How it all began...

In 2005, the Participatory Development and Training Center (PADETC -, a Lao non-governmental organization working in rural and youth development, recognized the potential of marketing Lao handcrafts to create employment for rural women and alleviate poverty.

Under the leadership of PADETC’s former Director Sombath Somphone, the organization began working with small groups of weavers in a village of Vientiane Province by providing technical guidance for product improvement, small start-up loans, and advice for marketing and business development. Soon, other artisan groups approached PADETC for start-up capital and help with marketing and business development. As the artisan groups and PADETC’s collaboration evolved, it became evident that long-term success for the project required the establishment of a separate entity.

In this gradual, organic process, and guided by Mr. Sombath, Saoban Shop was born in 2011.

In 2020, Saoban is once more transformed to reflect the company’s rebranding and expansion needs. Saoban is now renamed as TaiBaan and is led by Shui Meng Ng, the wife of Sombath Somphone. TaiBaan operate as a social enterprise committed to continue Sombath’s vision of poverty alleviation and employment creation in rural communities through craft production and marketing.

As a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), TaiBaan abides by international Fair Trade principles and seeks to expand the marketing of Lao village handcrafts to the outside world.


Preserve Traditions, Build Sustainably, Protect the Environment

Our Story

TaiBaan, formerly Saoban, was started by PADETC, Lao NGO, as a fair trade social business that works with traditional handicraft artisans to preserve and promote Lao village crafts, create employment opportunities for villagers – mostly women – and reduce poverty... [read more]

Our Difference

TaiBaan works exclusively with economically and socially marginalized producers in Laos by creating opportunities where rural families and communities can pursue a dignified and sustainable livelihood. TaiBaan is guided by the principles of fair trade, wherein we provide fair pay and safe working conditions for village artisans. An active member of Fair Trade Laos, we adhere to World Fair Trade Organization’s 10 Standards in our day-to-day work... [read more]

Our Artisans

TaiBaan works with hundreds of artisans across ten provinces in Laos. Many of our artisans lived through the American War and Secret War of the 1960s, and experienced firsthand the upheaval of the revolution in 1975... [read more]

Our Founder

The eldest son of a farming family from Ban Don Khio, Khammouane Province, Sombath Somphone knew about poverty, hunger, and insecurity first hand. In the 1960s, when Sombath was eight or nine years old, his family escaped the Indochina war between the revolutionary Pathet Lao and the Government forces and sought temporary refuge in Thailand... [read more]

Short Trips

What if you could take an incredible trip of your life and leave a positive impact on the people and places you visit? Carefully handpicked places that will provide you with authentic Laos experiences, from immersive homestay, to delicious local dishes; and allowing every adventure you take to positively impact the local community. Venture out to the backroads and non-touristy places to experience the arts, culture and traditions of Laos... [read more]

Experience Mekong

Experience Mekong Showcase 2021

We're proud & grateful to share that TaiBaan was being shortlisted as one of the 3 finalists for Lao PDR, from among 300+ members of the Experience Mekong Collection.

Thank you very much for your kind support!

Finalists for the 2021 Experience Mekong Showcases announced

Public Voting is open to support small responsible businesses during these challenging times

Bangkok, July 27th, 2021:
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office is announcing the 15 Finalists of the Experience Mekong Showcases 2021 from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand Viet Nam, as well as Guangxi and Yunnan in PR China...

[ Read full press release ]

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