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Directions: On the east side of the Temple of Literature.Phone: 0438437710
6th FL., Oriental Tower, 324 Tay Son, Đống Đa, Hanoi
“Hanoi, the political capital of Vietnam, is located in the Red River Delta and is also an important cultural centre with many aspiring young artists making the city into one of the most visually appealing places in Vietnam! The city is an eclectic mixture of colonial Parisian grandeur and time...”
My favourite place to go shopping for my house. Not only is the stuff very pretty and ethnic, its all for a social cause. Love it !
I went to Craftlink this evening to buy a bunch of little stuff that a 12 year old girl from Australia could easily sell to her mates and then donate all the money to charity back here in Vietnam. Good deal - buy the stuff here, help the Craftlink NGO thing, then sell the stuff and re-donate to a different charity, also supporting minority groups in northern Vietnam. Cool.
Shopping here was so easy. One of the staff (name escapes me) spoke excellent English and was very helpful when given the brief. Walked away with exactly VND2m of little items that young girls will fawn over. Most items purchased cost less than VND50k and the staff really helped to find the lowest price items as well. Really great shopping experience.
I did note throughout the store (remember to go upstairs to the two other rooms) that they have a wide range of pretty high quality items as well. Priced to match but nothing seemingly outrageous.
As other reviewers have noted, this is a great place to take visitors to buy things in a non-hassle environment and help a good cause at the same time.
NB: I needed to buy things urgentlt to get the sent back to Oz this week. But, this event: http://tnhvietnam.xemzi.com/event/show/5916/date/2012-11-17 looks very cool if you want to learn more about Craftlink and their artisans. I reckon I will go anyway.
I just don't think I can say enough about this place. Here's what I loved: everything. Okay, to be more specific, the products are high-quality, unique, and seem to represent just about the full range of souvenirs you find around town, but all the best pieces and all in one spot. The staff seem extremely friendly, and they have been well-trained in the ways of Western shoppers, meaning they don't hound or hover, which made me feel totally at ease. The prices are just a bit higher than what you might haggle for in the Old Quarter, but I myself loved not haggling. The prices are all clearly marked. And, the icing on the cake (or maybe the cake itself), it's an NGO that supports minority craftsmen and women who are often underrepresented in their work. They support fair trade and even provide really nifty information cards and signs about the different tribes and groups that the wares come from. What could be better? Be sure to visit both locations on Van Mieu! They have some of the same but a lot of different merchandise.
I like Craftlink because the prices are reasonable for the quality of the items you are buying. Since the store clerks also spoke English (esp. the one assigned at the cash register), you can ask about the nature and origin of the items (questions like why is this cheaper than this when they look the same). The store clerks are knowledgeable about their products so when you are back home, you can actually tell a little something about your gifts to your friends. I love the craftmanship of the textiles and other items in Craftlink. The fact that you're actually helping the local craft industry, especially of ethnic minorities, by buying from the store is also a plus factor.
Most important of all, especially for foreigners, Craftlink has fixed prices--and if you ask the store clerks for details--you will have a sense why some products are more expensive than the others. There is a system to the pricing--the more valuable the product (craftmanship and material-wise, the more expensive). It is not an arbitrary pricing. The reason I am emphasizing this point is that I have been to the Van Phuc Silk Village which has a lot of the items sold at Craftlink. You know, I ended up paying more for the same items in Van Phuc. This is because, at Van Phuc, you are subject to the "whim" and arbitrary pricing of the sellers. If you go there without any idea about the correct prices of goods, even if you bargain, you will still pay a high price simply because when you are a foreigner, they really increase the asking price. Even if you ask for discount, the half-way price is still higher than the price they give to the locals. At Craftlink, you will avoid this feeling of being ripped off. It is also so much nearer than Van Phuc where the plain distance would force you to buy something so as not to waste the time and effort you exerted in coming there.
In addition to hanoimonkey's great outline I find this an easy place to shop as the prices are not also reasonable but also fixed-so no bargaining is necessary to feel like you have a fair price. I always bring my visitors to Craft Link.
These shops have clearly benefited from some training in how to display as they show off their products really well eg. they display small "colour stories" - group products togther in colour schemes which looks fresh and is effective in the small space.
This helps them stand out from other shops with assorted crafts.
- I have purchased quite a few water puppets here.
- The assistants usually speak enough English for most transactions.
- HIWC members can get a discount off purchases.
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