Since 1996, BOC has affected and helped empower hundreds of artisans, from basket makers, to mat weavers, to purse maker/stylists. Our makers are often too shy to talk about themselves, but we do our best to get their stories, and follow ups years later. Here are just a few to give you a perspective on the realities of life in poor countries. What is amazing is that no matter how much people make, they always manage to send some money home to their parents back in their villages. Also humbling is the faith that our makers put in BOC, and the continual effort they put into raising quality standards so that they may continue to grow with us as our products are sold worldwide. In some cases, mistakes in English are left in place or mildly corrected to add a sense of reality to the stories and the cross cultural challenges.
Here are a few of our makers' stories. These are the result of an interview a few years ago to find out more about our workers’ wants and needs. The interviews give a fascinating insight into life in the third world. You will find that the makers regularly show gratitude for the freedom that our work gives them, and how they see how their improvement will lead to other benefits. Another constant is the desire especially among the young workers to be able to care for their families, in particular to take care of their parents.
You may notice that wages are low by Western standards. We do not attempt to hide any of this. Our goal is to make our business attractive to our workers so that they prefer us over other companies because they receive better compensation and treatment. In return, we are truly creating a very talented workforce to grow as our products evolve.
Some of these workers come to our office in Phnom Penh to work. Others work at home. If requested, we supply sewing machines which that the workers can use for any purpose (once they are paid for). They can choose to work for themselves or even another business, but if we haven’t kept them with us, then we aren’t doing our job.