The simple cleaning tools made by Vietnamese craftsmen are popular in the United States for their usefulness.
The made-in-Vietnam little straw brooms are widely sold on Amazon.com. They are known by the Vietnamese name of “Choi bong co Vietnam” or “Vietnamese hand-made straw soft broom” and are considered “more useful than a vacuum” by clients for they can help smooth hardships of American housewives in their tasks of house cleaning.
An effective housework assistant
|“Choi bong co Vietnam” or “Vietnamese hand-made straw soft broom” are widely sold on Amazon.com, United State market. Photo: Gemini|
Michael J, a client of Amazon.com said that he ‘is addicted to using Vietnamese broom’. “These brooms are amazing! I have dark, wood-looking vinyl floors and they show dust daily. I normally have to mop them daily but, with this broom, I have been able to go to weekly or bi-weekly mopping,” he stated.
According to Michael, the broom is able to catch almost ‘everything’, even the smallest of dust particles. It is also lightweight and she can use one hand to maneuver it.
He loves these brooms so much as she purchased additional ones for her bathrooms and bedrooms, so each room can have its own broom
“My kids love using it too,” Michael wrote “Once you start sweeping, you can’t stop. It can go easily under furniture pieces that sit low to the floor to catch dust that can collect under them and it doesn’t just push dust around.
“I can’t say enough good about this broom. I am going to buy one for all of my friends as gifts for Christmas! They will likely think it an odd gift but they will thank me for it later,” Michael added.
In fact, if you browse world-famous e-commerce sites like Amazon or eBay, you will not be surprised by the 5-star reviews and praiseworthy comments about Vietnam’s rustic brooms.
Winnie L. Senty, another customer of Amazon gave a five-star for the broom and left a positive comment that “I am a home health nurse and one of my clients told me about this kind of broom. Not only did I get one for myself in Virginia Beach, but also for my friends who live in Tampa for their floors which are tile. The best thing is known since sliced bread!”
For Dewy, a client of ebay.com from Canada, Vietnamese broom is very lightweight easy to use. “I also have a more refined version of this broom and I wanted to get a few for friends and family,” she suggested.
|“This broom was perfect for my wedding broom,” Llyons, a client of Amazon.com from United States commented. Photo: Llyons|
On eBay.com, Brokemomomma from the United States said that a Vietnamese-style broom is the best one this client has ever owned. “It is great for getting edges of baseboards. If you have animals, you will be amazed at how it gets even the finest hair,” commented Brokemomomma.
However, there are also some customers who complain that they have encountered a problem with the Vietnamese broom, in fact, the Vietnamese themselves experience the same problem when using the broom for the first time: the brooms may shed some hair or cotton particles.
“One thing I did notice though is that it can shed a little. Other than that, great value for the money,” Michael stated.
Agreed with Michael, Dewy commented that “the only thing that I am disappointed with one is that the straw is not clean and leaves a fine brown dust on the floor. I am thinking this will disappear over time with use. I hope.”
Notably, not only buying Vietnamese brooms for house cleaning, but many Americans also buy them as tools for home or party decorations.
Cheap in Vietnam, expensive abroad
|A Vietnamese broom is on sale at Amazon.co.jp|
The price of these brooms is dirt cheap in Vietnam, ranging from about VND40,000 to VND60,000 each (around US$1.7 to $2.6) but unbelievably expensive on the international commercial sites, at a price of around $20 or $30.
The brooms are usually packaged very carefully to ensure their integrity when they are delivered to the buyer.
Giving the description of the product, some sellers on Amazon wrote that “This is a traditional Vietnamese housecleaning broom that is made from natural straw. The broom is 101cm in length and 31cm wide, anti-static, and effective in hair cleaning.
They also give instructions for using as: “Shake off the tiny particles before first-time use” or “The straw part of the brooms comes covered in a plastic bag. After receiving the broom, please shake it without opening the plastic bag. See the dust coming off. After the dust comes off, carefully remove the plastic bag from the broom and hit it softly on a hard surface to shed it off.”
They also recommend hanging the broom on a hook as well as refraining it from exposure to high heat to preserve the life of the broom.
How the broom is made by Vietnamese craftsmen?
|The trade of making grass brooms is particularly popular in many provinces throughout Vietnam. Photo: Kim Thoa|
The trade of making grass brooms is particularly popular in some villages throughout Vietnam such as Tam Quang (Thai Binh Province), Bac Son (Nghe An Province), Con Nho, or Small Island (An Giang Province), among others. The simple but effective tools for home cleaning are then purchased by traders who will export them to the US, Japan, Laos, or Qatar later.
According to local broom-makers, the broom is usually made from the flowers of the Thysanolaena latifolia plant or the so-called “dot” or “bong co” grass. The grass has to be harvested when it is still young, and dried in the sun until it acquires a bright color with a smooth and high-tensile texture.
The brooms are skillfully knitted by Vietnamese craftsmen. “Tying these grasses all together is the most difficult and important process. If people are not skilled, the broom can fall apart easily. Therefore, this part of the process needs an experienced person,” said Le Quang Vinh, a broom-maker from Duc Pho Village, Quang Ngai Province.
He said a skilled maker can tie a broom per minute. Each broom needs from 10 to 12 small bundles of grass.
It takes the craftsman a lot of time and steps to produce a perfect broom. Firstly, the flowers of Thysanolaena latifolia plant are harvested by hand and brought back from the fields by villagers. Some unusable part of the grass has to be removed before the broom-making can begin.
|Making grass brooms is a traditional trade of people in Vu Thu Commune, Thai Binh Province. Photo: Kim Thoa|
Secondly, the grasses have to be tied together to make up a broom. Then, the handle part is finished off with a metal wire and colorful plastic tapes.
According to Vinh, brooms used for export often require higher quality than brooms sold in the domestic market. “The grasses must be of equal maturity, supple and highly resistant to termites,” he added.
The brooms for export must have the handle covered with colored nylon or plastic so that the wire used to tie the broom is not exposed, which can scratch the user’s hand.
Due to its higher quality, plus the shipping cost and other expenses, it is understandable that the price of brooms on Amazon and eBay is tens of times higher than the real value of the brooms sold in Vietnam. Then, the simple but effective made-in-Vietnam house appliance has been winning the hearts of housewives from all over the world.
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