Story

Saomao social enterprise was founded in Siem Reap in 2001, to provide training and employment. Our design principles are of sustainability, style and the level of impact we make on nature, people and the planet.

Our Jewellers were trained in our workshop and our tailors joined a local one-year tailoring program and we partner with local weavers for out organic silks and cottons.

Saomao works according to fair trade ethics, we do not put profits above people and we give back to society. We believe that handicraft production can contribute to poverty alleviation and improve the lives and social conditions of many people.

Founder

As early as I remember, I knew I would travel far from home, and most of my life I have been going somewhere. When I graduated from art college I decided to use my creativity in a meaningful way, I wanted to connect to others and make an impact with my life.

In my late 20’s I volunteered to work for 2 years in a refugee camp in Thailand for refugees escaping war. Afterwards I got a job with a non-profit in Phnom Penh and founded “Rajana” and Arts and Crafts Association, to train and employ disadvantaged Cambodian youth returning from the refugee camps.

By 2001 the Rajana had trained over and worked with more than 80 people, they had four retail outlets, a large export market and it was fully run and managed by Cambodians. 

With my ten years’ experience at Rajana I moved to Siem Reap and founded Saomao and set about creating a progressive brand that puts the environment, people and nature at the centre of everything it does. I have been continuously involved with Cambodian artisans, producers and the handicraft industry in Cambodia for over 25 years. I attained a M.Sc. in Poverty reduction from The London University to help me better in my work.

Giving back helps us find purpose, meaning and a sense of belonging. My faith as a Christian has inspired, encouraged and strengthened me throughout my journey, I have lived a life less ordinary, met amazing people and overcome enormous struggles and obstacles. I have done things I could never have imagined and thank all my Cambodian friends and family for the privilege of knowing and working with them.

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