A high-end online fashion store catering to the cream of Cambodian society launched its new website this month.
Na Rita Fashion bills itself as the biggest online fashion company in Cambodia and supplies discerning fashionistas with the latest threads from labels such as Chanel, Burberry and others.
“Na Rita Fashion started in 2012 in Sihanoukville,” says Dutch co-owner and CEO Alexander Evengroen, who moved to Siem Reap two months ago.
He says that some time ago it was obvious that the Cambodian upper classes were increasing in numbers. But he adds that the problem was that the wealthy “were driving big cars but still buying cheap clothing” because of a lack of supply of high end fashion.
Evengroen’s business partner, Romduol Choub, felt she’d spotted a gap in the market and together they decided to set up the company with the aim of, “making it easy for fashionable Asians to shop online and receive their goods quickly and efficiently.”
Evengroen says, “We started small and bit by bit we extended our portfolio. We focused on the Cambodian market and saw there was a lot of potential.
“A lot of Cambodian people are willing to pay a lot of money. For many, $1,000 or $2,000 for a dress is nothing crazy. We had an enquiry from one of the government people for a $1.5 million watch.
“Ninety-five per cent of our clients are female, and our biggest age group is 30-45 years old. Ninety-eight per cent of our customers are Asian.”
The company, with bases in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, prides itself on stocking the latest trends and labels, and has now expanded into men’s and children’s fashion, makeup, electronic goods and art, although women’s fashion still makes up the majority of sales.
Labels include Gucci, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana and Prada, with designer bags and evening gowns among the best sellers.
“We have shoes that are very popular with a lot of Asian people and they start at $35,” says Evengroen. “But we also have shoes for $80. We have crystal shoes that go for $150. We have dresses that go from $60 to Chanel for $500, $600. We have Burberry bags for $175, bags for $250 and bags for $1,000. We focus on the upper-middle class, but also the very rich.”
Evengroen says the company is able to keep its prices slightly discounted as it buys products for wholesale prices, but without actually buying wholesale.
“The labels can see that the market is growing,” he says. “We get wholesale price but we don’t buy wholesale because we don’t have a stock. We don’t use a shop and that’s our strength because we never have old fashion.
“Shops worldwide, they buy 10 dresses for let’s say 60 per cent of the normal price, and that means they have to sell them because they invested in the stock. We have zero stock. So that’s our strength; we don’t have overheads so we can also offer lower prices.”
Na Rita now also has offices in Hong Kong, Korea, Italy, the States and Holland.
“Our people do a quality check when they get the products from the brand,” says Evengroen. “Then it gets sent here, and we do all the customs and transportation, we do another quality check so it’s perfect, and then we deliver it to the door. But sometimes when people are far away in the provinces we call them and send it by bus or special delivery.”
Evengroen, who counts “famous actresses and government officials” among his customers, believes there is definitely a growing middle-class in Cambodia.
“Now we have already 92,000 likes on FaceBook, and 99 per cent of these are Cambodian,” he says. “We focus on the Cambodian market, but we also have customers in Korea, Thailand and Australia.”