Who We Are
Xinh Boutique is a leather handbag and accessories brand based in Ho Chi Minh City. Our bags are handmade in Vietnam using traditional H’mong Ethnic Group woven textiles from the Sapa region of Northern Vietnam. Our vegetable-tanned leather is soft, supple, and has not been treated with any chemicals. Because our bags are handcrafted, each one is a unique work of wearable art.
Our team is small but dedicated to creating one-of-a-kind handbags with material that can only be found here in Vietnam. And aside from our American founder, we only employ local Vietnamese and H’mong artisans.
The word “xinh” is Vietnamese for “beautiful” and we hope that’s the word you’ll use to describe our vibrantly colored, thoughtfully designed leather handbags and accessories!
Meet Our TEAM
Valerie Wheatley is the founder of Xinh Bags and the chief handbag designer. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Valerie sold most of her worldly possessions and left the US to travel the world on several occasions, most recently in 2016.
Valerie and her husband have visited over 60 countries but as soon as they stepped foot in Ho Chi Minh City, it felt like home. When they found out they were pregnant in 2019 they decided Vietnam would be the perfect place to raise a baby and they settled in HCMC in September of 2019.
While Valerie doesn’t necessarily have experience in the fashion design industry, she does have a lot of experience in the fashion purchasing industry. And she’s been buying leather handbags all over the world. But she’s never been able to find the perfect bag that fit her colorful sense of style. So she decided to design one herself.
If you want to read more about Val’s around-the-world adventures, she also runs a travel blog – wanderingwheatleys.com. And if you want to read more about her mom-life experience, she also has a blog for that – badmomadvice.com.
A Hang Thi
A Hang Thi is a H’mong woman who lives in the northern region of Sapa in Vietnam. When Val’s husband traveled to Vietnam in 2008 he hired a young girl to be his trekking guide. And when he and Val returned in 2017 they decided to look her up so they showed a photo of this darling little 13-year-old girl to a few locals around Sapa, and within a few hours, they were drinking beers with A!
If you don’t know anything about H’mong culture, it is fascinating. They generally marry quite young (under the age of 18) and either work in the rice fields, or in tourism. Boys choose what girl they want to marry by essentially kidnapping her and holding her hostage for a few days while their parents arrange the details of the marriage (but don’t worry, the girl can decline if she’s not interested).
A is no different. As a teenager, she was married with two children that she would take with her when she acted as a trekking guide for foreigners visiting Sapa. She taught herself to speak English and began earning money for her family at a very young age.
Today A’s adorable babies live in Denmark with their father and A continues to work as a trekking guide in Sapa. She is learning to write in English so that she can continue to build her business. And she goes to the markets around Sapa to purchase the H’mong textiles that are integrated into every Xinh handbag and accessory.
If you are traveling to Sapa and want an amazingly friendly and outgoing trekking guide, you’ll have to give A a call!
Humphrey Wheatley was born in Vietnam in January of 2020 and immediately embraced the culture of this spectacular country. He loves peeking into his mom’s Xinh handbag to find all of his yummy snacks and favorite treasures. And he especially loves posing for photos with his mom while she rocks her favorite Xinh bag.
We like to think that Humphrey is the cutest baby on the planet and that our Xinh bags are pretty darn cute too. And the two of them together are an unbeatable combination.
Check out the Xinh Boutique Instagram page to see more of Humphrey’s adorable modeling shots!