Medicinal plants like kaffir lime, Tinospora crispa, aloe vera and Tiliacora triandra are just a few of the natural ingredients Nhim Sorida harnesses in her homemade soaps and shampoos.
Sorida, hailing from Pongro village in Serei Saophoan town of Banteay Meanchey province, proudly told The Post that her product line is named “Boran Care”. In Khmer, “Boran” translates to “ancient”.
A trip to Thailand in 2019 sparked her interest when she observed a friend crafting similar products from plants.
“Why not in Cambodia?” she thought, aware of the abundant natural plant resources in her motherland.
Originally, Sorida intended her shampoo, conditioner and soaps solely for the use of her family. Yet, she soon recognised the broader application of soaps in cleansing the body, similar to other cosmetic products.
She also discovered potential dangers in imported cosmetics of dubious origin or quality.
“It dawned on me the importance of ensuring our products are safe, of high standard and can stand tall in the market,” she shared.
Motivated by her newfound knowledge, she transitioned from her job in Phnom Penh to pursue her new passion for soap.
As word spread and sales grew, encouragement from friends and loyal customers spurred her on.
Today, her expanding range includes soap, brown rice shampoo and even a turmeric-infused hair conditioner.
She insists on using primarily local medicinal plants for her creations. While her operation remains boutique with a handful of staff, she emphasises sourcing materials from the local community.
Some ingredients, she even cultivates herself. Eager to innovate, Sorida has plans to debut a broader product range, thanking her supportive clientele.
As for official endorsements, she has registered with both the provincial Department of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation and the Ministry of Commerce.
“Last year, an initiative named ‘One Village, One Product’, along with other official representatives, visited me,” she recalled. “I was honoured to have my products included in their distinguished campaign”.
Sorida’s dedication has not gone unnoticed. In 2019, she competed for the Outstanding Entrepreneur Award, hosted jointly by the Young Entrepreneur Association of Cambodia and Junior Chamber International (JCI Cambodia). She was among the top 10 finalists.
In 2021, she took part in a regional entrepreneur competition, facing competitors from Battambang, Siem Reap, Pursat, and her home province of Banteay Meanchey. Notably, she achieved second place.
Nhel Bunthoeun, director of the provincial Department of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, spoke highly of Sorida.
His team has personally inspected her operations and confirmed the natural processing of her products. Another nod of approval came from the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, which also carried out an inspection at her facility.
Bunthoeun praised Sorida, saying: “She stands as an exemplary Cambodian woman, showcasing creativity in the industry. Beyond her innovative spirit, she contributes significantly to our nation’s economic growth. She is undoubtedly an expert in her field.”