In order to self-finance the pastry training, the school created offers to Siem Reap’s hotels and restaurants. Thus, the NGO hired Chloé, civic service volunteer for a year, whose job is dedicated to developing external sales of our products.
What is your background?
After studying Business and Tourism during five years, I worked for Havas Voyages as a sales representative during three years. Besides, I have always had a strong interest in social issues and international solidarity. My 15 years experience among the scouts also made me aware about theses issues. I had the opportunity to work in a solidarity project in Burkina Faso during a month and that experience strengthened my will to do a bigger mission. That’s why I decided to reorient to an international development mission that matched with my skills.
What does your mission consist in?
The Pastry School opened in 2014. In order to contribute to self-finance the training by selling the products made by our students, the NGO had to hire someone specifically for that. Since September, I work on the sales development, either in the coffee shop by creating new offers and holding events, and outside with other businesses, by offering partnerships to hotels, travel agencies and restaurants. The bakery and pastry market is very competitive in Siem Reap, some businesses have been there for many years. So, I try to differentiate our products by their quality and by the social aspect of the purchase.
How would you assess the four first months?
The two first months were mainly about getting to know the functioning of the school, sort out administrative things and assess the market in order to build the offers. Then, I got meetings with potential clients, the main target was big hotels with high capacity to have less clients but sell more products. Since the beginning of December, we have a dozen of regular clients: hotels, bars, restaurants, which we provide with croissants, breads, pastries and cakes.
What is the impact of these sales on the school’s operating?
The increase of the production required us to reorganize different aspects: production time, staff members’ tasks, taking of orders, deliveries, incidentally we just hired a Khmer delivery man. The external sales necessitates to be better organized in terms of administration and finance. We can say that a big part of the staff is more or less concerned by that new organization.
According to you, why do the clients want to work with Bayon Pastry School?
The former staff had already communicated about our school last year, so a few hotels already knew us. The word of mouth also played a key role. The clients knew the quality of our products and are aware that their purchase contributes to a good cause: young Cambodians’ education. Even if our products aren’t the cheapest, our clients want to work with us to get high quality products and help our NGO.
What is coming next?
For now, our capacities don’t enable us to work with more hotels and restaurants. So I reorient my market research towards travel agencies to develop the sales in the coffee shop by offering them to bring their customers as part of social tourism, which is more and more trendy especially in such a country as Cambodia. What’s more, we still organize events in the coffee shop. After the xmas party’s success, we keep going and are launching open air cinema nights to appeal to people. One of our priorities is also to improve our efficiency on the long-term and the quality of our products to increase the sales, which may enable to self-finance the vocational training in a few years.