Meet your Makers – Part 2 (The Jewellery (Part 1))

The main ethos behind Banteay Srey Boutique is Empowerment. Empowerment of women in particular, but also about the empowerment of families, communities and local artisans in Cambodia. We are just a small fish, in a big pond, who share the same ethos. Banteay Srey Boutique has chosen to partner with Friends-International by offering some of the wonderful jewellery created through the Child Safe network on our website.

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The ChildSafe Movement is a global child protection system established by and powered by Friends-International.
Children and young people are traditionally protected by their families and their communities. However, in a rapidly changing development environment, these communities turn to Governments and NGOs to fulfil this role.

Both Banteay Srey Boutique and Friends International recognise that communities and individuals are dis-empowered or simply do not know how to react to situations of abuse of children. This leads to children being left unprotected and abuse becomes more common.

The ChildSafe Movement was designed to:

  • Protect children & youth from all forms of abuse
  • Prevent children & youth from engaging in dangerous behaviors
  • Influence all tiers of society and the international community so they can create positive environments for children & youth

This is achieved by training and supporting key and strategic members of communities, raise awareness and promoting behaviour change among the general population and supporting behaviour change among tourists and travellers to reduce their social footprint.

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Friends-International employ employ families of marginalized children and provide them with skills training to make products at home, in training centres and workshops.The aim is to provide stable and sustainable employment, income
generation, training and empowerment to the community. They also receive training in business, literacy and life skills.
The families receive money for every item they make and are able to provide for their children and send them to school.
All products are hand-made from mainly recycled materials to help reduce litter.

Banteay Srey has chosen to stock some these wonderful items which will be called our ‘Bead’ and ‘Silver’ Collections.

The stunning pieces in our ‘Bead’ Collection, which would be a great accessory to any Bohemian look, are actually made from recycled paper and magazines….

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The elegant ‘Silver’ Collection, which would class up any outfit, is made from the everyday utensil of a spoon, which has been artistically manipulated and moulded into stunning rings, earrings and cuffs.

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We have many variations, and you can be guaranteed though it make look the same of the surface, each piece is very special and unique down to each crease, fold, bend – depending on the artisan who made it. We are so happy to have these wonderful and ethical pieces available in our on-line store.

For more information on the work of Friends-International click here: http://friends-international.org/

Learn more about ChildSafe and what you can do whilst travelling in devoloping countres here: thinkchildsafe.org

Lots of Love,

Carol & Kim

Xxx

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Meet your makers – Part 1 (The Clothing)

Banteay Srey Boutique is a concept of two women who literally adore handmade, quality, unique and artisan designs – Carol and Kim. We’ll let you in on a secret though, we know nothing about the technicalities of design and the process! We know what we like, and we know what we think is pretty. That’s where the rest of our team step in. Banteay Srey is a collective, a collaboration, we cannot exist with each other. So lets get to know who are the crafty, creative and extremely talented people behind your tailor made, beautiful and classy design.

Meet Oun

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Oun, or as we call her Bong(which means equal friend/brother/sister) Oun is the face of of our clothing production in Siem Reap. This lady has an eye for style! When we first met Oun she came across as quite serious, but after awhile we realised she was just like an egg ( also like me and Kim) hard on the outside but gooey on the inside! She can switch from total seriousness to laughing her head off in 1 second flat. Oun is a justified and tough negotiator when it comes to how much it costs for her work , and we respect her so much for it! The quality she produces, and at the speed she does it, you just have to see it to believe it! She is really not in it for the money though, and says “I love my craft. It gives me the greatest feeling when I see someone wearing one of my designs and what I produced”. She prays every day that our collaboration will be a success and has gone out of her way to help the project through her knowledge of government customs and requirements!

Meet Oum

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Not much is known about Oum, except that you listen to what she says! Oum has over 25 years experience in tailoring, especially for the Western Market (don’t forget Cambodia was once a French Colony). We all present our designs to Oum, and if she says no…it’s a no! She knows exactly what designs fit what shape, and what height etc…  She is the measuring and mapping out of the fabric lady. She draws  very basic sketches in a notebook by hand, because her knowledge is all in her head. She measures with a measuring tape, but sketches on the fabric with flint. She knows everything you cannot learn from a design book or fashion mag, she is our go-to person, our guru…but without reason or explanation! Oum is Om.

Meet Chorvy

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Chorvy or ‘V’ as she likes to be known is the reason Banteay Srey Boutique exists! Chorvy was a student of Carol when she was volunteering as an English Teacher is Siem Reap. Every day, Chorvy came to class looking exquisite – wearing tailor made, feminine, and classy dresses. Carol was intrigued and asked where are your clothes coming from??? The answer was her sister (Oun). Other than that Chorvy has become the official BSB stylist, she knows how every dress should sit or lay on a person, down to the how the hem should be ironed and what accessories match each design!  To add to her talents, an avid artist, she is venturing out into the art of fashion design herself, and one of her designs will feature in our launch collection.

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These talented ladies bring you the clothes you will love to wear! Thanks for supporting their and the Banteay Srey Boutique dream of bringing the craft of quality design and tailoring back to the grass roots.

Lots of love,

Carol and Kim xxx

What’s in a name…?

As good old William Shakespeare said “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, right?

When we were deciding on our name, we wanted something that would represent what we are all about:

  • Design and Quality – Handmade designs with a quality finish. Cost and time are not an issue for us, the quality is the utmost importance in our end product.
  • Empowerment – the empowerment of women in particular. The ladies who wear our designs are strong and confident women, yet feminine and classy. The women who make them are the same!
  • Ethical Fashion – Knowing Who, Where and How our products come from and are made is part of who we are. We don’t want to participate in mass manufacturing, where the conditions for workers in developing countries is usually appalling, not to mention the pay.
  • Showing the world Cambodia – the country, the culture, the skill set and the Khmer people.

So what name did we feel matched up with all these factors?  Banteay Srey (pronounced “Bant-eye Sray”).

Banteay Srey Temple
Banteay Srey Temple

Banteay Srey, is a lessor known temple located in the Angkor area of Cambodia which lies 25km north east of the main group of temples. The temple is was built in the 10th century and is the only temple built that is dedicated to a god, and not a king – the Hindu god Shiva. Shiva, which in English means “The Auspicious One”, is also known as the great god and is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless.

The name ‘Banteay Srey’ means ‘Cidatel or Fortress of Women’. Banteay Srey is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings, mainly featuring the beautiful Apsara – Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings, they are youthful and elegant.

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The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, unusually so when measured by the standards of Angkorian construction. Banteay Srey is widely praised as a ‘precious gem’ or ‘jewel of Khmer art’….. and we thought that fitted us perfectly, we hope you do too!

Carol & Kim X

“The harder you slam a ball into the ground…the higher it bounces back up”

Welcome to the Banteay Srey Blog!

We will be using our blog to keep you up to date of our goings on both in Cambodia and Australia, as well letting you meet our collaborators and give you a sneak peak behind the scenes of our new collections and the production process.

Though we have been relatively quiet on social media since our Kickstarter campaign ended back at the start of May, we assure you that a lot has been going on behind the scenes at Banteay Srey HQ. Though the campaign itself was unsuccessful in regards to funding, at Banteay Srey we are all about empowerment, and there is nothing more empowering than the desire to succeed at something you truly believe in. After all, the harder you slam a ball into the ground, the higher it bounces back up!

May has all been about planning, forecasting and decision making but June is going to be about fun things like photo shoots, new designs, exciting collaborations, finishing touches to our website and beautiful new products we will have available to the public real soon! As always, all our designs and products will be handmade in the beautiful Kingdom of Cambodia by quality Khmer artisans.

We are feeling so ecstatic about the future we have reduced all our samples in our Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/Banteaysrey to just $50! That’s a reduction of more than 25%!

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1-DSC_6936  Orla Cocktail Dress

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Get in quick before the new collection rolls out…we are so frickin’ excited! We can’t wait to share our new designs and products with you.

Lots of love,

Carol & Kim Xxx

#wearebanteysrey