Wilai Praijitkanjanakul, the founder of Bua Bhat Factory, grew up with craftwork. Her father was a weaving expert who taught for the Ministry of Industry and her family ran a handicraft shop at the Night Bazaar called Bua Bhat Panich, which took its name from her mother. Having long been involved with her family business, Wilai would notice changes in the marketplace. As tourism grew, she saw that products for sale lacked variety and quality. She found that dealing with customers was becoming increasingly wearying, and she realized she needed to differentiate her products in quality and design.
With a degree in economics, Wilai had begun her career as a teacher, but the experience running her family shop inspired her to set up Bua Bhat Factory in 1987. Her goal was to produce products that could differentiate her shop from others. Since then, for the past 35 years, Bua Bhat Factory has been developing an increasing range of high-quality products using eco-friendly materials and designs that take inspiration from cultural traditions and nature.
Bua Bhat Factory defines itself as the “Art of Green Home Products.” It conserves resources, using scraps of fabric waste made from natural fiber, which the factory makes into carpets, pillows, lamps and cushions. Their unconventional material influences their unique designs while adding eco-friendly value to their products. The idea for utilizing scraps of fabric came from Wilai’s childhood memories when she was caring for her grandmother, who, when she was a bed-ridden patient, would spend her time sewing pouches from scraps that were sold at the family shop. To Wilai, her grandmother’s works looked rather odd as they lacked uniform shape, yet she saw they were popular among foreign customers. She soon saw that tourists were interested in their handmade products and became aware of the value of scrap fabric. Her love for handicrafts has grown stronger ever since.
At their showroom, the sense of nature is vividly expressed in their products through designs that are like none other. They start work by separating fabric scraps by size and type and then they create shapes imitating things like mushrooms, logs, corals and waterfalls using curled fabric. The scraps can be assembled to look like flowers, mountain streams, pebbles and much more.
Sometimes, their customers choose to hang Bua Bhat’s carpets on their wall to display their magnificent designs rather than put them on the floor. Bua Bhat Factory also produces made-to-order products for customers such as hotels and resorts; these can include wall hangings, area rugs and cushions.
Their unique designs have won them multiple awards. They are a two-time winner of the Prime Minister’s Export Awards. They have won the Prime Minister’s Industrial Award, the Good Design Award Top 100 or G-Mark of Japan, the Chiang Mai Design Award, the G Green Award and many more.