Updated July 2022, with the help of Monika Nowaczyk from Cambodia Knits.
If you love sustainable and fair trade shopping, then leave some space in your bag for your visit to Phnom Penh.
Cambodia’s capital is an energetic, fast-moving city full of tuk-tuks, motorbikes, food stalls and construction. This bustling place has an adverse feel to the slow-paced life of rural Cambodia but has so much to offer. You can get lost walking down all the different streets, finding interesting little eateries and shops, or just finding a nice café to sit and people-watch all the locals that make their living here in the biggest city of Cambodia.
Many people have set up businesses here to create a better life for themselves. You can find a variety of shops that sell goods to assist those who have been affected by the recent economic hardships the country has gone through. Many of these shops sell a range of fair trade goods with profits going back to the people who make them, reversing the cycle of poverty and providing income for people from all areas around the country.
Spend a day walking around the city shopping through the range of sustainable and fair trade products on offer.
You may use this Google map for reference:
Kuan Duon Penh area (Riverside)
Artisandesigner (A.N.D) – Street 240
Artisandesigner is a chain of shops that sell handicrafts and wooden products made from locally sourced materials. You can find anything from handmade purses to colourful dresses and woven scarves, made from pure Cambodian silk by people throughout the country. The shop supports the organisation Watthan Artisans Cambodia [WAC] by selling a range of products made by artisans with disabilities, who are trained in handicraft production. They also support home-based workers nationwide and provide them with annual contracts to ensure they can have comfortable financial stability and a better livelihood.
The Green Store – Street 240
The Green Store sources a range of products from various artisans around Cambodia. From sustainable athlete-wear to locally-grown Kampot pepper; organic, ethically-produced rice to Cambodian artisan jewellery. Their welcoming venue provides a space for many sustainable brands to promote and sell their products.
Souvenir Station – Street 178
Souvenir Station is another aggregate store that stocks a range of locally produced and procured products. Support the Khmer community by purchasing products that promote the Cambodian economy and increase employment opportunities for local people.
Friends’N’Stuff – Street 13
The Friends’N’Stuff shop is an extension of the Friends Restaurant in Phnom Penh. The famous NGO Friends International, a large social enterprise in Cambodia that provides assistance to marginalised youth and their families, runs a restaurant and shop that uses the profits to fund many of their community projects. The products sold in Friends’N’Stuff are made by the parents of children in need and you can pick up a range of unique handmade products including bags, clothes and jewellery.
Khan Chamkar Mon area (Downtown nearby Tuol Sleng)
Cambodia Knits – Street 464
Cambodia Knits, located at House 52A, Street 464 in the Toul Tom Poung neighbourhood, is a five-minute walk from the Russian Market. Here you can find the hand knit and hand crochet toys of Beebee+Bongo and other products by Cambodia Knits such as their Apsara or Hanuman dolls, perfect fairly made gifts for the little ones in your life. All of the products here are ethically made and are safety certified to global standards. Cambodia Knits is a provisional member of the World Fair Trade Organization and you can also purchase their items on their global site.
Cambodia Handicraft Association (CHA) – Street 330
The Cambodia Handicraft Association provides opportunities to Cambodian women who have been affected by landmine accidents or polio. They run a training program where the women can learn skills in handicrafts, tailoring, weaving and running a small business, so that they can use these trades as a way to make a sustainable living for themselves and their communities. Towards the back of the shop, you can see the trainees working away creating beautiful Cambodian silk garments and handicrafts. They greet you with a smile and you can even have a chat with them while you’re browsing through the shop. All the profits from the shop go towards the costs of running the program and providing many opportunities for the ladies here at CHA.
Clothesline Resale Boutique – Street 122
Clothesline Resale Boutique is a socially-minded second-hand store offering a wide and ever-changing selection of recycled clothing, unique accessories, eco-products, books, & gently pre-owned homewares. A portion of every purchase goes back to people and projects in the community. The store takes ongoing donations of clothes, accessories, household, kids’ stuff, books, shoes, etc.
Peace Handicrafts/Y.E.K Design – Street 155
Peace Handicrafts is another social enterprise that provides training and employment opportunities to landmine victims, disabled people and the deaf. They sell a range of products made from local hand-woven silks and recycled materials such as recycled rice bags, nets and recycled paper. This environmentally conscious organisation also exports their products internationally while supporting the local people of Cambodia. You can read some of the staff stories here.
Goel Community – Street 12BT
Goel Community is a boutique fair trade store selling a range of beautiful handmade, naturally-dyed linen clothes, as well as products like scarves, bed linen, bags, wallets and dolls. As a Guaranteed Member of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), Goel Community abides by and is held accountable to the fair trade principles on which Goel Community was founded.
The manufacturing industry around the world is responsible for a lot of human exploitation. By choosing to shop fair trade when you travel you can stop this practice and start to create a better life for the people behind the products you buy.
If you’re a fair trade shop in Phnom Penh please get in contact and I will feature you in this post. Let’s spread the fair trade love.
Do you know of any other fair trade shops in Phnom Penh? Leave your comments in the section below.
Travelling to Phnom Penh?
Ready to travel to Phnom Penh? Don’t forget your travel insurance. I recommend SafetyWing, as they fully cover COVID-19-related illnesses as of August 1, 2020. They even cover PCR tests if deemed medically necessary by a doctor. Read more here.
- 5 ways to shop fairly when you travel
- What are you really bargaining for – the harsh side to haggling abroad
- An ethical guide to travel in Kampot, Cambodia