The Bodia brand, comprised of spas, retail stores and concession stalls, is constantly expanding and embracing the nature of Cambodia. A new store on Street 178 is the newest addition to the chain, and is just as enticing as its predecessors
All-natural ingredients bought directly from local farmers and markets go into the Bodia Nature products. Photo by: ELEONORE SOK
The doors are always open at the new branch of Bodia Nature, set just off Riverside on Street 178, inviting customers in to take a sensory trip through Cambodia. Visitors are welcomed by softly spoken Khmer staff who glide about the fresh and fragrant wooden space with the softest of footsteps, ready to guide your journey.
The French-Khmer brand, which was created in 2006, began with the ambition of becoming the first company in Cambodia to produce 100 percent, all-natural beauty products. Six years later and they’ve established their Eco-Lab in Siem Reap province, three retail stores, three Bodia Spas and a presence in a number of UCare pharmacies with concession stands. Clearly, their all-natural approach is an appealing one.
The newest endeavour on Street 178 is the second retail outlet in the capital, the first being in Russian Market, famous for being the only air-conditioned space in the whole of the notoriously sweaty marketplace.
The recipes adhered to in Bodia Nature products are based upon age-old remedies and traditional Khmer concoctions. Plus, all of the products comprising the range are made using ingredients from Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Ratanakiri provinces. The deliciously fragrant lemongrass, ginger, black pepper, turmeric and jasmine used are all bought directly from local farmers or found in local markets.
However, while most of the ingredients are locally sourced, some still have to be obtained from abroad. For example, the components of Bodia’s shampoo come from Thailand, though the owners hope to phase this out within a year. As such, it should be said that while Bodia claims its products to be 100 percent Cambodian, yet sources ingredients from Thailand, each product is manufactured here in the Kingdom, thereby meeting the legal criteria to brand their wares in the way they do.
Along with Bodia Nature’s shampoos and conditioners, one can find shower gels, body creams, and even little parcels of Khmer spices for sale inside the stores. Some of the most popular items are the soaps; organically shaped to look like logs of wood, each different colour of soap indicates a different scent and a packet of six costs $6.30.
The prices at Bodia aren’t super-cheap – a scrub will cost you $13 while you’ll need to lay down $40 for a gift box – so the clientele is mainly expats and tourists (the owners say Khmers aren’t into all-natural, socially-conscious cosmetics yet). However, knowing your money is going toward supporting local farmers whose produce is being used in a traditional Khmer way, the extra cash seems well spent.
And the Bodia expansion isn’t set to slow down any time soon.
A new retail stand recently opened in Siem Reap’s Night Market, the management is in the process of relocating the Eco-Lab from Siem Reap to the Penh, and a focused attempt to engage the French market is also on the cards.
In the meantime though, pop down to the 178 outlet, be greeted by a complimentary cup of jasmine and rose tea, peruse their range of beautiful products and leave smelling like the best scents the Kingdom has to offer.
Bodia Nature is located at #10 Street 178, Phnom Penh, and is open every day from 9am to 10pm. The new Bodia Nature stall in Siem Reap’s Night Market is open from 5pm to 10pm daily.