At 25-years-old, Hak Thavy is working as an event decorator at Mongkol Sery, a store that provides floral arrangements and décor for events ranging from weddings, engagement parties, grand openings and even birthday celebrations.
Thavy has spent a decade working in the decorating business. She moved to Phnom Penh at 15-years-old from the provinces.
“When I was 15, I started to learn and observe how other staff at Mongkol Sery did their jobs,” she explained.
According to Thavy, she started by paying special attention to how employees put together floral arrangements. After five years of practice, she became a full-fledged decorator for Mongkol Serey.
“There are a lot of events I’ve decorated since then,” she said. “Among those, I was asked to decorate a wedding ceremony for a relative of a high ranking officer in the government, and also a relative of our Prime Minister.”
Thavy said that there are mental and physical obstacles to face when decorating for a wedding party. A mix of dexterity challenges and long hours keep Thavy on her toes.
Tying arrangements into different styles is especially challenging for Thavy.
“When I decorate for a wedding, I use wire to tie all the flowers and cloth,” she said. “Since the wire is small and tiny, it’s easy for my hands to hurt or get cut.”
Thavy’s seen her share of late nights, too.
“During wedding season, I normally decorate three or four venues on the same day,” she said. “Sometimes, my colleagues and I don’t sleep to get it finished on time.”
With these kinds of challenges, what keeps Thavy motivated to achieve perfection?
“The sweet feelings I have with my colleagues,” she said. “We’re like family.”
“I also love flowers and I love my job.”
Recently, Thavy has been hired to decorate international and national forums.
“I’ve decorated for events organised by the Council of Ministers, at the InterContinental Hotel, Cambodiana Hotel, Sunway Hotel and Sofitel,” she said.
Although Thavy has achieved so much in her job field, she looks to making a switch in the future.
“Since I’ve worked as a decorator for a long time, I’m a bit tired of it,” she said. “My future plans aren’t clear, but I want to run my own business rather than work in the same career forever.”