Handmade Christmas ornaments from Cambodia sparkle in Hong Kong
Generous buyers at the Hong Kong Parkview bazaar in October not only brought home products made by disabled persons in Cambodia, but also a strong message of love and kindness to humanity.
Hinrich Foundation scholars and volunteers in Hong Kong, including Ivy, Amy and I, showcased the Cambodia products. They consisted of handmade silk iPad and iPhone cases, silk Christmas ornaments, and unique designed jewelries.
We felt so proud of ourselves to stand and convince people to buy the handmade products from Cambodia.
With 66 booths, the bazaar had various things, such as food and beverages; fashion accessories and jewelries; books; Kung Fu lessons and equipment; broadband services; photography services; and, handmade products.
Small reindeer at HK$50, expensive?
A well-dressed prominent woman at her 40s with shoulder-length hair seemed surprised upon knowing that the price of a reindeer ornament was 50 Hong Kong dollars. “It’s fifty dollar,” she uttered with eyes wide opened. Then, she nodded, smiled and said, “It’s a charity.”
Although she appeared as someone who could afford the price, she was still surprised before knowing the product’s origin. She had a look at our producer’s profile laid on the tables that which made her think of contributing to the needy people, whom she hasn’t ever met.
Most visitors at the charity bazaar were standing out. They seemed to enjoy having a look at every booth with peaceful minds rather than listening to the sellers’ introduction.
The briefly written producers’ profile at our booth touched their hearts more than our speeches, as my colleagues and I discussed.
“I buy these things every year,” a stout little girl said, along with her friends visiting our booth. “My mom tells me a lot about Cambodia,” she added.
A lovely 9-year-old girl had been to our booth quite often until I could not keep track. Amy said probably the girl visited nine times. Thus, we considered her as our loyal customer, as she almost emptied her pocket with our products.
She bought a heart, reindeer, and puppy ornaments, among others. She spent a total of HK$300. With warm smile, Ivy and Amy asked the girl, “Don’t you want to buy anything else?” She replied, “I wish to buy all if I have money.”
About 99 percent of our target customers are little girls, as the endearing Christmas ornaments lured them at first sight.
Broader market for Cambodian products
Every purchase of Hong Kong residents makes a better living condition to disabled artisans in Cambodia. We are hopeful that through this selling, we could find broader markets for their products in Hong Kong.
The disabled and underprivileged artisans are able to get salary that is enough to buy food and other basic needs. The Export Assistance Program Cambodia of the Hinrich Foundation helps local producers find more markets abroad.
Hong Kong Parkview is one of the most famous luxury residential properties and its annual charity bazaar is one of the top four bazaars in Hong Kong with approximately 2,000 target participants. Parkview bazaar’s prestige and high-quality customer base are the main reasons why the Foundation participates in this great fair since 2012.
No worry, we’re happy
Despite reaching only 20 percent of our target sale for this year, we were delighted to perform this type of social work. We were not worried, but rather happy to contribute our time to the workers in Cambodia by attending the bazaar.
We identified some reasons for the low sales, including low traffic of visitors due to earlier postponement of the event; our booth location; and, price competition among vendors, such that some of their bags, purses and jewelries were cheaper than ours.
Our Christmas ornaments could be less impressive. But, despite that we laughed altogether when we heard a young boy said why he had to buy a Christmas ornament right now, if it’s still a month away.
It was a stimulating experience for our future personal gains.
About the author – Leanghort Sok