Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Davy's Flowers

So I wrote that I would post about Davy's project and show some photos so here goes:

So Davy works for the Phnom Penh City Hall on their urban poverty alleviation project. It had been supported by UN-Habitat, but once funding ended, she lost all her staff. Now it's just her, with no budget and lots of pressure. She has had her own handicrafts business for some time and involves some of the communities she knows about in PP. She trains women in making flowers out of corn husks, bamboo leaves and other natural materials which are usually found as garbage around markets. I haven't worked out the process, but they dry, cut and paint them. The result: 100% recycled, natural, handmade flowers (not sure what the dye is or how eco-friendly it is, but will find out). Even the leaves are somehow dried and preserved.

She buys all the finished flowers from the women, paying a very fair wage, brings them to her shop and her staff there arrange them for sale. For PP residents, the shop is on Street 106, the double road that runs from the train station to the river, on the north side, close to the river. She also has a stall at the night market which is close to her shop (Fri-Sun nights, 6pm-10pm).

Davy is quite well established and organized, although she is looking to expand her market base. She wants to get in contact with 10 000 villages and if I have time, I'd like to try to help her reach the Internet market. Although we both will have to work out how to ship products from not-Cambodia. The postal system here is too unreliable and slow. I mailed a package of tea to a friend a few years ago. It took, no joke, 18 months before he received it! That is just not consumer friendly. A simple trip across the border to Thailand will eliminate any such silliness as the Thai postal system is very reliable, fast and cheap.

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