The Hanoitimes - Empowering the passion for traditional musical instruments of the youth through his teaching and playing flute for free on Youtube, Nguyen Van Mao (nickname is Mao “Meo”) initiated his startup successfully with 25 stores currently supplying bamboo flutes all around Vietnam.
The fate tying Mao to the business of bamboo flutes was accidental. Mao shared with us that he had known and liked playing flute since he was 8 years old. Until he became a university student, Mao still kept the habit of playing flute which was bought at market for 10,000 to 15,000 VND. Mao often updated his videos on Youtube, especially ones that teach people not having any experience with flute how to play this instrument. “At first, I want to help the Vietnamese youth love this traditional bamboo flute more. I want to teach who have not known how to play flute but want to play the instrument,” Mao recalled. Gradually, many people having watched the videos took a liking to the instrument and asked Mao where to buy good flutes. Mao then started to sell flutes online. However, since the number of people wanting to buy flute was considerable, Mao started his business by selling his home-made flutes. In 2012, Mao’s business developed greatly, giving him from 20 to 25 million VND per month. So as for his flutes not to be mixed among other average products, Mao registered for brand protection at the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam.
In 2013, having earned a particular amount of fund and hoping to create conveniences for people to buy flutes, Mao opened the first flute shop in Hanoi. To promote widely his brand and connect passion for flutes in all provinces, Mao created a website on flutes. From the president of a flute club in Hanoi, he became the president of flute club in the North and is currently the president of the Vietnam flute club with approximately 40,000 to 50,000 members. Recalling when he just started his business with his bare hands, Mao said that at that time, he encountered specific difficulties.
Mao hopes his flutes to be known around the world.
From that point, Mao researched to improve his flute making skills. In order to make a good flute, the maker has to know how to play flute and deal with it. All of the processes of making a flute are manual, not involving any machine. Currently, techniques to make a flute have developed considerably. If technologies are applied rightly, each day, hundreds of flutes can be produced. Even though he knows how much profit he can make, Mao still keeps the traditional manual method. He completely relies on his hands to understand the flute’s sound. “A good flute needs good materials. When I get the raw materials, I throw away nearly half of them. All of the materials are chosen and examined by a specific machine. After that, all processes are completely manual,” Mao said.
After finishing the products, Mao will re-examine to see if they have any flaws. If the sound is not perfect, Mao will throw away the product immediately. As a result, in average, Mao’s factory can produce about 500 flutes per day. However, after strict re-examination process, the products sold to the market are about 300.
Mao and his flutes.
As a result, Mao Meo’s flutes are famous for its aesthetics and quality. Mao has registered “Mao Meo Bamboo Flute” for brand protection. Each flute sold to the market is attached with a stamp. Currently, Mao Meo Bamboo Flute has created jobs for approximately 100 people. Each month, the business sells 8,000 flutes at 330,000 VND per flute. In particular, the revenues of some months can be up to 1 billion VND per month.
Starting a business from his own passion is a good direction. However, the motivation that pushes Mao to run his business is Mao’s dedication to the love for flute of the youth. He always thinks that with just a song played by the flutes, people can become calm and forget any pressures from daily life. As a result, Mao wanted to promulgate Mao Meo flutes to over all the world, so everybody can experience the same joy and happiness as him.
Thao Tran - Ngoc Thuy