It is almost two months since we launched Satu, our online shop aimed at bringing the small brands we love to a wider market during extraordinarily difficult times. It has been a great thing to focus our energy on creating something positive and trying not to spend too much time in the realm of grief that we know everyone has experienced in one form or another over the past few months. We now are starting to see green shoots of a slow return to ‘normality’ in our world, but we hope that the issues that have been highlighted this year will not be forgotten as we move forward. Small businesses have been hit hardest as they are most vulnerable to such a harsh and unexpected downturn. We’ve seen so many of them closing recently but let’s not forget the many benefits that small business and locally sourced goods bring to us.
Using a locally made soap like ours from Bumblebee Cambodia rather than buying a brand from the supermarket gets more money circulating in the local economy. When you spend a dollar with a local business, on average almost half of that is re-circulated locally whereas only about 15% or less is when purchased from an international chain. That means more jobs, and other businesses benefitting from the support network assisting in the creation of these products. Small businesses also invest much more in the community, building relations with real people. When small businesses are successful, the local community benefits.
Kitchen Soap & Shampoo Bar from Bumblebee
Buying a locally produced (re-fillable!) shampoo from Kambio helps to enhance our local culture and helps to promote the unique character of our town. When I first came to Siem Reap I was surprised by the diversity of unique goods on offer in the shops – they were selling items that you literally could not buy anywhere else in the world and every shop was unique! Whilst visiting shops in Siem Reap each one had something special to offer and most times I was greeted by someone closely involved in and therefore very knowledgeable about the production of the products. In many places around the world, the streets are filled with big name banks, retail stores, Starbucks, supermarkets and little else. The character of Siem Reap and Cambodia have so much to offer and small businesses play an important role in promoting diversity and character. Often with products from a small business there is an interesting story behind it, something that creates interest in charitable work or personal stories of real people. Morijana, one of our clothes suppliers employs women at high risk of exploitation from working in places like garment factories and ensures fair wages and a good working environment for the women who work there. We believe stories like these help to attract tourists to Cambodia, along with the obvious benefits they bring.
Morijana Clothes & Team
Buying ethically produced clothes such as our sleek espadrilles from Kingdom of WOW reduces the impact on the environment. Less transportation means less carbon emissions, for which the benefits of have been evident during the 2020 pandemic. Our suppliers tend to use environmentally friendly dyes and other raw materials to make their products and also provide a good work environment for their staff. When your clothes are made by a Satu supplier, you are helping to reduce your ecological footprint, sound in the knowledge that the supplier is considering the environment and their employees in their production process.
Satu only works with small businesses, but not only that. We take it a step further and ensure that 100% of our products are designed, produced and sold in an ethically sustainable way. When you shop with us, you can be sure we have done the research for you and that you are making an ethically sound choice when choosing what to buy. No matter what you think about the events of 2020, most would agree that if we all make small changes, we can make a big difference to our world. Satu bridges the gap between sourcing ethically made products from many suppliers and puts them all into one place where they can be ordered straight to your door. From the Satu family, we wish you all a prosperous and healthy future. We are thinking of you all.
Geoff Greenwood, Founder