Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A true rags to riches story

A true rags to riches story

A true rags to riches story

Meas-Chandalin
Meas Chandalin is the founder of First Quality for Second-Hand Men’s Shirts chain of shops. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Meas Chandalin’s career shows that a low educational background is no obstacle to prosperity. The 27-year-old mother of two is successfully running nine second-hand clothing shops in Phnom Penh, watching her business growing smoothly. Her greatest teacher, she says, is her mother.

While Chandalin’s peers went to school in the early morning, she had to help her parents with their second-hand clothing business. The eldest daughter among three siblings, she dropped out of in the ninth grade, going to the market instead.

“Because I learned little from school, I needed to be strong in learning about real business life,” Chandalin told the Post yesterday.

“I linked up suppliers with sellers on the market squares and observed how they sold second-hand clothes to customers. These were my daily lessons.”

In her early years, Chandalin was aware that second-hand chic unites people beyond their income. She met poor, middle-class and even wealthy people on Phnom Penh’s markets. High-quality and well-known brands can be found among used clothes.

“I wanted to offer a well-arranged place for middle-class people to do their shopping for used-clothing, I thought such a business would help me grow,” Chandalin said about her business plan when she established her first shop in 2007 at the tender age of 20, a business plan that differed from the hundreds of second-hand sellers in Cambodian markets and one that proved to be quite lucrative.

“I decided to establish a shop to sell used shirts for male clients at my mother’s house and invested about $20,000 in the first one,” she said.

Chandalin had the right idea at the right time. Her shop soon became a magnet for customers, and she was soon selling about 200 shirts a day.  

“Since then, I was more confident in doing business and dared to spend $1,000 monthly for renting a house where I planned to set up my a second branch - without hesitating,” said Chandalin.

She now owns nine shops of her chain First Quality for Second-Hand Men Shirts, a name chosen to attract customers. The latest one is currently under construction and will open before Khmer New Year next month.

There are 15 First Quality for Second-Hand Men Shirts in total, six owned by Chandalin’s relatives.

She spends about $30,000 in renovations and stock to establish a shop.   

The shop’s brand is now seen all over the city centre, especially along major streets in Phnom Penh, offering fashion labels from Hong Kong, Korea and Japan at $4 to $15.

So far, Meas Chandalin doesn’t see her bustling shops as threat to clothing vendors at local markets.

However, she said the success of her chain might well be a warning that people’s buying habits are changing. More and more would prefer a good atmosphere and quality, but affordable products.

“I plan to open more new shops, and I am confident that they will be a success,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,