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A day in the life of an embellisher


“ALMOST every kind of Cambodian traditional clothing – knitted clothes, silk clothes and custom-made clothes for brides and bridegrooms – are drawn and decorated by my own hands for my embellishing shop,” Phat Samphors says.

The 27-year-old had an unusual career change, giving up her medical studies to become an embellisher and open her own shop, Sam Ang Ka Phat Samphors.

Last week, one of my friends and I made a trip to Sam Ang Ka Phat Samphors in Takhmao village, in Kandal province’s Takhmao district.

As we got closer to the place, I could see traditional-style clothes for women – mainly folded robes (Kben) – made into various models, along with a great deal of stylish jewellery displayed on frames.

We spent almost an hour in Phat Samphors’ shop, letting her describe her daily life.

She said she had wanted to become an embellisher for as long as she could remember.

After graduating from high school, she was keen to open her own shop. But  she didn’t have enough capital, so she chose to study at  university, majoring in nursing.

After two years at university, Phat Samphors could attain her first goal – beginning an embellishing career – but had to rely partly on financial help from her mother.

Two years later, she gave up her university studies and realised her dream by opening the shop in Takhmao village. Since then, she has opened a branch in Phnom Penh, at N.51Eo, St 360, Boeng
Kengkorg, Chamkarmon district.

Being both the embellisher and the owner, Phat Samphors has many things to do from early morning until 8pm.

“Every day, I have to manage and allocate jobs for my staff and work on particular tasks as well,” she says.

As well as those obligations, Phat Samphors constantly comes up with fresh ideas on designs for Khmer traditional clothes.

All the clothes on display for brides and bridegrooms are nicely made and threaded with tiny gems. They are apparently simple, yet they meet the needs of her customers.

Phat Samphors says every design in her shop is slightly different from the others. “I design all these clothes for all classes. They are fine-looking, but without excessive threads and gems that would make them look messy,” she says.

Phat Samphors she says she is happy in her work and encounters few  difficulties. “When customers choose our embellishing for their weddings and are delighted with our work, that is our real reward,”  she says.

Every customer of Phat Samphors’ shop can not only reserve  the clothes they prefer, but can also receive a range of wedding services  including house decorating, make-up and traditional Khmer music.
“Customers of this shop will get the desirable services they expect,” she says.



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