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Fair Trade

Fair Trade and Transparency

The BOC Commitment

At BOC we must measure part of our success against how much we have improved over local wages. To us this is about respect and proper representation of those who work for us. Without metrics, there is less incentive to improve and more incentive to capitalize on low wages. This is our way of giving those workers an actual measureable voice. Over the years BOC has consistently exceeded the norm for wages and benefits in the areas where we employ our artisans. This also includes innovations such as company sponsored vacations, safety net coverage for those needing emergency healthcare due to accident or illness, and no-interest loans also to those with emergency needs. Our goal is for our workers to feel valued and in exchange help us create higher and higher quality products. The growth we see as a result will reflect directly in the wages they take home. 

Here are the tenets that BOC has been focused on in Cambodia since 1996:

  1.  Upward Bias - We believe applying an upward bias to wages in all areas in which we operate in Cambodia. We also believe that these wages should be tracked and published
  1. Worker's Voice- We make all our locations accessible so anyone can visit and hear from our workers directly.

  2. Quality - BOC 's focus on quality helps keep wages moving in the right direction and provides much need esteem for baskets in general.

  3. Originality - BOC develops all its own styles without copying others. This  provide new opportunities for workers to propose their own ideas. Indiscriminate copying can be a probem. We typically respond by just continuiing to move forward to ensure the quaity necessary for a sustainable business model.

  4. Transparency - BOC believes that only when there is full transparency can anyone make claims based on workers' welfare. Providing actual metrics about wages, benefits, working conditions, etc. is the best way to do this. This gives the workers a real voice in the discourse about fair trade.




Mat Weavers Weavers- UPDATE 2024 -$6.00 for each of two workers per mat is the current average for weavers in the countryside. This rate in addition to holiday bonuses was as low as $.75 a day in 2002 is expected to keep pace with inflation. Best gage of our success:  We strive to be the producer of choice for weavers by never paying under market prices and by always paying on time and developing respectful relationship. If they choose us, that reflects our success. This is hard work but it is usually done outside next to or on the ground level fo the makers hmes in the countryside.


Purse Makers-


Purse makers working from from with enough work earn from $10 a day and up, while at the same time caring and cooking for their families.  

During our busy season the wages can range from $170- as high as $450 month for full time makers depending on the skill of each maker.

LOCAL WAGE HISTORY- The garment industry was started in the mid-1990's and paid at that time about $25 per month for 12 hours a day - 6-7 day a week.  Between 2000 and 2010 the wage hovered around $50-$60/month for about a 48 hour work week.  The rates began to rise in earnest after that time and are currently about $120/month considering good attendance bonuses.

These are the rates your major retailers pay.


In 1997 when we started, the garment wage was $25/mo working 12 hours a day with sporadic days off.  BOC started by paying the equivalent of $60 per month - always above the local garment factores.  Why don't we pay much more?  The best way is to pay well by local stabdards but not so much that you create an opportunity for others to undercut your business.  Also-  BOC knows they are paying enough when it is found that the makers are sub-contracting the work that BOC provides to create a bigger return - but this can only be done by paying their workers less than BOC. When this happens BOC can no longer ensure safe and fair working conditions and when we find out we stop it. We have stayed ahead from 20-40% above until lately as the local factories began to increase wages to avoid social protest. Currently a good maker can bring in approximately 10-15% more than the workers at the factory while also being able to stay at home and care for their familieis.

We achieved our upward bias goal and expect to remain well ahead of the local market.

Basket Makers-

UPDATE Spring 2024

Current Wage Standard:  $4.00-$8.00 plus meals if working on site plus healthcare vs the $1-$1.50/day estimated international average.

Reason: This is one of the lowest paid professions in the world today. BOC competes with countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan where the wage is currently $1- $1.50 a day. Several companies from major retail outlets have approached BOC to make the next $1 a day basket. BOC has refused and hopes instead to establish an upward bias at this floor level which provides only for the barest level of subsistence. Buying a quality basket helps maintain a higher standard of living for the lowest paying profession.

Conclusion: BOC pays makers as well as it can given the realities of the marketplace. We hope and fully expect wages to go up as more people continue to appreciate the level of quality that goes into all of our unique products. This page will be continually updated with more and more accurate information, as it is important for all of us to know and share where our product is made and how much our workers are paid. Overall transparency protects workers' interests, and those of us who claim 'fair trade' should be at the forefront of this effort.

Interested party:  If you'd like to see first hand how we operate, let us know when you come to Cambodia. It can be a very interesting and inspiring visit.