︎

Jo Lam, the one who makes wise business looks cool



Serenity, ethics, gentleness…Jo Lam knows where she is heading. She develops a project based on natural fabrics, with a clear conscience. And yet, she evolves in a Vietnamese society where plastic is king. Jo Lam captivated us, as it feels good to listen to someone with such great values.


conversation
with Jo Lam

10.09.2018
voir version française >





Let’s start by the beginning, the presentation! 

My name is Jo Lam - you might see a similarity with the name of my brand : Jamlos! Before founding Jamlos, I used to work in communication. At one point, I decided that I wanted to put my energy elsewhere, to focus on a positive change and on my initial passion: creation. So, I quit my job and founded Jamlos in 2014.

« Jamlos is a brand that sell bags and accessories made of natural fabrics, for your daily life. It is a whole project. We create the fabrics, manufacture the bags and sell in our retail stores. »



What is Jamlos?

Jamlos is a brand that offers bags and accessories for your daily life. They are exclusively made of natural fabrics. 100% cotton canvas - without any polyester - is so difficult to source and yet so beautiful and nice to touch! All my work is dedicated to bring natural fabrics back into fashion, in a wise way. We are always searching and developing new fabrics with chemicals, which are supposed to resolve this or that problem… but nature already offers us every solutions!





So, I decided to develop everything in-house: Jamlos is a whole project. We create the fabrics, manufacture the bags and sell in our retail stores. Jamlos is growing slowly but steadily and in a clean way. We develop our own canvas that respect our organic norms but also our durability goal. The fabric evolves and acquires a special touch while being used and is waterproof. Of course, it is not a 100% waterproof fabric but for an urban use it is enough to keep your belongings dry. We then manufacture the bags in our own workshops and finally sell them in our Jamlos stores. We now have two stores: one in Saigon and one in Hanoi. We are working on opening soon many stores in different Vietnamese cities!

« I have 3 different things in mind while designing each new bag and each new collection: a simple shape, a user-friendly functionality and a story to tell… »


What is your process to design the bags?

I have 3 different things in mind while designing each new bag and each new collection: a simple shape, a user-friendly functionality and a story to tell. Our daily life inspires me: for example, the triangle shaped bag directly comes from the inspiration of a pizza slice. Yes, a pizza slice! It is this simple. We try to accompany our users in their daily life, with stories that are playful and colorful to tell. I also love the challenge of having to develop a bag with a simple design but with perfect functionality. Our role is to design for the consumers’ well-being, which made us come up with our baseline: “Minimal me, Maximal you.”.





Before we start the interview, you talked a lot about education and support. Why is that?

Vietnamese society needs to learn certain concepts again for a better life! And it is also true for a lot of fast-developing countries like ours. First, you need to make people consider durability rather than disposable items, which are omnipresent in our country. A bag that you keep for a long time is an example of durability. So yes, you have to understand that canvas is going to evolve and its appearance will be transformed with time (not like a never ageing polyester). But it doesn’t mean that it is bad quality! It just ‘ages’ when you are using it. And you can wash it instead of throwing it away!

« I tried to simplify the message in the extreme to spread a crystal clear message. I went as far as literally copying the shapes of plastic bags for our collection ECO-MATES! »




While speaking of disposable items, the second thing we fight for is to make people accept that there are simple and desirable alternatives to plastic. I tried to simplify the message in the extreme to spread a crystal clear message. I went as far as literally copying the shape of plastic bags for our collection ECO-MATES! For your morning coffee/tea or to carry the groceries, our canvas bags have the same shape of the plastic bags. We wanted to show that you can say no to plastic without losing practicality.

« Teams in our stores are trained to explain to the customers how to take care of each product. I see them more as advisors than sales assistants. »


I also speak about education when talking about the staff in Jamlos stores. You need to know that in Vietnam, sales assistants usually follow you everywhere in the store from the moment you come in to the moment you leave. But they rarely know how to answer your specific questions about the products. In Jamlos stores, I like to consider my staff as advisors rather than sales assistant. They let you wander in the store and help you when you show a sign. They explain how the bags are made and how to take care of them to use them as long as possible. We keep fighting on a daily basis to convince people on durability, one person at a time.





« I need to be 3 times more trained than a man to be treated equal to equal during my discussions or negotiations. »


We can’t help but asking you this question: how is it to work as a business and entrepreneur woman in Vietnam?

It is not easy! But I feel better now, more independent. I have 30 people working for Jamlos now. The key for in-house matters is to only hire people whom you can entirely trust and who show a genuine kindness. Regarding the suppliers or service providers, the key is to master each topic. I need to be 3 times more trained than a man to be treated equal to equal during my discussions or negotiations. I need to keep showing that I know what I am talking about and that I know what I want. This society is still patriarchal. Outside of the home, it is the man who decides. But with patience and education, I have faith in the Vietnamese society to wake up!











︎


All the Jamlos products,
freshly brought back from Saigon:
Mark
2018 ©presque ︎  ︎  ︎ Mentions légales︎Paris