In 2010, Aimi Duong set off to Bangkok, Thailand to study and backpack around Southeast Asia. Originally planning to stay for 4 months, she remained for 16, traveling through impoverished areas of Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Malaysia. After witnessing poverty firsthand and meeting kind and hardworking people who struggled to live a dignified life, Duong wanted to do her part in creating change and promoting peace by sharing these people’s stories. She spent some time in weaving villages in northern Thailand, where she discovered beautiful handwoven textiles. The craft lacked exposure to the wider world, however, so Duong decided to help the local artisans sell their products to new markets so they could earn a consistent income and raise their standard of living.
Duong founded Oimei in 2012 to sell fair trade home decor and accessories from Thailand and surrounding countries. She aims to empower women to rise above poverty as well as share their crafts and stories to the world.