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Bua Bhat’s inspiring green philosophy is to create from waste, upcycling leftover fabrics and other materials into beautiful and unique home decorative arts. Bua Bhat pride themselves on maintaining a cottage industry environment and manufacturing process that is ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Wilai, the founder of Bua Bhat, is a tenacious and entrepreneurial woman. At a young age, Wilai helped out in her family's textile business and learnt English by selling their products to tourists at the local markets in Chiang Mai. Her ambitious nature further shines through as after school she headed off on a solo journey around Southeast Asia, India and on to America – quite a feat some 40+ years ago. She learnt local weaving techniques throughout Asia and production methods while she was in America. In her 20's Wilai started Bua Bhat which she named after her beloved mother. A self-taught designer, Wilai draws inspiration from her Lanna roots and has found a niche in upcycling discarded fabrics into creative works of art.
Bua Bhat is located in Kor-Sa-Leam, a traditional Thai village and well-known handicraft area northeast of Chiang Mai, Thailand. A native tribe called Yong makes up much of the population in the region. Wilai, who is from Chiang Mai, teamed up with the Yong who are naturally gifted craftspeople, especially in fabric weaving inspired by nature – gardens, vegetable beds, ponds and architecture as well as local Lanna culture.
Bua Bhat is an important part of the local community, having employed local women since 1987. While some roles are full-time, they also offer freelance work, particularly to mothers with small children, giving them the flexibility to earn money while being able to look after their families in the comfort of their homes.