Pkar Khmer fake flower bouquets last longer, look better at lower cost
Flowers are a gift that is suitable for almost any occasion. It could be a wedding, funeral, birthday, graduation, first date, or religious or traditional holiday – flowers can usually take care of that, especially if the recipient is a woman.
Whether it’s roses, lilies, orchids, sunflowers or another variety, colorful flowers can be arranged in floral bouquets, framed, placed in vases or used to decorate gift baskets filled with fruit by a local store called Pkar Khmer.
Without touching them, you would never guess that their flowers are not real living plants. They are artificial and handmade from corn husks and mangrove palms.
This strange flower shop started operating in January 2021 and was co-founded by Vong Heranhniyuth and one of his friends.
Heranhniyuth says opening a flower shop is something he never imagined doing until recently and it all started with his friend who loved designing paper flowers to sell in his spare time.
“Before that, my friend and I had our own careers. I worked in tourism and my friend was a barber. He loves spending time making paper flowers and selling them online. Through this, he met a friend online, Lina, who also made flowers to sell, but from corn husks.
“She gave us advice saying that a paper flower was not very valuable and people had seen it before. How about trying to make them out of corn husks like she did? We jumped on it as soon as we saw what she was capable of.
“Flowers last longer and look more glamorous and fewer people are making them. We’re one of the first stores to do this, so we learned the process from her online. Finally, we opened the Pkar Khmer boutique,” says co-founder, Heranhniyuth.
The shop started with only artificial flowers made from corn husks, mangrove palm and some dried flowers, but over time and according to our customers’ requests, the shop began to offer fresh flowers as well.
Pkar Khmer’s flower arrangements are mostly made of artificial flowers made from corn husks and mangrove palms, they also use dried grass and cornflowers that they pick from the mountains. They test everything before they start using it in bouquets to make sure none of the live plants cause skin irritation or other issues.
As for raw materials, he says plants are easy to find and he can find them just about anywhere and corn husks are widely available in the city from street vendors. .
“We bought it from the vendors who sell boiled maize on carts. We told them to keep the corn husks for us after they peeled the husks for their customers. In exchange, we often buy their maize to resell and sometimes a little extra money. So now they know. Instead of throwing it away, they always make sure to keep the shells for us,” he says.
According to Heranhniyuth, the process of making these unique and creative flowers is much more complex than typical “origami” folded paper flowers.
It starts with collecting corn husks from vendors. Then they do another round of boiling but with the color they want to mix.
Then they dry the envelopes – because if they don’t, mold will grow on them – but this has to be done slowly and carefully, otherwise it will make the envelopes very brittle and difficult to bend without breaking. They need the heat at the right temperature for the right period of time.
Finally, the envelopes are cut and then folded into petals and then the petals are assembled into a flower.
“These flowers are environmentally friendly as they are made from other plant materials and are biodegradable. We make them by hand so our company creates a lot of jobs for people that way.
“There is beauty in both natural and artificial flowers, but I believe our handmade flowers have more meaning for people and are more appreciated by them. And because each piece is handmade, they are all different. Some are shorter, longer, smaller and bigger, but I think that’s what makes it unique,” he says.
Right now he is only doing orders for bouquets or baskets and he says he is not able to do orders for big events yet due to the large number of flowers one would need and he would like add staff and hone methods before tackling these challenges
Customers have to wait about 3-7 days for their custom orders to be completed, he says, and for special occasions like Valentine’s Day, it can take up to two weeks or even longer, but it also depends on the types. flowers and colors desired by customers.
“If the flowers and colors we have in the shop match the customers’ needs perfectly, their flower arrangement can be put together much sooner. But if someone really needs a rush order, we do our best to make it for them. We play by ear because these situations depend on what other orders we have, how many employees are available, etc.
We recommend that if they want the most beautiful and perfect bouquet, they should order early because normally after they finish with any bouquet, we will send a photo to the customer first and if they want the adjust or add more flowers, they can let us know and we’ll sort it out for them,” says the entrepreneur florist.
He says that when the store receives custom orders asking them to design and make flowers they are unfamiliar with, they will do their best to accommodate those requests, but some flowers are just too difficult to artificially make at home. hand if they look unusual. complex appearance.
Their handmade floral arrangements and bouquets vary in price depending on the details, but they start from $20 and increase in cost with size or difficulty.
Looking back on the last few months, Heranhniyuth notes that he started out with no experience in this type of business and no established clientele, but recently his sales have started to pick up and he is already getting a lot of recurring business.
“We now have regular customers who come every time they have a special occasion and their feedback has been really great and it drives us to be more creative and work harder to achieve a high standard. frankly, I think our products are great, but we need to become more efficient in how we produce them and modernize a bit more in that direction,” he says.
Many people are curious to see or touch the artificial flowers up close to compare them to the real live versions and this brings them into the store for the first time to check them out and ask questions, which often leads to sales and new customers. .
“I hope all of your readers will come take a look at our handmade flowers and support a locally handmade ‘green’ product. Their support means a lot to all creators and designers who have worked in the field. Hopefully the market for our products will only grow, even if our flowers don’t,” he says.
The Pkar Khmer store is located at #250 St 153 in the Chamkarmon district of Phnom Penh. For more information, they can be contacted via Facebook: @PkarKhmer