Shopaholics gather. Fashion lovers rejoice. Not one, not two, but three new stores are coming to Siem Reap.
Keok'Jay, Zoko and Elsewhere, three acclaimed clothing companies based in Phnom Penh, are joining forces to form super-boutique Three Seasons.
The owners, Rachel Faller, Nuria Lopez and Nathalie Parize respectively, say that while their businesses stock differing styles, the three stores will marry well as one, and the products will compliment each other nicely.
"We all cater to quite a similar demographic, but the clothes are quite different. There are a lot of overlaps so I think it will come together well," said Rachel, adding that the set-up is more like that of a mini department store.
Keok'jay employs HIV positive women and people from difficult backgrounds.
Elsewhere sells classic garb and smart casual wear that adheres to the requirements of the local climate. Elsewhere will also introduce a small menswear line to Siem Reap.
And Zoko has stores in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, which sell fun, vibrant imported attire, accessories and swimwear.
Nathalie reckons the contrast between the stores will work well in Siem Reap. "Between all three shops, I think absolutely everyone will find something they like. It's one space, one central theme, but three distinct shops with their own styles."
While Keok'Jay has had a presence here for some time, this is a first time venture for the others. For Zoko and Elsewhere, the time had come for them to have a presence in the tourist hub on the country.
"It's the second biggest city in the country," said Nathalie. "Every tourist who comes to Cambodia comes here – it's the number one place for people passing through. So it was an obvious choice for our second location."
Despite all three having looked for their own Siem Reap stores, their coming-together happened rather effortlessly.
"Nathalie and I were working together. I designed a collection for Elsewhere, and our shops were nearby each other on Street 240 in Phnom Penh," said Rachel. "Then I was looking for premises to take over from Circle boutique. I found this place, but it was obviously way too big. So the letting agent introduced me to Nuria who was also looking in the area. Nathalie had said early on that she wanted to open here and considered sharing a shop, so it all just came together."
Despite the three businesswomen having spawned their own successful stores, the partnership has so far been conflict-free.
"We throw around ideas and it's come out that we each have really different skills. Nuria's really on top of the building work, she knows a lot about getting the construction finished really well. The floor and the lighting were all her. Me, I'm into decorating and all the fun stuff, then Nathalie's really good at all the logistics, getting things together. We all bring things to the table."
The new store is in the newly resurrected Lane parallel to Pub Street. Already home to local favourites Miss Wong's and Blush Boutique, Le Boulangerie has recently opened a second venue there while the Khmer Pub Street Store is a large two-storey night market freshly developed at the end of the street. Three Seasons will fit snugly among the redevelopment on the site of the former Heart Rock bar.
Visitors will see a massive change from the previously darkened premises in Three Season's airy white space, and open glass shop front. The western-style store has fitting rooms and a next-day tailoring service. Clothing is generally priced from $20 to $60 and a spectrum of sizes are catered for.
While the store is visually different from those around it, the trio hopes to make friends with neighbouring businesses and work with them to raise the profile of the up-and-coming side-street.
Their first opportunity for neighbourly cooperation will come this Saturday evening, from 7-10pm at the Three Seasons launch party. Eager shoppers will have a chance to eye-up stock for the first time, while quaffing refreshments and maybe even bagging themselves some bargains.
"We want to have a party with all the other business on the Lane, and maybe serve snacks and drinks from their bars and cafés," said Rachel. "It's a very cool place so we really want to promote the street as a whole."
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