Cambodia Knits (CK) is a social enterprise working with marginalized communities in and near Phnom Penh. Our goal is to produce beautiful, high quality and unique hand-made products while providing fair and flexible employment opportunities.
CK produces a cute and lovable range of hand-knitted woolen toys; we’ve been knitting animals and monsters for 4 years adding finger puppets and magnets along the way. Our focus is on creating quality products with quality materials—making sure each individual piece receives the same care and attention that we hope you will give once it arrives to you!
An added bonus of choosing one of our little woolen wonders is that your purchase will help to support local community members in Cambodia by providing them with sustainable employment. CK believes that employment opportunities help empower marginalized communities to find a way out of poverty, especially when their work is fairly paid and helps to address the challenges they face. As a social enterprise, we invest in these communities because we believe that putting people ahead of profit results in a great product.
Cambodia Knits crochets: Our new venture
Cambodia Knits is all about knitting, so why start to crochet?
We concentrate first and foremost on using the best materials and the best people to create the best products possible. We have recently sourced some beautiful 100% cotton yarn in a stunning array of colours. While this is too thin to use for knitting, branching out into crochet means we can take advantage of these awesome supplies.
This opportunity has also motivated us to develop a whole new line of products. Expanding our production allows us to create a more diverse offering for our customers, employ more community members and ultimately make our business stronger.
Launching our new line of crochet toys has also allowed us to work with a whole new community of producers, providing sustainable employment to the families living at Trapeang Anh Chan (TAC) who were relocated from central Phnom Penh in 2012 to make way for a railway project. While they have received some support in their new location, one key missing element is access to employment. CK is currently providing training which will enable up to 25 more producers to join our team. We believe people prefer earning their own way rather than depending on charity and this new product line gives them the opportunity to earn a fair income close to home.
Contributing to our campaign will allow us to purchase this wonderful new yarn in bulk so we can get the best price possible. We also aim to build up our inventory so that in the future we can provide a whole range of great crochet creatures to customers everywhere right away.
We are starting our campaign with four new crochet creatures: a bug eyed owl, a rotund pig, a dorky one-eyed alien and a pensive elephant.
Each toy is approximately 15-20cm long and come in shades of blues, pinks or purples, depending on which creature you choose. The stuffing is all new polyester and the eyes are non-toxic plastic safety eyes, securely fastened and next to impossible to remove.
We have a limited number of each creature available for shipping in early December – these should arrive in time for Christmas and for an extra $2 we’ll even wrap and add a gift card. Additional creatures can also be shipped later on.
We're offering a limited number of rewards for delivery in December, so you can plan your Christmas shopping early. If we find that our producers are able to output faster after the training is complete and in time for shipping in early December, we'll add more in-time-for-Christmas rewards. But if you miss out, you can also opt for delivery in 2014.
We also have some packages, combining different creatures for those of you that just want more! For pledge of $32, you can choose any two different creatures from our pig, owl and alien. $40 will get you the elephant plus any one of the others. If you pledge $55 you can choose any three different critters and for $70 we will send you all four of the new crochet creatures.
Options & extras Gift wrap If you’re ordering for Christmas, save yourself some hassle by adding an extra $2 per gift and let us do the wrapping for you. Simply tell us where you would like it sent and what message you would like in the gift card. If you’re ordering a package of creatures and would like each item sent to a different address, please add an extra $5 per additional location for shipping.
Crochet your own
We like to be social in as many ways as possible, so for other crocheters out there we are happy to offer our patterns to share the Cambodia Knits love. Pledge $5 or more and we will email you a PDF version of any two of our crochet patterns. These are step-by-step instructions to guide you in making your very own version of our critters. Just choose which two of our little critters you would like to try your hand at!
Special promotion for those in Phnom Penh
If you’re in Phnom Penh, or planning to be here sometime in December, you can pick up your crochet creature in person to get an extra bonus. Our reward pricing already includes shipping costs, but if you collect yours directly from our shop in Phnom Penh you will also receive one of our awesome magnets to offset the saving on shipping!
Use our yarn
We’re also offering a $25 voucher for purchasing yarn at the Cambodia Knits shop in Phnom Penh.
Are you are retailer? Your pledge can be directly applied to any future orders you make, along with a 5% discount on your total order (excluding shipping).
We are planning to add more designs along the way, but if you have something specific you would like or have a pattern you would like us to try for you, contact us and we will see how we can help!
Other ways to support CK
If you like what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, help spread our message by telling your friends! Share our facebook page, Twitter feed, website and of course, this campaign. We’re always looking for more outlets to stock our products, so if you are a retailer, contact us for wholesale rates at orders @ cambodiaknits.com. Customers can also let us know of any stores where our products would be a great fit and we’ll approach them.
Risks and challenges
Training and working with a new community is always challenging, especially where quality control is concerned. We only accept products from our producers that meet our quality standards. This is why we provide free, supportive training, to ensure knitters and crocheters have the time to develop and hone their skills before joining us as producers. The new team members from Trapeang Anh Chan community have already begun their training and will be graduated by the time our Kickstarter campaign ends, ensuring we're ready to start producing our new crochet line.
Of course production is slower in a new community as producers develop speed and quality. For this reason will have limited the number of rewards for delivery in December. It's possible we'll find that we can get more rewards out in time, but we’re erring on the side of caution because we really want to make sure if you’re aiming for a Christmas reward, we can get it to you!
Another challenge working from Cambodia is shipping. The Cambodia postal system is improving, but it still lags far behind in efficiency and sometimes reliability. To overcome this, we'll be shipping all rewards from neighbouring Thailand in early December. Thai Post is fast, reliable and safe and we can pretty much guarantee that rewards sent in early December will reach you in time for Christmas.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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