Ton Van: The hidden champion of shell buttons from Vietnam


Ton Thanh Nghia, founder of Ton Van Company Limited, is a successful businessman in the shell button-producing industry in Vietnam. The company has a reputation for producing quality products that have satisfied both local consumers and international button distributors in developed countries such as the UK, France, and the USA. The company’s clientele list includes international luxury fashion brands such as Burberry, Dior, Escada, Ralph Lauren and Alantino. Mr. Nghia is considered a hidden champion in the shell-button industry. Mr. Nghia's early life was influenced by the 1975 Vietnamese Victory, and he inherited a flair for trading through his family-owned small business. He pursued an undergraduate degree in Water Resources at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and worked in the public sector after graduation, but eventually started his own start-up to have a better income. In the 1990s, the Vietnamese Government started to open up the economy, and Mr. Nghia seized opportunities by learning foreign languages such as Japanese and English to increase his chances of being recruited by a foreign company. After working for a Japanese company that produced shell buttons in Vietnam, he left to start his own company. The biggest challenge in the early years was the shortage of equipment and capital. Despite this, Ton Van survived, and Mr. Nghia bought land to build his own factory and stabilize his business. In his 25 years in the industry, Mr. Nghia highlighted three main criteria that most customers seek: quality, price, and delivery time. He believes that quality plays an important role in differentiating Ton Van from other competitors. The company’s annual revenue is around US$2 million. Mr. Nghia has diversified his business by investing in the hydropower and ginseng trades to benefit his local communities.

BLUSAIGON, a premium pearl-inlaid pen brand that makes handcrafted pens from seashells

Ton Van’s export shell accessories