"Bamboo is a cultural symbol of my country," says Duyen, the Quality Assurance (QA) / Quality Control (QC) Manager at Bamboo Living's factory in Vietnam. But that is not the only reason Duyen loves working with bamboo. She knows that her work helps support the planet by saving forests, absorbing carbon, producing oxygen, preventing erosion, and protecting soil nutrients. "Besides that," explains Duyen, "I see the bamboo clump with many bamboo culms growing together...they are connected together as a family." She believes this is part of what makes a Bamboo Living house so special; a family of bamboo poles are united to create a natural, warm home.
When Duyen isn't working with our factory team to ensure that every Bamboo Living home is built to the highest standard, she is likely spending time with her family or studying. Duyen is about to graduate with a degree in Business Administration, a dream to which she has held tight, even in difficult times. Duyen grew up in Thanh Hoa province in northern Vietnam. When she was 12 years old, her parents split up. Her mother took Duyen and her two older brothers to southern Vietnam to find work and start a new life. Duyen helped support her family by working as a babysitter, a kitchen helper, and a ceramics painter. In 2003, at age 16, Duyen began working at Bamboo Living's production facility. A year later, she went back to school, taking night classes Monday through Saturday. Duyen remembers her brother waiting for her on the street corner every night so she wouldn't have to walk home alone in the dark after the buses had stopped running.
Duyen describes Bamboo Living as her second family. She grew up with us. When she joined the team at the factory, Duyen showed up with a deep passion for learning. Twelve years later, she is confident in her computer skills, knows the meaning of teamwork, understands the production process, and knows what it means to be dedicated to continual improvement in the workplace. "I can say I am very lucky," says Duyen.
We chose to locate our factory in Vietnam because that is where our timber-quality bamboo grows abundantly. Our homes are built straight from the freshly harvested poles. The factory, situated in the Ben Cat District of Binh Duong Province, is a busy place. On any given day, you'll find workers treating our bamboo poles with natural borates to ensure bamboo preservation and termite resistance. Some study the architectural shop set and plan production while others measure the diameter of harvested bamboo poles. Duyen balances her day between communicating with her quality assurance team and suppliers and checking in at the various work stations in the facility. She enjoys creating production plans, collecting data, and evaluating results. But one of her favorite parts of the job is seeing the stunning bamboo houses going up on the production floor. Duyen's goal is to provide the customer with the highest quality bamboo home, to "make it correct and more beautiful." She sounds like a perfect fit for her job!
Aside from her invaluable work at the factory, Duyen enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons. Reading books is her preferred pastime. She digs into a novel or a book on business if she's on her own. Otherwise, she likes telling funny stories to her boys. Duyen met her husband in high school, and now he works at the Bamboo Living factory as well! Just as bamboo culms grow together, our team at the factory thrives as a supportive working family. And their teamwork, dedication, and craftsmanship emanate from each Bamboo Living home.