by Jamaica Gayle | Apr 23, 2020
FAIRWEAVE is a Cambodia-based social enterprise that works with local artisans to produce unique textiles using traditional designs. Founder and Designer, Chomnab Ho, uses his professional experience in dyeing, weaving and developing hand-woven pieces to empower weavers and craftswomen from rural communities and help fight poverty.
Before the pandemic, Ho and the FAIRWEAVE artisans wove silk and cotton into wide ranges of craft quality textiles, bringing socially conscious products to the local community and international buyers. In the last several weeks, FAIRWEAVE has closed its retail store, and exports have dramatically declined, forcing the business to cut a percentage of the in-house staff.
“In the early stages of the pandemic, we were in a panic. But we found some true customers and friends who stay with us and are giving support,” says Ho.
“We are reaching more customers who want to support us and come to buy our products. In short, I can say that during the hardest times, we can see who are our best friends,” he shares optimistically.
For FAIRWEAVE, digital platforms are more important than ever as a means to keep customers informed and promote new items and sales. “At the moment, we have Facebook and Instagram which are very helpful for us to stay close to our customers. We have been updating our sale promotions and making some sales through these social media platforms,” he explains.
Ordinarily, the team of weavers at FAIRWEAVE crafts items for home and fashion. After witnessing the unprecedented demand, they began also producing masks to meet the needs of the community and protect their own workers.
“When you purchase fabric masks from our studio, you contribute to the cost of fabric masks donations to women and kids in the community across Cambodia,” FAIRWEAVE shares on Instagram.
Both platforms are also used to regularly introduce customers to the women who make the products, encouraging followers to comment on posts with any questions they have for the weavers.
Ho plans to prioritize looking for funding opportunities with the goal of reopening the retail store and bringing all of the women back to work. Until then, they continue to digitally spread the word about their unique textiles collections and the women that make it possible.