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30 Day Money Back Guarantee
We pride ourselves on offering the highest quality handmade textiles and handicrafts. If you are not delighted with your purchase, return the item in its original condition.
Returns are gladly accepted for 30 days less shipping.
* Items must be in the same condition as when they were shipped. No credit will be given for damaged returns.
If you need to return an item please contact us first by using the email address below. You will then be given instructions on how to send your order back to us.
Due to the variations in monitors, colors of the actual item may vary from the pictures shown and if color fidelity is a concern for you check out our FAQ where we write more about this issue. There will be some variation, but in the test we've done it's minor. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 916-283-4424 or even better our cell at 916-996-4553
If for any reason you wish to return your order, please email the following information to us at email@example.com:
* Your Name * Order Number * Address * City * State * Zip Code * Phone Number * Email Address * Reasons for requesting a return and return instructions will be emailed to you.
Testimonials: Being an Internet business we're sure people wonder what the customers who have ordered from us think. Here are a few of their thoughts:
Last week (2/22/2011) we sold one of our new sinhs, Vientiane Fashion Silk Sinh and Scarf 2011-10. And this is what our customer wrote to us yesterday after receiving the sinh and scarf,
"Hello Peter and Bai, Just wanted to say I received my sinh and scarf today. It has to be the fastest I have ever received a package ordered by internet. Also, the sinh is so beautiful. It is exactly what I expected. Beautiful, beautiful color. I absolutely love it!! I have been looking awhile, but I believe I have found the perfect wedding dress. I will definitely order more in the future, and have already told friends and family about this site. Thank you for the great customer service! - Tina"
She also wrote us before she ordered stating, "I just read the "about us" portion of this page. I just want to thank the both of you for starting this page/business. I am Laotian and am very proud of my cultural heritage and Lao textiles. It is very hard to purchase Lao textiles without going to Laos or having friends/ relatives buy them for you when they visit. I have just ordered a sinh and matching scarf today (Vientiane Fashion Silk Sinh and Scarf 2011-10), and am very excited and can't wait to get it. This definitely won't be my last purchase for sure and I will definitely tell my family about it as well. Please continue to sell these products. I know of many Lao people who have a hard time finding these things. Thanks again."
"Lao Essential Artistry has been wonderful to work with. For my wedding I wanted my bridesmaids to wear traditional Laotian sinhs because I wanted to keep part of my culture in my wedding. Peter and Bai were very helpful on taking specific special orders from me and had the sinh I wanted made. The sinhs were handmade in Laos and shipped to the States about a month later. During this time Peter and Bai kept me up to date on the progress of my order from the sinh being made to shipment to me. They are very responsive to emails and even emailed me photographs of the sinh. I was very happy with the order and so was my wedding party. The sinh looked exactly how Bai described it to me. I appreciate Peter and Bai taking the time to be flexible to accommodate my needs. I did not have to settle for any sinh for my wedding; I got exactly what I wanted. I recommend Lao Essential Artistry to anyone searching for a Laotian sinh and I will use them again. They are a remarkable company to work with and show their customers personal attention to make sure the customer is satisfied. They really did go the extra mile for me and helped make my wedding closer to perfect."
"Hi Peter and Bai, Thank you so much for going above and beyond for me! My mother-in-law checked the mail yesterday and it was there! I love the sinhs and they are so beautiful we will be ordering more from you and Bai in the near future. Thank you so much for the beautiful, beautiful sinhs!" - April 2, 2009
"Hi Peter and Bai, I received the storycloth, and it is everything I hoped it would be. I love it and so does my family. Thank you so much for the description you wrote. I really didn't expect such an in depth description, and I really appreciate everything you wrote about the Hmong culture. It makes it much more interesting when I know what is going on in the storycloth.
I know I will enjoy this storycloth for years to come, and it will be the topic of many conversations. Thanks again." ~ February 28, 2008
"I was surfing the web one day looking to find some sinh fabric. Not finding very many options, I stumbled upon www.gotlaos.com I started looking through the site, finding many beautiful sinhs. I ordered a handful just to see what they would look like in front of me. I was amazed at what I saw when I opened the box. The sinhs were beautiful. They looked even more beautiful front of as they did on the computer screen. The quality and attention to detail that were put into each and every one of my sinhs is phenomenal. I had some questions about other things on the site so I e-mailed Peter and Bai. They responded right away. They were very helpful. The service that I received from them and the sinhs that I got will keep me coming back for more. Thank you, Peter and Bai! ~ Sylvie, Dec. 1, 2008
"I am very happy with my purchase. It is just as described and came quickly. I may even order another story cloth from you. Please put as many options as you can on your website!"
"Thank you so much Peter and Bai. I picked it up just this past Saturday. Thank you so much. It is even more beautiful than in the picture. I look forward purchasing more fabric from you."
"I went through most of the web site last night, and I love it. The cultural references and descriptions are wonderful; so much I don't know (we won't discuss products at this second, but there are many at which I just went "wow")."
Fair Trade: At Laos Essential Artistry we agree that fair trade is a partnership based on dialogue, mutual understanding, respect and direct contact between ourselves and our artisan partners (Ten Thousand Villages). It only seems natural though, to us at Laos Essential Artistry, that if there are strong connections and friendships, fair trade would be a given. But how do you know if fair trade principles are really the guiding light in a business endeavor such as ours? We think that the proof is in our website, reading what we've written, seeing what we're selling, and looking at the totality of what we've done, what we're doing and what we're planning to do in the future, and how we've communicated this in our website. We believe fair trade is about developing empathy, and we like the derivation of the Lao word for empathy which is made up of two words, (hen)( jhai), to (see) into the (heart), which fits in perfectly with the Buddhist term "metta" - which most translate as "loving kindness" but which, in the texts, really means empathy. And through our website, photos, and the textiles and handicrafts we sell, we hope you can see into the heart of Laos Essential Artistry and the Lao artisans and weavers we represent.
At Laos Essential Artistry, we believe fair trade matters the most for artisans and weavers like those in Muang Sing. As we have described in our section pages on the Tai Dam, Mien and the Hmong women who create the Spirit People Cloths, all from Muang Sing, the women don't have adequate access to markets and motivated buyers, and consequently they've benefited the least from the recent influx of tourists to Laos. Fair trade means that we've made the decision to purchase quantities of textiles and handicrafts from each of the groups, without a ready market ourselves. Why? Because we�ve become friends, because we admire their tenacity, creativity and artistry, and because we believe their textiles and handicrafts deserve to be seen and appreciated by American consumers. Fair trade means taking risks, not taking advantage. Many individuals and small groups of artisans/weavers not associated with a gallery or cooperative don�t have the marketing and negotiating power that might guarantee a better likelihood of a fair wage and fair working conditions. Laos Essential Artistry, can in part fill that role through both marketing their textiles and handicrafts and by educating consumers about their lives and cultures.
At Laos Essential Artistry we understand that the quality of a textile is dependent on the structure of the weave and not just the visual appearance of its fibers, and we like to think that all the weavers, artisans and galleries that we represent, the individual yarns and varying patterns, are woven together cohesively in our website in a way that allow you to develop more of a deep understanding and appreciation of these incredibly talented weavers and artisans in Laos. _______________________________________________________________
Color Fidelity Unfortunately, the chances of anyone viewing our website and the photos of our textiles on any particular monitor, from a PC or Mac and seeing the color of the textiles "perfectly" are unlikely. But don't despair, we've done quite a bit of research and looking at the photos/colors of the textiles on our site from both PC's and Mac's, the colors are fairly close, and on the whole, if anything, seem slightly muted. When we click on the "click to enlarge" button for each textile for sale, the enlarged photos of the textiles on both Macs and PC's seem to be much better (richer saturation). So the best way to judge the colors of our textiles is to enlarge the item photos. And on many of the textiles we have multiple images and if there is a tab that states "Additional Image(s)" click on the tab and then click on the individual images to enlarge them. It makes a huge difference!
But even then, since there are hundreds, if not thousands of different kinds of monitors, the myriad variables make it impossible to guarantee that what you see will be exactly what you will get. But it "should" be close, and the odds are the color will be more richly saturated than what you expect, which is a good thing. And if you are disappointed in any way, we have a 100% return guarantee!
Measurements of Textiles The measurements provided for our textiles, for the most part, are fairly accurate. But with textiles being handmade, and measuring not always being an exact science, there may be slight variations. And as is evident on some of the photos edges may not be perfectly straight. In weaving certain textiles, maintaining a straight edge can be very difficult. Because all our textiles are hand-woven on a wooden loom, each piece is unique, reflecting the style and character of the particular weaver/gallery. Slight imperfections are indeed evidence that it is hand-woven by a person, and not made industrially. We consider that a big plus. But if you're unhappy with the handmade quality of any of our textiles, remember, we offer a 100% guarantee!
Natural Dyes vs Chemical Dyes "Traditionally, Lao weavers have used a wide palette of dyes extracted from plants and other natural substances found in the forests. Master dyers jealously guard their recipes for creating rich-hued, long-lasting colors. Weavers replicating traditional textiles use natural dyes, but these dyes have limitations... Many weavers in the urban areas rely upon chemical dyes that assure greater consistency of palette and are more colorfast and faster to prepare. In rural areas, where chemical dyes are expensive, they are used more sparingly � sometimes as a status symbol to show that the family has the wealth to purchase them. Regardless of the source materials, dyeing demands great skill. To achieve lustrous hues using chemical dyes is often as arduous as employing the natural dye process." ~ Mary Connors (Weaving Tradition: Carol Cassidy and Woven Silks of Laos)
We really like what Mary has written here because it is so true. Dyeing of the silk can be very complex, and the decision of whether to use chemical or natural dyes is another critical and crucial aspect of the weaving process that is often under-appreciated. Dyers can often labor in obscurity, and are unsung heros in the weaving process.
Since we emphasize the handmade nature of the textiles and handicrafts we promote and sell here at Laos Essential Artistry we also place an importance on carrying texitles that are naturally dyed and have communicated that in the sections where textiles are naturally dyed.
But we also have some absolutely gorgeous textiles we love to death (especially our Showcase Ikat Textiles) that are chemically dyed and we understand why a weaver/gallery owner will sometimes decide to use chemical dyes. As the Lao say "Tdumjhai", it's up to you to decide!
Feedback: We want your feedback! We're just "opening" this website in August 2008 and realize that there is probably a lot we can do to improve the website for our customers and to facilitate the marketing and selling of Lao textiles and handicrafts. Please, let us know what you think.
Taking care of our textiles / Care Instructions Silk Care Instructions from Ohio State University Extension: Consumer and Textile Sciences
These instructions are as good as any, and of course you just have to be as careful as you can. We will often iron silk textiles with a steam iron at a fairly hot setting with no problems to remove wrinkles. One of the leading textile galleries in Laos told us what they do is spray a fine mist of water on the textile and then iron with a very hot iron. The caveat though, is that the dyes must be colorfast. The textiles we can guarantee that are colorfast that we sell are from Taykeo, Phaeng Mai, Nuaykeo and our Nok Hong Kham brand.
For cleaning, we always recommend dry cleaning for our silk textiles.
How soon will my order be shipped, and when will it arrive?
We will make every effort to see that all orders placed by 3 P.M. Pacific time are shipped out within 2 business days and most times your order will ship the following day. Orders placed on weekends will be processed on the first business day back and shipped out as soon as possible. The actual time an item is in transit can vary from 2 to 5 days, according to your location and seasonal shipping fluctuations.
Product Availability/Special Orders Most of our textiles are one-of-a-kind. If you see something that has already been sold, or you have an idea of a textile you would like custom-woven please let us know and we'll see what we can do. And since our textiles are mostly one-of-a-kind we are not set up to wholesale the textiles we carry. But we are open to the possibility of providing volume discounts on certain textiles in the future and if you're interested please let us know. Obviously, because these textiles are handwoven/hand-embroidered in Laos, providing quick turnaround on custom/volume orders is not really possible. But if you're flexible, we're flexible!
Secure Shopping Experience Shopping with your credit card with Laos Essential Artistry is guaranteed to be safe and secure.
We take extensive steps to process our Internet transactions securely and safely. Our secure server software (SSL) is the industry standard for securing credit card transactions over the Internet.
This software encrypts all your personal information into an unrecognizable code that is securely transmitted from you to us. When this encrypted information reaches our secure server, we translate it back to its original form and store it safely offline and inaccessible through the Internet.
To continue our commitment to your security, every credit card processed is run through an address verification process to verify that the card is registered to the billing address on the order.
We are dedicated to providing you with a secure, worry-free shopping experience.
Privacy: Laos Essential Artistry does not collect any personal financial information about our transactions. Laos Essential Artistry does maintain a database with personal information of clients, such as e-mails and street addresses. We will never generate spam to your account, but if you opt in for newsletters you will receive them from time to time. Names, email addresses and messages sent or received from Laos Essential Artistry will never be sold to any third party.