Getting to Know the Best Tailor in Hoi An: Miss Forget-Me-Not

Getting to Know the Best Tailor in Hoi An: Miss Forget-Me-Not
UPDATE (2017): I have been contacted by friends of Ms. Forget-Me-Not’s family and, in line with recent comments on this blog post, I can no longer stand by her services. I’ve heard from many people who’ve had poor experiences recently, but leave this blog post up as a register of my experience which was, and is, to this day, a wonderful memory.

I had been planning on getting a suit made ever since I heard about Hoi An.

This small Vietnamese town is world-renowned for its tailors and it’s the place where many travelers stop in for a low-priced, tailor-made suit or dress. The prices are remarkably cheap by western standards and, assuming you get your clothes made at the right place, you could be walking away with Armani-quality suits at a fraction of the price.

A tailor-made suit is USD$100, a fitted button-down is $17 and a ball-gown will sell for $45. With prices like this, it’s no wonder so many travelers leave Hoi An with heavier bags than they arrived with.

Ten years ago there weren’t even 30 tailors in Hoi An. Now there are thousands. Yes, thousands. Tailors are Hoi An’s business. You can’t walk down any side street without passing at least five of them. There’s even a dedicated cloth market which must hold at least two hundred of them. Unfortunately, with that kind of competition, there is bound to be a dark side.

Hoi An Tailors

Hoi An Tailors, Cloth Market

The Dark Side of Hoi An Tailors

Three years ago, Michael, of Art of Adventuring, visited Hoi An. He wanted to find out more about what happens behind the scenes in this town filled of cloth, so he visited the famous Miss Forget-Me-Not, a local tailor who is well-known for crafting superb products at incredibly low prices.

He sat down to interview her and, during their chat, she began to cry; as it turns out, competition is cutthroat, and Miss Forget-Me-Not had been the subject of abuse. She didn’t play by the same rules as the rest of the tailors, so they would wreck her shop, threaten her with abuse and steal her customers. She was only trying to run an honest business and, in doing so, became an unpopular figure around town.

But that didn’t stop her.

(Read the full article on Art of Adventuring: The Darker Side of the Tailors of Hoi An)

The Best Tailor in Hoi An

The Best Tailor in Hoi An

Finding Miss Forget-Me-Not

Miss Forget-Me-Not is a little bit of a TripAdvisor sensation. Her small shop having amassed more than 70 reviews in total, people know her and she’s famed as the best tailor in Hoi An. She does good work. And given that she had met Michael, I decided to stop in, get a suit made, and see how she was getting along three years later.

I had done some research ahead of time and learned that there was a new Miss Forget-Me-Not! Apparently, the woman at stall number 20 in the Cloth Market was no longer the real one. I approached her about it, in my most journalistic of ways, and even mentioned Michael’s name in passing. “MICHAEL!?” this woman exclaimed. Then, very quietly, while scribbling something on paper, she said to me, “I am her sister. Go to this address. She will be happy to see you.”

Hoi An Cloth Market, Stall 20

Hoi An Cloth Market, Stall 20

I made my way to 37 Phan Chau Trinh Street, in downtown Hoi An, and introduced myself. She asked lots of questions about Michael before moving on to me, and made sure that my friends and I were well looked after. She immediately treated me as though I was kin. She kept her shop open late just for the refitting and she was caring and attentive to everybody I saw her with.

Due to previous incidents at the cloth market, in which her shop had been wrecked and she had been threatened with violence, Miss Forget-Me-Not was forced to move. It took her a number of years, but in the final half of 2013, she finally got away from the frenzy of the cloth market.

But it’s better that way. The cloth market is an assault on your senses. It’s stimulation overload. Vietnamese women will attack you with measuring tapes and force photos of Gucci suits directly in your line of vision. You have to be good at saying no and playing along with their games. Or you just learn to ignore them, which feels rude, but becomes a necessity.

All of Vietnam is like this. You can’t trust anyone, especially when it comes to your money. Hawkers and locals assail you, asking you to buy something from them…telling you to buy something! They shout and get angry when you don’t buy their goods, as if your “western privilege” requires you to do so. But Miss Forget-Me-Not left the sales pitch at the door. She didn’t pressure me, her prices were fair and she she was very upfront. Like she told me at the beginning, she’s just trying to run an honest business.

Jeremy, Miss Forget-Me-Not and sister, Rose.

Modeling off my new suit with Miss Forget-Me-Not and her sister, Rose.

The Best Tailor in Hoi An

Many people get suits made for the novelty or simply so they can have a nice suit in their closet at home (raise your hand if you own one suit or less). My decision to get one made was more of a necessity.

As I am also a cocktail bartender, my wardrobe consists of waistcoats, blazers, suspenders and pocket-squares. My closet (or rucksack) often resembles that of a 1920’s bootlegger and I couldn’t wait to get fitted for a three-piece suit. She put together a beautiful ensemble, and I was overjoyed with the result. She’s a true gem.

Now, it’s important to realize that one woman cannot make suits for an influx of travelers on a daily basis while also running a shop. She needs a team behind her to mange the busy work. It’s run by her uncle and they only hire the best. To my amazement, she brought me to see it. Stepping into the factory, I had this overwhelming “WOAH” moment in which I was transported into another world. The streets of Vietnam are still streets, and I have been on many streets in my life. Never have I been in a Vietnamese suit factory, however. It was a giddy moment in which I saw another side of local life that the majority of other travelers never encounter.

The suit factory where everything gets made

Getting things done at the suit factory

A Vietnamese Adoption

She took me in and treated me like family during my stay in Hoi An. She looked after me, pointed me in the right direction, ensured I was fed, and told me the local secrets.

Not only will Miss Forget-Me-Not hook you up with some beautiful clothes, but she will take you under her wing if you let her. If you’re all business, that’s fine–she can be, too. But if you are willing to take the time to get to know her, and treat her with a little bit of love, she will give it right back. Every time I stepped into her shop I felt like I was returning home to my family. Her sister, Rose, made regular appearances, and the rest of her colleagues, friends and family were always hanging around, helping, talking, laughing, and simply being wonderfully friendly and welcoming people. It was truly a pleasure getting to know them.

I was so happy to see Miss Forget-Me-Not thriving and, despite her issues at the cloth market, she is moving forward and now operates out of a gorgeous new store. If you’re ever in Hoi An, I hope you’ll stop in for a visit.

And tell her Jeremy says hello 🙂

Monkeying around with Miss Forget-Me-Not (left) and her friends

Monkeying around with Miss Forget-Me-Not (left) and her friends

More Information

Name: Miss Forget-Me-Not
Address: 37 Phan Chau Trinh St, Hoi An, Vietnam
Phone: 051 0391 9075 or 0906 543 075
Notes: You can visit her old shop at stall number 20 in the cloth market, where you might find her sister Rose, another lovely woman. The Cloth Market is worth a visit in itself, but for a less intense experience (read: full-on assault by Vietnamese women trying to take your measurements) visit her new location.


READ NEXT: How to Travel the World with Carry-On Luggage Only


Disclaimer: This post was not paid for or biased due to any affiliation with Miss Forget-Me-Not. I had a wonderful experience with her and my only goal is to share it with you.

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50 Responses to Getting to Know the Best Tailor in Hoi An: Miss Forget-Me-Not

  1. Nic Pelegri January 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    That sounds awesome! If I’m ever there, she’s on my list! My wardrobe is remarkably similar, ony for no good reason. 🙂

  2. Michael January 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    I’m so glad you met up with her and wrote this article! Since your visit, she has emailed me a few times. Super sweet! I’m glad she’s doing better.

    • Jeremy Foster January 8, 2014 at 3:26 am #

      Me too! It was a pleasure getting to know her 🙂

  3. Amanda Williams January 7, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    I’ll be in Hoi An later this month – I will definitely drop in and say hello! I’m sadly only there for 2 nights, so I’m not sure if that’s long enough to get something made… but if it is I will be sure to give her my business!

    • Jeremy Foster January 8, 2014 at 3:27 am #

      Oh great! Do make sure you stop in and say hello. Hoi An is very cool–have fun!

  4. Dan @ A Cruising Couple January 7, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

    We passed through Hoi An on our cycling trip and loaded down out bags considerably by doing so :-p Luckily we were on bikes or I would have bought much more! I had no idea about how intense the competition is, but I guess there are soooo many shops that it’s tough. Good to hear she is doing well 🙂

    • Jeremy Foster January 8, 2014 at 3:27 am #

      Yeah it’s pretty remarkable, and it’s something that’s quite easy to gloss over. Hope you got some good stuff, nonetheless!

  5. Tiffany January 11, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    We will be in Hoi An tomorrow and plan on a visit to her store. Can’t wait to get a couple of suits and dresses made. Thanks for the wonderful article.

    • Jeremy Foster January 12, 2014 at 4:30 am #

      Have an amazing visit! Let us know how it goes!

  6. Agness January 13, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    I lived in Hanoi for like 2 weeks and seen a lot of local tailor shops there. Never been to any, but great to see you made friends with the owner. Great experience and nice suit mate!

    • Jeremy Foster January 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

      Haha thanks!! Hanoi is a cool little town, huh?

      • Agness January 16, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

        Yes, so hectic!

  7. Green Global Travel January 16, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Looks like you find a gem! Thank you for sharing this great post with us. 🙂

  8. Vanessa January 19, 2014 at 1:28 am #

    I will be heading here next. Do you have a contact for Miss Forget Me Not? Any words of advice for the town? Did you get any clothing made any other places?

    • Jeremy Foster January 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

      Hi Vanessa! All of her details, including address and phone number, are at the end of the article. As for advice about the town? Make sure you visit Banh Mi Phuong near the Cam Nam Bridge! Best banh mi in town!

  9. forget me not January 28, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

    thank you so much jeremy

  10. Jennifer Dombrowski February 9, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    What a great story! Miss Forget Me Not sounds like a wonderful lady and I hope she continues to do well.

  11. Raphael Alexander Zoren February 23, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    Looking sharp! Tales like this make me regain my hope about tailors in South East Asia 😀

  12. Sandra March 19, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

    Hi Jeremy, your Blogpost made our decision easy where to go in Hoi an. I mentioned your name and this story and she became a big smile. We made a very good experience! Of the 7 pieces were just one to be changed. And she did it immeditly: hop on the vespa with me, drive to the workingplace and made changes right in front of my eyes.
    Result is amazing. We would go back to her again! Very lovely people.

    • Jeremy Foster March 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      That is AMAZING! I’m so happy that you went to see her! I’m really enjoying hearing the stories about the people who have visited her since writing this article.

      It’s also great to hear that you had such a wonderful experience with her overall. She’s such a cool lady, she has a good-natured family, and it’s heartwarming to know that you had the same kind of experience as me. Have an incredible time on your travels!

  13. patricia & philipp April 13, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    it seems that she / her work changed a lot 🙁 read your article and descided to go to her – but she and her sister were pushy, too agressiv selling and unfortunately not honest. we ordered quite a lot and got other materials and even not the right colour. on top of that 2 dresses weren’t ready at the time we had to leave 🙁 so i guess the good reviews sometimes turn it to the other direction unfortunately…

    • Jeremy Foster April 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

      I’m sorry you had a poor experience. Unfortunately I can’t speak to this, as I’m not privy to all the details, but I will say that I had a wonderful experience with her and I know many others have as well. I hope you still managed to get some things that you like!

  14. Penelope August 5, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    Hi Jeremy, Would you know how long it takes to get a dress/ shirt/ skirt/ pants made? Many thanks. Penelope

  15. Bac Si Hoa My October 20, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    Just Go Here Hoi An “forget me not”.and made suits, one full day 24 hours can take. No need to ask price from other shops. This shop is very near to Japanese bridge
    I made my nice and good quality suits at 37 Phan Chau Trinh Street, in downtown Hoi An “forget me not”.
    Price is very reasonable just tell her how much money that customer want to made for .
    I Bac Si from Church order a full suits 117and 3 long pants cost 100. Total 217 us Dollars Hoi An is very good to stay , eat and enjoy beer.
    Time , Cost and Quality is the main issue to customer. chúc lành cho tất cả các bạn hạnh phúc GOD BLESS YOU

  16. KL January 21, 2015 at 2:32 am #

    Hey

  17. KL January 21, 2015 at 2:39 am #

    I shopped around and ultimately went to her store because of your article. She and get family are doing well and I even showed her your picture in this article. She says hi and says she remembers you. I bought a 3 piece suit, shirt and shoes from her at very very fair price $200 USD. I chose from her best pile if fabrics which other stores charged 2-3+ times as much. The turn around time was less than 24 hrs and they sent my jacket back back a few times because she wanted it to be perfectly adjusted to my body. She sends her kind regards to you. Cheers.

    • Jeremy Foster January 21, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

      Hi KL! I am so happy that you went to see her and that you had such a wonderful experience with her. I still have my suit that I bought from her over a year ago, and I wear it regularly. Glad to hear that you got such a good price and are happy with your purchase!

  18. Gabi February 1, 2015 at 1:23 am #

    Based on this blog post I decided to go to Miss Forget Me Not for a pair of pants and some tops made that were copied off garments I provided. It seems that this woman you describe is long gone- I saw some material I liked in her shop and she bluntly told me if I wasn’t going to buy, she wouldn’t show me the material. Eventually I agreed even though I found this to be poor business. After going for a fitting for the pants, they didn’t quite fit right around my ankles, so I politely requested that they be changed, I was met with excuse and excuse from her and her sister, saying that they couldn’t make it exactly the same (fair enough). At the final fitting one of the tops was overlocked in the wrong colour- which I pointed out. At this stage I was absolutely verbally assaulted by both her and her sister. They screamed at me as my boyfriend calling me picky, saying I wasn’t a tailor, and that they couldn’t do it perfectly. They screamed at my boyfriend to get out of the shop and when we simply tried to explain that we wanted changes made her sister rose was open to it, but miss forget me not became absolutely hysterical screaming at the top of her lungs and reducing me to tears. Absolutely horrible experience. Don’t buy into this “victim” facade, she clearly has no idea how to run a business.

  19. Dave February 13, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    Hey Jeremy,

    Read your article and I am interested in getting a suit and some pants tailored by Miss Forget me not. However, I’m only going to be there 3 days, what’s the approximate turn around time for her? I might have missed it in your article but how long did it take you to get your suit tailored to your liking, including number of fittings that she needed to get it right for you (granted # of fittings is different with each person’s body)? Thanks a bunch.

  20. Phu Quoc March 12, 2015 at 3:07 am #

    I am in Hoi An now and things are not that cheap. I think if you want something custom, you are better off going to Bangkok. The astronomical rise in the US dollar has made everything more expensive here!

    Plus the suits do not really look good.

  21. Mark April 22, 2015 at 1:24 am #

    Hey there. What a difference a year makes. I wish I had read these comments before going into miss forget me not yesterday, 21 April 2015. I had a terrible experience. Both her and her sister were rude, and nanaged to be both pushy and disinterested at the same time. I’m a very easy going person, and have never really done much online commenting in the negative, but the experience I had was so far removed from the one described by the author, that I felt I owed it to others!

    One of the first things she insisted on, was that I pay up front. I told her that that was OK, but I didn’t have the money on me and we agreed to choose colours, fabrics etc and I would return to my home stay and pick up the cash. We had picked out a fabric for the suit and shirt, and I was looking at lining fabric, when she closed the book and told me she would have no more time for me until I brought the money. I reminded her that we had already agreed on this, but she wouldn’t budge. Throughout the whole experience, I was the only person in the shop, but any question I asked (there were not many) was answered with a scowl, or not at all. I mentioned this article, when I arrived, but she was more concerned with telling me that if I was not interested in buying a suit and paying up front, to not waste her time. There are several more examples of negativity I could list, but I’ve written enough!

    I’m glad I decided to go someplace else where I was engaged with, and welcomed into the shop.

    No doubt she was once everything you wrote about, but it seems miss forget me not forgot.

  22. cheryl May 26, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    Jeremy
    What a wonderful article ..i am travelling to Hoian in August my third visit.. so i will give MIss Forget Me Not a go. Previous visits with tailors have not been a successful experience. Do you know of any jewellers in hoian you could recommend.
    Thanks cheryl

    • Jeremy Scott Foster June 7, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

      Unfortunately not. But have a great time! Hoi An is such an interesting place.

    • Jill December 6, 2015 at 8:58 am #

      Hey Mark,

      True to that ! haha Miss forget me not, forgot her honesty 🙂 hehe. Right now, I am in Hoi An and kinda half minded on whether I should get a dress tailored. Hence, I was just googling on it and found this thread, this thread definitely, helping me to make up my mind. I think not only Miss forget me not but 99% of the sellers or people who are in business here have gone so far depending on tourist for survival that they just cannot think of anything else now but getting the most out of tourist. This what happens when a small village/town starts to look outsiders for their economic survival. Everything revolves around tourist and hence tourist has to bear the brunt. The nice, genuine & friendly attitude of the residents towards tourist automatically changes to rude, dishonest & superficial. The downside of being too touristy and no other ways of generating money. The economy is entirely tourism and we nothing but ATM machines. Vang Viang in Laos was worst! also Siem Reap. Now the other day they were charging $ 30/$ 50/$25 for 1ltr petrol in local shops. When we asked why that price? they just told us ‘ no’ ‘u go’ haha. So, ya we have faced lot of rude behavior like that. Also, for the first time in Hoi An I saw minimarts shopkeepers, inviting people walking pass by, to buy something. I understand cloths shops, restaurants etc but Minimarts ?? This is heights! And wow such inflated price in minimarts. I miss Bangkok 😉 ( Well, atleast we could bargain in Bangkok, here there is no chance,) Anyways, my point was that yes I wouldn’t be surprised if Miss forget me not, changed, cause, she must have been getting lot of customers and now she has the liberty to act pricey, and her business is doing well so she can afford to hike her price and lower her quality ( thats what happens mostly in Asia when a business is doing well , the quality instead of going better, only deteriorates) so sad…

  23. Xander July 21, 2015 at 8:58 am #

    Hi Jeremy, I’m with ‘Miss Forget me Not’ in her shop and she wanted to send you a message after I showed her this post that essentially bright me here…

    She says “I am very grateful to you very much and hope to see you one day if you come back to Hoi An”

    Enjoy your travels, enjoying the blog!

  24. Jill December 6, 2015 at 9:09 am #

    Inspite of all the bad reviews, I will give miss forget me not the benefit of doubt and go check her out myself, and see whether she seriously changed 😉 good fun !

    • Jeremy Scott Foster December 8, 2015 at 11:47 pm #

      She’s gotten mostly good reviews as far as I can tell, though some people are bound to have a bad experience–it happens with any business, anywhere in the world. Do report back! I’ll be interested to hear.

  25. Jess January 6, 2016 at 10:26 pm #

    Interested to hear any recent reports as I’ll be heading there in May this year!

  26. Ram February 20, 2016 at 5:55 am #

    I have visited the store and had a similar rude experience. First we were told that they are busy and to come back in half an hour, which was a first ‘”clue”.
    We returned an hour later. No hello or good afternoon, she “what do you want”, us” to buy a suit”, she “how many?” Us “1” she is not impressed, does not show material, we start to look at fabrics she keeps working on some fabric loop uninterested. We are looking for mirror and she points to the door telling us that in her store people pay first and then get the suite. It got even wirder, we selected a fabric and asked for price. She asked for our budget and would not tell us the price of a suite, simply refused. Eventually we left after she told us to return only when we are ready to buy. Now, objectively, when a guy comes to the store with his wife, he is ready to buy! Her selection of fabrics is limited. Her attitude is a major problem and I can see how she is got enemies and merchants/people who see her as impacting the clients in general. Even her price was not exremly low for fabric which was so-so. Fortunately, she has some internet friends but in all honesty save your time and forget her.

    • Jeremy Scott Foster February 22, 2016 at 7:18 am #

      I’m sorry you had a bad experience with her, Ram. I can only speak to my experience with her, which was two years ago and wonderful.

      It’s also worth noting that customer service in Asia and customer service in western countries are very, very different. I can definitely see why it might rub some people the wrong way.

  27. Lorena Rosenberg February 20, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

    HI JEREMY

    I am looking to go to Vietnam in a few months to have some dresses made for my photography studio, however i would like to talk to miss forget me not on the phone if possible
    Lorena Rosenberg 801 755 0589 UDA

    Lorena Rosenberg

  28. Doug March 9, 2016 at 4:30 am #

    She is NOT what this review suggests.

    Rude and pushy, shooed me out of her shop add I walked up to her!

    I think her reputation has gone to her head.

  29. Eliana November 8, 2016 at 4:00 am #

    Hello. Me and my boyfriend just went to her store. Nov 8 2016. she came out and said you have to buy right now because I have no time for you. Come back in one hour or two. The place was empty. My boyfriend was shocked we couldn’t even say anything. He said are you serious and she replied yes just leave!!! . After being in Hoi An almost for a week we found many other very nice ladies and excellent tailors. There is no need to deal with this kind of person. The people writing this blog might have been tricked. We tried to buy a bag from another lady and she used the crying technique. She tried to sell a bag for 2 times the price of it while tearing up and telling a sob story.

    • Jeremy Scott Foster November 11, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

      Hey Eliana, I’m really sorry to hear that you had a poor experience with her. I’ve been hearing a few stories like yours lately, and I’ve even been contacted by some of her family regarding the popularity, fame, and success this article has brought her. When I visited Miss FMN, my experience was as written. It was a number of years ago, though, and people change. I’ll be making some amendments to the article soon, but I’m just not sure how, exactly, to phrase it.

      Thanks for the feedback. It’s really helpful.

  30. Mohammad Panahi January 5, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    I went straight to this place once I arrived in Hoi An after I stumbled upon some good reviews. I had the intention of ordering a suit, shoes, and a couple of shirts. The first she did was yell at me and my girlfriend about wearing shoes, so we quickly took them off and apologized. I told her it took me an hour to find her store and I was glad to finally find it.
    All of a sudden she got cocky and rude. She said since I was so eager to see her I should pay money for consultation, which she’ll deduct from the price of the suit if I get one. We thought she’s joking, but she refused to talk any more unless I paid her. It wasn’t much money but I was really shocked and have never encountered this anywhere else in Vietnam, or the dozen countries I’ve traveled to. My grandfather, father, and mother are all professional tailors, and none of them ask money upfront. I went her because I thought her work is good and she’s a professional, and coming from a family of tailors I was willing to pay top dollar for quality work.

    Once I expressed my disbelief in her asking for money just to talk, she started getting very rude and yelled at us to leave if we don’t want to pay. I kept trying to tell her that I had a complete intention of ordering a suit and money other things, but she seemed to only care about getting a measly few dollars from a serious customer.

    I then realized this woman is anything but professional and having a handful of foreigners visit her and pay her double what she’s used to, has made her cocky and very rude.
    Avoid her store at all costs because she will treat you badly and as I read the prices on the wall and read the other reviews, I realized she also charges much more than the hundreds of other tailors in the area.

    Just like all the tailor shops you see there, they outsource their orders to other ladies working in small little tailor shops elsewhere. So don’t waste your time here and find the back alleys where they work, or do as I did and go to a recognized famous establishment and pay top dollar, but instead you’re treated like a million bucks too.

    I’ve worked at my parents’ tailoring shop myself and one thing my father always taught me was to treat customers like royalty, even when you did nothing wrong they claim you screw up, fix it and don’t ask for more money. This creates repeat customers and a happy professional client. This lady clearly was never taught that. I was there last summer and every now and then I still think about how rudely I was treated and what a scam-artist she was.

    I will certainly never forget Miss Forgot Me Not

  31. Wandering Me January 18, 2017 at 2:05 am #

    While initially terrifying, Miss Forget Me Not did a great job of making three tailored made items for us just before Christmas.

    http://www.wanderingme.com/destinations/asia/south-east-asia/vietnam/tailoring-in-hoi-an-miss-forget-me-not/

    I understand how she comes across as rude, but definitely worth getting to know her before walking away.

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