“Are you sure that you want me to be sales manager? I don’t even have a bachelor’s degree.”
Thirty-one-year-old Sum Sothearith never imagined she’d be asked this question. Four years ago, her boss promoted her to manager at Chocolate by The Shop.
Sum Sothearith is the daughter of farmers who live in Kampot province. She left high school during her second year, after her family encountered financial problems. After raising money from farming, being a nanny and teaching kindergarten, she raised $200 and finished her high school education.
Quickly, her number of students increased and there wasn’t enough space to hold her classes. She asked the school nearby if she could teach there instead, and spent the rest of her time in high school teaching English.
After graduating in 2004, Sum Sothearith moved to Kep City and worked as a waitress. Thanks to her diligence and friendliness, a Dutchman and a Belgian offered her a job to teach English. She managed to juggle both jobs, and received a promotion to head waitress.
One day at the restaurant, a visiting and very charitable French couple offered to finance Sum Sothearith’s college education. Her life changed at that moment. She moved to Phnom Penh and began her studies at Pannasastra University, and took up a job as a waitress at Chocolate by The Shop.
Two years later, Sum Sothearith was promoted to sales manager after a three-month test.
“I work here eight hours per day. My job is not too difficult because I am happy with it,” Sum Sothearith said. “Selling chocolate is nice, because it can actually be healthy.”
According to Livestrong, black chocolate can slow down the release of stress hormones and lower blood pressure.
“Making a beautiful chocolate for customers to give to his or her loved one is also an added bonus,” she added.
As sales manager, she looks after the shop and staff. To Sum Sothearith, managing doesn’t mean bossing other around, but helping others as much as she can when they’re busy. She’s also responsible for stocking the shelves at Chocolate by The Shop with every single chocolate they make to ensure that each customer can view the variety.
“I love chocolate and I love my job,” Sum Sothearith said.
In the future, she wants to run her own business aimed at a young market.