Valentine’s Day is on the horizon and young Cambodians across the Kingdom anxiously await this fun holiday. Boyfriends and girlfriends are gearing up to surprise their lovers with gifts and surprises, and are hitting the shops for roses and cute souvenirs.
Meanwhile, some business-savvy youth are looking at Valentine’s Day as an entrepreneurial endeavour.
Nineteen-year-old Ngoun Sony, a student at National University of Management, hatched a business plan to start selling flowers and small gifts the week of Valentine’s Day at Sosowat high school.
“I have my group of seven, and we put in 10 dollars each. It was the first time for us in terms of doing business,” she said.
Ngoun Sony added that she knew the small business venture would be successful as soon as her group started, when they gained more than just profit.
“It’s not just for the money,” she said.
“Actually, we don’t even make that much profit, since there are eight of us and we split it. What I really gain from this is great business experience and the fun of running a business with my friends.”
Utilising creative ideas and making use of digital technology, another group of young Cambodians ahead of the business curve have created a website for selling roses and other Valentine’s Day gifts.
Piseth Sakan, 20-years-old, now studies at the Institute of Foreign Languages. He co-operates with other memwbers to run the site, which he started last year.
He posts pictures and descriptions of each item and allows purchasers to book them for delivery on February 14.
The first year, Piseth Sakan made little profit.
“It was a bit difficult since I didn’t know how to package the flowers in an attractive way,” he said.
“But, then I figured out I should hire people to do it for me. Now we get good profit and the joy of working as a team.”
And of course, others take a more traditional approach to cashing in on Valentine’s Day.
Sar Samnang, the owner of Suon Penh Chet, a florist by Boeung Trabek and Chruoy Changva, said that she can sell flowers any day of the year – but provides special services for Valentine’s Day, including special rose arrangements.
“During Valentine’s Day, my biggest competitors are floral vendors at schools and florists alongside the road,” she said.
“A lot of young people choose to buy from those florists instead of year-round stores.”
According to Chan Pisey at AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run organization, student-run vendors are tough and viable contenders when it comes to Valentine’s Day.
“They have a unique and creative angle,” Chan Pisey said.
Chan Pisey encouraged that they understand the value of promotions, in order to attract customers and keep up competition with others.