A MILLION ELEPHANTS is a social enterprise that works with artisans & NGOs in various villages in Laos to create handcrafted modern jewelry, Lao Vine tote bags and other products, personal accessories, home decor and gift items for the socially and environmentally conscious.

Our mission is to create opportunities for Lao artisans to earn fair wages, share Lao culture and support elephant conservation efforts in Laos.

Brittany Petrie founded the company to share her love of her Lao heritage with people from around the world. 

Brittany Petrie in Laos

Brittany grew up in Ontario, Canada in a mixed family with a Laotian father, who immigrated from Laos after the Vietnam War ended in the late 1970s.

She always had a desire to connect with her cultural roots and made her first visit to Laos in January 2017 when she was 26 years old. Brittany immediately felt a connection with the people and environment. One evening at a night marketin Luang Prabang, she met a child selling handicrafts made from war sharpnel. This single encounter with a child the same age as her own son, sparked and inspired the idea behind A MILLION ELEPHANTS. To learn more about what motivates Brittany read her first blog post here

Nightmarket in Laos

The name "A MILLION ELEPHANTS" comes from Lao history and culture and speaks to our mission to bring prosperity to Lao artisans through fair trade:

Laos use to be known as the Kingdom of Lan Xang (1354 to 1707), which translates to "Land of a Million Elephants". As Laos had extensive forests and sparse human population, wild herds of elephants roamed all over. During this time, elephants were the main mode of transportation for the royal family and the principle engines of war. Elephants continue to be considered a sacred animal, which Lao people believe will bring them prosperity.

Our belief is simple. Trade should have a conscience and artisans should receive fair value for their work. Maximizing profits at the expense of other people and our planet is not our philosophy.

We are a Canadian distributor of JungleVine® products by Nature Bag in support of The Junglevine® Foundation. We also work with non-government organizations in Laos, including the Lao Disabled Women's Development Center. Learn more about our impact



About Laos

Map Outline of Laos

Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, surrounded by Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, China and Myanmar. Most of the country is undeveloped and remains covered with forest and mountains.

Between 1964 and 1973, Laos suffered heavy bombings, in what is other words known as "America's Secret War".  As part of America’s strategy against communism, American air force dropped an average of one attack every eight minutes for nine years, making Laos the most heavily bombed country in history per capita. This resulted in a tenth of the countries population being killed on top of tens of thousands of more accidental deaths and injuries, which continue to this day. With millions of unexploded ordnance (UXO) still buried deep in the soil and scattered across the country, the Laotian people remain vulnerable and at risk. To date, less then one percent of the bombs have been removed. 

To this day, Laos remains one of the poorest nations in the world and one of the few remaining one-party communist states.

Laos is known for its rich culture, ethnic villages and breathtaking scenery. Lao people are the highest consumers of sticky rice in the world and consider themselves "children of sticky rice". 

About the Manikhong Family


Brittany's father is one of twelve siblings who escaped Laos after the Vietnam War ended in the late 1970s. For years, they had to live in a refugee camp in Thailand until New Life Community Church in British Columbia, Canada luckily sponsored them. Her family history is deeply influenced from the impact of the Secret War, like many Laos- Canadians and Laos-Americans today. Currently, four of her uncles are involved in the handicraft and wood industry in Laos and the United States, as artisans, distributors or international exporters. Many of the exotic wood products sold by A MILLION ELEPHANTS are specially handcrafted by our founder's uncle Souphom Manikhong and his team of artisans (operating as UniWood) in Thekhek, Laos. Brittany shares her father's story escaping Laos on the blog