This week for Post Focus we are putting the spotlight on three vendors that will be appearing at the Khmer Crafts and Food Festival (KCFF) on February 23, 2019.
Look for the one day only festival taking place on Street 330, next to Toul Sleng Genocide Musuem, in Phnom Penh. The KCFF is in its third year and all of our featured vendors are founding stall holders of the festival.
The festival is produced and managed by Villageworks and NOMI network.
Rajana was founded in 1995, employing Cambodian refugees from camps in Thailand to create products to sell for extra income.
In 2002 Rajana became an independent non-profit social enterprise and has since developed in to a significant producer, retailer and exporter of artisanal Cambodian fair-trade crafts.
The Post caught up with Rajana’s General Manager, Nhok Nimul ahead of the event. She told The Post that “there are plenty of bomb shells to be found in Cambodia, our makers methodically transform the wreckage in to the symbols of peace and transform the ugliest parts of the past.
The transformation from an object of violence into beautiful gifts, we see it as a powerful message of peace. Peace we have discovered since the fall of the Khmer Rouge”.
Rajana also makes beautiful Krama, silk wall hangings, packaged spices as well as making ceramics. “We produce our own clay in Siem Reap” said Nimul, adding “we can produce any kind of ceramic”.
Rajana now employs 22 different staff. Many of these staff are people “with a disability, and they are rural citizens who need a market” for their products. Nimul says, “we support them with training to develop their products, we do special courses with them twice a year …we visit them and develop their wares so they continue to have a market”.
Rajana has two stores in Phnom Penh, one in Tuol Tom Puong and one in Daun Penh. But their products are also in high demand overseas in countries like the US, Canada, Australia, and countries throughout Europe. Rajana can export items all over the world for their customers or create samples for them, to their specification.
Of course Rajana staff will be waiting for your visit at KCFF to tell you more about their products and producers, all of whom they are very proud of.
Smart Craft produces fabulous bags and wallets made entirely from recycled products sourced locally.
To find out more about Smart Craft The Post spoke to Lav Chamroeun, founder of Smart Craft. We caught up at his workshop in Phnom Penh. Chamroeun explained his role at Smart Craft “I am founder and manager of Smart Craft, I design the products and find markets for our products.
I started the business myself, working alone for about a year, then we opened in 2012” said Chamroeun, adding “I wanted to find material the other people don’t use”. This led to Chamroeun seeing the value of other people’s rubbish.
The product line that Smart Craft creates is all made from second hand materials. Bags are made from recycled motorcycle tyres and seats, and then beautified with parts of old cement bags, producing one off pieces that are sustainable and beautiful as much as they are ingenious.
Chamroeun explained, “I help disabled people who have been hurt by bombs or landmine, and poor people in the countryside, we give them vocational training and a place to sell the products”, as well as the obvious community benefits, Chamrouen’s effort to utilise waste materials mean he is helping to reduce pollution, “I would like to clean the environment” he said.
You can find Smart Craft products stocked in various stores in Phnom Penh and beyond, or you can go directly to their facebook page and order from the source.
Chamroeun finished by telling us about Smart Craft’s broad customer base, “we have customers in London and all over the world through facebook trade and various fairs”.
Be sure to drop by Smart Craft’s stall and admire their eclectic and socially responsible handmade products at KCFF.
CARINO farewell fashions are located in Phnom Penh and are designers and manufacturers of beautiful clothing. Buntheng Vichwath is the production manager at CARINO Fashions and his wife Leakhena is the head designer. Vichwath answered some questions about the company via email.
What makes CARINO different from other clothing brands is they engage in “local fashion design and local production (all products are) made in Cambodia” wrote Vichwath.
The business started when Vichwath acknowledged his passion, “first, I love fashion, and I found myself talented in the fashion field.”
Armed with a talent for fashion, Vichwath also spied a gap in the market for his products, “secondly there is not much fashion in my country, so that was my opportunity to start CARINO shop that (sells) apparel”. This gap in the market continues to provide ample opportunity for CARINO to supply Cambodia’s best dressed with exciting new styles.
The business is helping people on both ends of the spectrum, by providing work to Cambodian people and also providing their customers with one of a kind fashion pieces.
CARINO supports their customers in their efforts to express themselves and look good doing it, “Usually people buy ready to wear dresses or clothes that are imported from other countries and it is difficult to match their body shape … but we can help them to customise what they want by including the best price, fabric and very unique styles” Vichwath wrote.
In addition CARINO is helping the local community, “we improve and develop communities especially for women and widows who need support, (they can use) their sewing skills”.
CARINO fashions will be at the KCFF festival on Saturday, but if you miss them there, be sure to visit their shop where you will find fabulous and enticing fashion offerings, with helpful staff ready to tailor your chosen piece.
The CARINO store is at number 92 Norodom Boulevard, Duan Penh, Phnom. Penh.