With multiple locations scattered across the Ancient Town, Da Bao Real Leather Hoi An has made quite a name for itself as the ‘go-to’ customized shop not just for Hoi An leather bags but for a range of products. Leather lovers, get ready to feel like a kid in a candy store. Upon entering one of Da Bao’s stores you’re instantly treated to rows and rows of the best leather products, ranging from wallets to duffle bags, belts, fashion sandals and much more. With such a wide selection, there’s something at Da Bao for everyone on your shopping list and then some.
About Da Bao Real Leather
The store’s namesake, Bao, and his wife, Tram, run a tight operation with over 50 employees, including their team of English-speaking salespersons and expert artisans. Bao and Tram have spent the last decade of their life perfecting the Hoi An leather shopping experience at their shops and it shows.
Friendly salespersons float about, ready to answer your questions the second those eyebrows rise but they’re never pushy. Instead, they opt to stand back when possible, giving you plenty of space to shop. Tram tells me the staff takes regular training lessons in English to eliminate mis-communication when helping customers.
Design a Leather Bag
After some chatting and plenty of browsing, I picked out my first Hoi An leather bag to customize and was ushered over to the wallet section to choose a type of leather. Following Tram’s advice, I settled on a darker, reddish leather from an array of colors and finishes (both full grain and top grain). The shop features buffalo skin, cow skin, suede leather, or go wild and opt for crocodile instead. ‘Da Bao offers only 100% real leather,’ Tram said, ‘We’re the only Hoi An leather shop that does. Our prices are fixed, so no need to bargain!’
As we chatted, my salesperson comes over to hand me a completed order form. Transaction done. As easy as mot-hai-ba!
Design Leather Shoes
In addition to their Hoi An leather bags, another big seller at Da Bao Real Leather Hoi An is the footwear. Terry, my fellow Hoi An Now volunteer, recently made the trip to the shop and scored himself a pair of Birkenstock-esque slip-ons for just under 20 USD (460,000 VND). He was able to buy his size 44 sandals off-the-rack at Da Bao, but not to worry if you can’t fit the sandals perfectly – they’ll tailor those babies to fit your feet bespoke-wise instead.
Is Da Bao Leather Genuine?
Now, I know what you must be thinking right about now. You’re probably wondering if you can truly trust that Da Bao’s leather is authentic. After all, you’ve probably been warned about all those shopping scams. It’s only fair to wonder if you’re really purchasing the best leather products here. Well, fear not and read on. Here are a few simple tips to help ensure that you are, in fact, purchasing genuine leather in Vietnam.
First, use your nose. Fake leather goods often have that artificial, chemical smell, whereas real leather will have a slightly mild, sweet, and earthy scent. Terry and I both picked up on this sweet scent hanging in the air at Da Bao. Next, look out for imperfections. See pores and blemishes? That’s a good sign. Real leather shouldn’t be perfect as it is animal skin. Lastly, press on the material and observe. Does it wrinkle a little like when you press on your arm? Can you feel a slight bit of bounce and plasticity? If so, these are signs of real leather.
If it looks, smells, and acts like real leather, continue on with confidence. Now that you’re prepared, go forth and check out Da Bao’s leather for yourself. No need to take our word for it!
How Long Does the Process Take?
For patrons on a tight deadline, Da Bao can deliver the best Hoi An leather bags and products straight to your Hoi An hotel in just three short hours. They also offer shipping, if needed (subjected to local postal charges). If you choose not to customize your goods, pick up one of the ready-to-wear options at Da Bao instead and be on your merry way. There are plenty of options, such as leather bags, belts, wallets, and more to choose from.
Meet the Artisans at Da Bao Leather
If you have a half hour of free time, it’s worth making the 5-minute Honda trip from the Ancient Town to meet the artisans and see how your accessories are crafted. Next time you’re in the shop, feel free to let any salesperson know you’d like a tour and they’ll help set it up.
Then, get ready to stand back and watch in awe as Da Bao’s team of artisans gather around huge sheets of real Vietnam leather, measuring and cutting away. In the corner, a small leather stamp machine heats up, getting ready to press that famous ‘Da Bao Real Leather’ logo on your new bag. Once you manage to tear your eyes from the hypnotic movements of those sewing machines, don’t forget to take a big whiff and let that leather smell engulf your lungs.
The Da Bao Real Leather Finished Product
I ended my visit to Da Bao Real Leather Hoi An by picking up my brand new Hoi An leather bag at the store (modeled here by Bao himself). The leather is supple and soft. Compared with a similar Madewell tote that’s typically priced at 175 USD (4 million VND), mine is definitely a steal and I couldn’t be happier!
This depends on the product and material used. But for example, my tote was a size S and 1,499,000VND (65 USD). Sizing up a bag results in an incremental price increase of 15% (Size M, L, and XL are all available). Smaller leather goods such as a wallet can cost around 400,000VND (17 USD); simple flip-flops 500,000VND (21 USD); fashion sandals 800,000VND (34 USD). Have something more specific in mind? Stop by the shop to get an estimate. Don’t worry; there will be no pressure to make a purchase if you’re not ready.
See Leather Hoi An for more Hoi An Leather Shops