A Cambodian Seller with Boundless Dreams
Always smiling and always very well dressed, Chhorvin Liv is the effigy of Soieries du Mékong. Chhorvin spends most of her time managing the Soieries du Mékong boutique in charming Kandal Village in the heart of Siem Reap. She also does modelling work for many different brands and photographers and especially likes modelling at the temples. She is a lady with her aims firmly fixed on fulfilling her dreams.
Chhorvin has two great passions in life: dressmaking and modeling. Since taking a stitching class at the age of twelve, she has been fascinated by couture and the fashion world, and continues to learn through online tutorials and other independent studies. Today she imagines and creates her own clothes to give to friends and family, and aspires to create her own clothing brand which she hopes will be recognized both in Cambodia and abroad. The flagship model of Soieries du Mékong and a rising star in Cambodian fashion, for Chhorvin the adventure is just beginning.
Shelly Siu’s personal life story is interesting, as is her social enterprise. Not only is her Singapore Shawl business ‘signature and iconic’, but it also supports and empowers marginalized women in Singapore. She was the daughter of the President of a bank. Her mother often attended functions with her father in beautiful cheongsams and exquisite pearls. Growing up, Ms Shelley Siu led a privileged childhood with her siblings, cared for by an “ah-ma-jie” who attended to their every need. At 60, she could have easily chosen retirement. But Shelley, at 67, felt compelled to “follow her heart”, and embark on a mission to empower women.
Driven to make a difference in the lives of those she terms “women in crisis,” Shelley set out to create The Singapore Shawl in 2003 as a social enterprise to train and employ needy women, cancer patients, stay-home caregivers and single-parents. The Singapore Shawl produces hand-embellished shawls made from eco- friendly materials that cater to a high-end clientele. The brand is also built on the business principles of fairness and transparency, “which means fair trade, fair wages, and no forced or child labour.”
The number of women Shelley has in her team varies, as the women may not always be able to continue working due to health-related reasons and competing duties. Ever devoted to her social cause, she admits that working with women in crisis is not always without hurdles. She vividly recalls an employee cancer patient who was too weak to step out of home for more than a year. “I would deliver the shawls to her and drive back again a week later to collect the finished products. Sometimes, it would take longer, depending on her condition, but everyone stood by her,” said Shelley.