Handmade | Direct from the villages | Using traditional skills | Natural dyes | Eco-friendly

About Saoban

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. Saoban means ‘villager’ in the Lao language.

Saoban supports more than 300 village artisans from five provinces of Laos. When you buy from Saoban, you provide employment and training for the artisans, and the profits stay in the village communities.


Our artisans

Saoban 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. In rural areas and among various ethnic groups, craft making provided a source of income and stability. Their stories, available clicking the photos below, demonstrate individuals and communities with remarkable talent and resilience.

What they say

  • Great store with amazing products made by special people. Some of the prices are higher than in other places and I do understand that these products benefit less fortunate people. Some products are very unique and the customer service e from the lady at the store was superb and paramount to the success of the place. Short walk from most hotels and worth a visit.
  • I've looked around for a souvenir to take home that would remind me of my magical holiday in Laos. After looking through dozens of shops I found Saoban. They have beautiful items and I found a stunning silver ring. another reason why I decided to buy from Saoban is because it's a social business that works with traditional Lao artisans to promote Lao village crafts. Now I'm reminded of Laos every time I look at the ring!
    Johannesburg, South Africa
  • This store featured products from local villages from all over Laos. The relationships made helps connect travelers with the goods created by artisans all over the hillsides. This has a widespread benefit for all those involved. Saoban is a responsibal partner and a legitamate vender to choose.
    Edmonton, Canada
  • Lovely handcrafts made by local women with profits go to support disadvantaged communities. The design and quality are much better than those found in the night market. Excellent place to stock up on souvenirs in Vientiane.
    Chicago, Illinois
  • I've visited Saoban in both visits to Laos, and came home with beautiful handicrafts. The store is part of a nonprofit that supports rural women, and you can be sure the goods are authentic. It is expensive, so you might shop here and learn about the range of handicrafts, and then make the bulk of your purchases at the night market, but I felt good about paying a premium here.
  • Saoban is a great place to get some souveniers/presents to take back home from Laos. They have beautiful handcrafted products; silver, silk, scarfs, bags, jewellery made out of UXOs mm.. Saoban get all their great products from traditional artisans and try to create employment opportunities for especially women, and reduce poverty. Saoban = excellent handicraft for a good cause - recommended!
    Northern Norway, Norway
  • Saoban has a beautiful selection of scarves and other crafts that come from villages in rural Laos and ensures that the artisans receive a fair price for their work. Some products are made by people with disabilities, others by women who are exiting from prostitution. Prices are reasonable. It's a great way to buy souvenirs and support a social enterprise that is promoting livelihoods of Lao people.
  • The shop owner works with many local fair trade organizations and village people to get their handicrafts for sale in order to help improve their living standard. Great products though a bit expensive.
  • Beauty scarves and handicrafts. Especially unique are the items made out of UXOs (spoons, jewelry, pendants). I visited twice during my time in Laos, highly recommended.
    Annapolis, Maryland
  • Lots of silk and a few other handcrafted items. Very nicely organized but prices are on the expensive side. Ten years ago I paid 1/10 the price for the same kind of silk. I hope that the people are making the profit and not that they are just trying to rip off tourists. A nice woven piece of silk will cost approx $100.
    Winnipeg, Canada
  • Great custom order - they had just what I wanted. Great service and quick shipping. Rings are beautiful. Don't hesistate to contact store owner to see what they have available in stock.
  • Astra Bergmane
    Awesome scarf - marvellous, elegant colour; exquisite workmanship - I'm more than happy with it. And good communication, kind service - thank you, thank you!
    Astra Bergmane