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Young woman pioneers art and design entrepreneurship

UY Sovanlongdy / Khmer Times Share:
Heang Vattey (center) attends the Dream Girls Design Contest. Supplied

Through the Cambodia Luxury Arts project and many other achievements, Heang Vattey has gained recognition as a successful woman entrepreneur in the arts and design sector. Her ambition is to empower gifted Cambodian people in this industry to improve their quality of life through art.

Ms Vattey, CEO of Sourire Pro and Arts Company, and a founder of the Cambodia Luxury Arts project, has transformed herself from an introvert into a more social person in order to achieve her dream of launching a big art centre in Cambodia by 2020.

Heang Vattey dreams of launching her own art centre.

To realise her dream, she learns constantly from her surrounding environment. She has won many competitions such as the Young Entrepreneur Award in 2012, Dream Girl 2013, the 2nd Regional Business Plan Contest 2017, and the Knowledge Co-Creation Program (Country Focus) 2018.

After setting up a small shop in 2016, she cooperated with her shareholders to establish a company providing four core services: graphic design for all kinds of products, advertising, event planning, and training services.

She said, “I am commonly involved in graphic design and recycling clothing, and also do modelling. I am good at designing Khmer patterns that are a bit complex, for use in fashion.” She said her recycled clothes are made from plastic, plastic bags or old clothes. She normally draws patterns and then prints them on the clothes to make them more fashionable. Those recycled clothes are also bought for modelling or by some organisations for display purposes.

Unlike other general stores, which prefer to set up in good locations, her office is located on the 4th floor of the i-Lead International School Building on Tep-Phorn Street. Her business is conducted through networking and online contacts.

Ms Vattey smiled when talking about her customers. “My company does not yet advertise publicly. My initial customers are friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. The majority of them advertise my services by word of mouth, and we earn customers through trust and good service,” she said. Her clients contact her via social media or her Facebook page, “Clas Pro”, and meet her at cafés to discuss business.

Before getting to this stage, she faced a lot of challenges, working all night when organising events, lacking human resources in this field, and having inadequate management skills to operate the company. All these problems needed to be solved and sometimes she wanted to give up.

Putting her dreams before everything, she embraces the motto that, “Today we cannot do it; tomorrow we will.” No obstacle can keep her from achieving her dream. She built her team based on their aptitudes and created a variety of services including not only design, but also Hanna drawing, painting on walls, or decorating stores to fulfil customers’ demands, while developing her own technical and business management skills.

She believes in learning from her customers, explaining that, “Experience comes from the people around us, so we should be open minded in order to learn, and be flexible as well. We constantly need innovative ideas.”

Her key message to youth is to determine what they really want, regardless of their degree, and find alternative ways of reaching their goals. Don’t give up, and always be open-minded, she advises.

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