in several performances this spring, beginning with Lao New Year in April. This custom order is a little bit more complex because the sinhs have to be custom woven to meet the specifications of our customer, rather than just purchased from a shop, and since she wants them by mid-March so they can be sewn and ready by Lao New Years, our weavers have only two months to complete the order. Bai’s brother will take photos and video of the sinhs, scarves and tdin sinhs being woven so we can post these later to help our customers understand the process involved in weaving sinhs.
UPDATE! Check out our new post on Dec 7 on our new Vientiane Fashion and Wedding Sinhs!