Growing pains hit Cambodia's businesses for good

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Growing pains hit Cambodia's businesses for good

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly »


by Matt Bloomberg
November 14, 2019

KAMPONG CHAM, Cambodia (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A snippet of Leakena’s life is written on a pair of jeans.

And then the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, stepped off a plane in Australia last year wearing a pair of “slave-free” Outland Denim jeans, into which was sewn the story of a faraway seamstress like Leakena, adding a new twist.

With the ‘Markle Sparkle’, the little-known business - which employs survivors of human trafficking and other vulnerable women to make ethically sourced, environmentally friendly jeans - exploded.

The style the duchess wore sold out in 24 hours. Sales spiked sixfold in a month. A second plant was opened in the capital, Phnom Penh, and staff doubled, to about 100.

However, the spotlight also created a dilemma for the young social enterprise - or business using profits for good - in how to scale up while staying true to its original mission of nurturing people who had been exploited.

One of the primary hurdles start-ups encounter, premature scaling up can create a domino effect that shifts focus away from the mission, according to researchers.

“Our culture suffered in the scaling process,” said the former steel fabricator. “We had to come back in and really reset why we exist and what we are here to do.”

While personal stories helped propel sales for Outland, at Kate Korpi - an academy and salon in Phnom Penh that trains and employs trafficking survivors and vulnerable young people - the past is left at the front door.

“When they walk in here, they are stylists - and that’s it,” said U.S. founder Matthew Fairfax.

full ... SKBN1XO00U
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Re: Growing pains hit Cambodia's businesses for good

Post by phuketrichard »

In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely. HST
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