Myanmar Special Report: Home decor is a special report focusing on suppliers with quality home decor products who have not yet exported from the country. These featured enterprises include Road to Mandalay, Aung Kyaw Oo and Thiri Myanmar Traditional Art & Craft. They offer lacquer-, silver- and bronzeware.
The home decor industry in Myanmar is currently facing stiff competition with neighboring sourcing hubs capable of producing large volumes of items.
The sector is mainly composed of silver-, bronze- and lacquerware, and seashell models. These lines are known for their highly detailed and time-consuming assembly processes, which include painting and engraving. Although global buyers are increasingly becoming interested in intricate pieces that appeal to the midrange and upscale markets, other manufacturing centers such as Vietnam and China are able to fulfill larger volumes of the same quality and complexity.
Myanmar suppliers, however, are depending on its unique cultural heritage to give their products an edge over those that are mass-produced. Lacquered paintings and decorative boxes, silver vases, and bronzeware generally depict the country’s religious and cultural icons. Examples of these are the Buddha, and Kinnara and Kinnari, which are half-human and half-bird lovers famous in folktales. Important historical places such as the Mandalay and Karaweik palace walls, and Shwe Dagon Pagoda are also commonly featured.
|Myanmar home decor overview||Competitive advantages||Challenges||Industry composition|
According to the Myanmar Ministry of Commerce, there is no official category for handicrafts. Instead, the line is grouped into Other, which is composed of items that are not agricultural, animal, and oil and gas products.
Statistics for the last two fiscal years are the only data available for this line. In 2014-15, overseas revenue for Other jumped to $652 million, which is more than 200 percent higher than the previous period. Export forecasts are positive because of the country’s improved policies toward trade and other foreign partnerships.
The main market is the Asia-Pacific region, including Singapore and China. Local suppliers want to establish clientele in the EU and the US but find it difficult to fulfill strict shipping and material requirements.
The industry has several strengths, primary of which is design uniqueness. Aside from religious and cultural icons, suppliers also feature rural scenes such as rice fields, forests and lakes. These intricate paint- and metalwork are only made possible by highly skilled artisans who have received training from experts who have been producing handicrafts for decades.
Availability of raw materials, particularly silver and bronze, is another advantage of the sector. Seashell and wood, however, are not as easily accessible as other natural inputs due to the strict requirements levied by the government to ensure that the natural resources are not exploited. Exporting raw logs has been banned by the national administration since April 2014 to preserve the country’s increasingly depleting forests. This restriction, however, has not been applied to processed or milled timber.
There are some roadblocks to the sector’s progress, primary of which are labor concerns.
Since most manufacturing processes are manually done, highly skilled workers are needed to do metal- and woodwork. Training for young artisans usually takes a year to be completed, slowing down productivity. Compounding this problem is the lack of technology needed to boost efficiency. Neighboring countries such as Vietnam are also adept at creating handicrafts, but they have more and better equipment to handle large orders.
Aside from unskilled workers, another manpower concern is employees’ lack of knowledge about export processes, international requirements, designing and marketing. Although the shift to a democratic government has allowed the country to be opened to modern business practices, it will take more assistance from the government to train and educate manufacturers.
Since the handicraft sector is small, there are no official records that determine the number of supplier base. The majority, however, is SMEs, which are usually family-owned.
Small companies generally specialize in bronze- and lacquerware. They have fewer than 10 permanent workers. Annual revenue is below $60,000.
Midsize suppliers focus on seashell items. They are staffed by up to 30 full-time employees. Total sales can reach $80,000 every year.
There are no large makers in the industry.
Yangon is the primary sourcing hub because of better infrastructure for shipping and receiving goods, including raw materials. It is also where the tourists flock to see temples and other historical sites.
Suppliers are employing various detailing methods to improve overall look of models. Handcarved patterns and lacquer-coated motifs are some of the widely used to invigorate the line. The latter is particularly featured in bowls, flower vases and ornamental boxes. Floral, animal and geometric engravings are likewise incorporated to boost aesthetics.
A variety of materials are utilized to widen selections of home decor. Silver and brass are extensively adopted because of their ready availability and versatility. Decorative plates and bowls, and statuettes normally feature these types of metal.
Designs are normally provided by clients. Some enterprises, however, engage in ODM manufacturing. They employ two to five staff members, who also serve as QC inspectors. Up to 10 models are launched every month.
Quotes vary according to the kind of material and accessories used, and style complexity. Makers that target domestic buyers generally focus on basic products. Suppliers often emphasize mid-range and upscale versions.
Small items such as photo frames and decorative plates with embossed trimming typically comprise the low end. Bamboo and wood are the top material option for this price point. Quotes are from $1 to $10.
Mid-range releases are often made of silver, brass and bronze. They are usually coated with lacquer, while some have eggshell or mother-of-pearl inlay. Statuettes with hand-carved patterns are included in this classification. Prices start at $11 and reach $200.
High-end variants utilize the same materials with the mid-range but feature more elaborate accents. They are also larger and have better construction. Quotes normally exceed $200.
Home decor price guide
|Price guide: Lacquerware|
|Less than $7
Bamboo or MDF base; three to six lacquer layers; no inlay; no motifs
|$7 to $40
Bamboo, MDF, plywood or jackfruit wood base; seven to 12 lacquer layers; eggshell, mother-of-pearl or stone inlay, and silver or gold leaf
|More than $40
MDF, plywood or jackfruit wood base; 13 to 28 lacquer layers; mother-of-pearl, abalone shell or horn inlay, and silver or gold leaf; intricate painted motifs; velvet or satin lining
|Price guide: Seashell items|
|$2 to $15
Cutlery and dinnerware; seashell or mother-of-pearl; basic design; available in sets
|$15 to $40
Paintings and vases; seashell and mother-of-pearl; large
|More than $40
Vase, paintings and bowls; seashell and mother-of-pearl; customized; available in sets
|Price guide: Silver- & bronzeware|
|$30 to $100
Vase, jars or decorative boxes; brass and bronze; basic design; small
|$100 to $500
Vase, bowls, decorative boxes; silver; floral or geometric engraving; large
|More than $500
Paintings, statuettes, religious items; silver; floral, animal or geometric engraving; available in sets
Home decor suppliers
Road to Mandalay
Road to Mandalay was established in 2006 and specializes in lacquerware. Product lines include pottery and vases. The US is the sole export market.
All production processes are subcontracted to the handicraft village of MyinKa Bar in Bagan city. The company also offers wooden furniture, jade products, wall tapestries and marionettes. The primary challenge it faces is catering to bulk orders.
|Road to Mandalay products|
Aung Kyaw Oo
Established in 1971 at the Sagaing region, Aung Kyaw Oo specializes in silverware, including ritual cups and bowls, and traditional instruments. Religious and cultural icons such as the Buddha are the commonly used motifs.
All production processes are subcontracted to handicraft villages. The owner performs QC on all finished items. The company also offers brassware.
|Aung Kyaw Oo products|
Thiri Myanmar Traditional Art & Craft
Thiri Myanmar was established in 1996 as a souvenir shop for visitors and specializes in brass- and bronzeware. The main export markets are Thailand, China, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Japan through trading agents.
The company is a member of the Union of Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industries. It has participated in trade shows in Thailand and China.
|Thiri Myanmar Traditional Art & Craft products|
Supplier locations map
Myanmar potential home decor suppliers
Click company names below marked Active to view verified suppliers and products featured on Globalsources.com.
|Suppliers featured on
||Supplier Status||Lacquerware||Silver- and bronzeware|
To contact these companies, please email our export consultants in Myanmar here with the specific company names and products you are interested in.
|Suppliers||Lacquerware||Silver- and bronzeware|
|Aung Kyaw Oo||✓|
|Ba Soe Au||✓|
|Road to Mandalay||✓|