The Hinrich Foundation and its volunteers brought the handmade products of disabled and underprivileged Cambodians to a show at deluxe residential properties and its charity bazaars at Conrad Apartment in Hong Kong in November and December.

Hong Kong Conrad Bazaar
(Left to right) Sok Leang Hort, a Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leade Scholar, Corey and Chris Ko, volunteers from Fossil Group, and Bibekananda Sarker, also a scholar, pose in front of their booth at the charity bazaar on December 14.

Hundreds of booths in the event showcased various types of products, including food and beverages; fashion accessories and jewelries; books; and handmade products.

Hong Kong Conrad Bazaar 2
Handmade Christmas ornaments from Cambodia on display at the bazaar on December 14.

Handicrafts from Cambodia include silk iPad and iPhone cases, silk Christmas ornaments and unique designed jewelries. Helping the Hinrich Foundation, Bibek, two volunteers from Fossil Company and I feel proud of selling all handmade products from Cambodia.

Unique quality and value

Although I was the only Cambodian in the group, my fellow volunteers, including Bibek and two volunteers from Fossil Group, captured the hearts and interest of our buyers by describing how difficult for the producers to make the crafts a few items a day.

A 62-year-old man with his wife, who had visited Cambodia four times, said, “It’s a wonderful place. People are very nice. I like their products.”

For better living condition

Every purchase of Hong Kong residents magnificently helps alleviate the conditions of disabled artisans in Cambodia. We hopefully believe that through this selling, we could find broader markets for their products in Hong Kong.

Some of them have polio and hearing impairment, and poor economic background. They are able to get salary that is enough to survive for food and residential fees through the loyal buyers with the support of Export Assistance Program Cambodia of Hinrich Foundation.

Challenges at the bazaar

After discussing among fellow scholars, who joined the bazaars, we found some challenges and recommendations.

One of the factors was that children, whom we considered as our loyal and target customers, did not visit our booth. It seemed that their mothers left them home. Not many young customers came to the bazaar on Dec. 14.

In addition, Conrad Bazaar attracts fewer customers at the time compared to the previous one. Many booths faced setback in sales, as we observed. For instance, the booth next to us heavily complained about the market slowdown and expressed their disappointment about the event. Some sellers even walked around to offer very cheap prices in order to sell all their products at the end of the show.

The interval between the previous bazaar and the second one was quite short. During the December event, many customers told us that they have purchased our products during the last bazaar held in November.

We also noticed that the size of the booth and positioning affected the sales. We shared half of a table with another vendor and it was not in a strategic point that could instantly get customers ‘attention.

About the author – Leanghort Sok

About the author - Leanghort Sok

Leanghort Sok (Vephea) is a Hinrich Global Trade Leader Scholar. He got a full scholarship for Master of Arts in International Journalism Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University in 2015.

He is currently a Sales Coordinator for Export Assistance Program Cambodia, undertaking a one-year extended internship as part of the Work Integrated Learning program of the Hinrich Foundation. His internship will help better prepare him for a trade-related career in Cambodia after graduation.

Formerly a News Reporter for Cambodian News Channel (CNC TV), Leanghort also worked as a staff member at the Cambodian Mekong Bank.