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Statue company hopes to deck out Cambodia for Christmas

A fibreglass Santa Claus pictured at the DecorCam factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
A fibreglass Santa Claus pictured at the DecorCam factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Statue company hopes to deck out Cambodia for Christmas

Aiming to mould a niche market in Cambodia, DecorCam, a company that specialises in customising fibreglass statues, set up shop in Phnom Penh earlier this year and has been busy pouring, sculpting and painting life-size figurines to rent for the Christmas season.

Under the guidance of its parent company, Philippines-based 3D-display business Yab Design, the new firm hopes to bring 25 years’ worth of experience into Cambodia while further tapping into its established presence in European, American and Asian markets.

Criztian Velayo, commercial communications manager at DecorCam, explained that the company has already begun renting figurines for the holidays and is offering statues of Santa and his cheerful reindeer at prices ranging from $25 to $65 a week.

“We provide delivery and pick-up at the end of the season, and we’ve been renting decorative statues to schools and businesses in the city,” he said. “For locals, it’s so important that this type of industry is based here. It’s blowing people’s minds to find out that these intricate statues are made here in Phnom Penh.”

He extolled the virtues of the company’s fibreglass figurines, citing that they are less expensive to create and ship, lighter to carry and tougher than typical concrete-crafted statues.

“Concrete can’t get the same detail that we can,” he said. “[Fibreglass is] stronger than any metal by weight, and weatherproof, so even statues left out in the open every day will look good for several years.”

Ja’akov Van der Hulst, Yab Design co-founder, is the source of inspiration for most original moulds created for DecorCam, which are not limited to holiday ornaments. His home is decked out in fibreglass structures he has designed: his coffee table is an open-mouthed alligator with a slab of glass on its back, his terrace is dotted with stone-like sculptures and his sitting room is adorned in ornate lamps and pieces of furniture.

“We offer garden décor, furniture, seasonal items and even racecars along with animals, action figures and famous people,” Van der Hulst said. “We’ve got Elvis, we’ve got Madonna and we recently got busts of President Trump.”

He added that the company once created the mold for a statue of Mike Tyson, an infamous American heavyweight boxer, and quickly sold 50 of the statues to the boxer himself.

Frans Van Geest, fellow co-founder of DecorCam, explained that the company is also known to create one-time projects of momentous size.

“We made an entire Coca-Cola themed lounge in the mall of Asia,” he said, adding that every aspect of the room – the couches, bottle statues and light fixtures – had been crafted by the company.

One of the company’s largest designs has been a near 15-metre long Noah’s Ark structure, complete with life-sized biblical figures and animals, crafted for display on a rooftop in Israel.

Yab Design has also edged its way into the global advertising business, creating giant 3D billboards of brand-name noodle bowls and cellphones as well as larger-than-life street art in the shapes of advertised canned goods, fruits, snacks and drinks.

Geest is optimistic that business will take off in Cambodia and the venture will become profitable within the next six months.

“We want to create a giant elephant structure right here, on the river front in Phnom Penh,” he said. “It would be a big tourist attraction, and the best marketing we could hope for.”

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