“Hi, my name is Nulee. I’m 25 years old, from the Hmong tribe in Nan Province, northern Thailand. I grew up in a family of craftsmen, so I’ve been making handicrafts since I was young. I think handicrafts are a gift, since each artisan’s style is beautiful. My family has been making and selling Hmong batik since I was born. My parents taught me, my three younger sisters, and my younger brother every step of the process.
“After finishing high school in Chiang Mai, I got an opportunity to be an assistant for Simone Buys, a NOVICA artisan. I studied a lot under her. She taught me everything about handicrafts and business.
“I draw inspiration from life, from everything around me, and also from my family. It keeps me wanting to improve my skills, to try new things, and put all my effort into being successful. My dream is to be a Hmong entrepreneur, to be a representative for a new generation that wants to preserve our unique culture through handicrafts. Most importantly, I want to help forward my family’s handicrafts. Sometimes it’s hard to accurately meet expectations, but I never give up; I try my best and it’s worth it.
“I started my business by making a sample and learning from my parents, and continuing to practice. Every process is done by hand. I always use cotton and natural colors. For batik cotton bags, I use recycled batik from my family’s products and adapt it into casual pieces that feature beautiful Hmong batik motifs.
“I teach an unemployed Hmong woman how to make batik cotton jewelry. I design each new example and watch her create. I think this could help her and her family afford a better life. I also let other housewives in my village help craft my pieces, paying them for their work.
“I’m so proud and excited that I will have pieces sold on the NOVICA website with my own name. It is great to know that international customers will be able to see more Hmong hill tribe products. I will keep creating new designs and practice new skills to make more impressive works. Thank you.”