March 24, 2014

Temper | Cambodia

Among the endless list of reasons I love about growing up in a developing country is all the change and constant newness that I am able to witness on almost a daily basis. So it goes without saying how excited I was to share the story of TEMPER : a jewelry line based in Cambodia, founded by the collaborative duo Anna and Jesse. This Cambodian Renaissance we are experiencing, if you will, needs businesses like this -- ones that value the unique craft and pureness of our culture, ones that emanate creativity in a meaningful way. Here is my interview with Anna during my time back home last month: 

Liz: What made you and your partner decide to launch this brand?

Anna: When Jesse and I reconnected in Cambodia after a year or so being apart from the Seattle area, we had an immediate sense that we needed to create something together: from Cambodia, with Cambodia. We both knew our strengths, skills, and interest sets and felt that launching a fair trade line of jewelry would channel these points in a positive and exciting way. The beauty of Cambodia, the people, the history, the resources- they are all here to be discovered and shared and we wanted to be able to do that through our line.

Liz: What inspires most of the designs?

Anna: We currently have a small offering of designs, but they pack a punch. Our motto for the line is "understated/statement", meaning that you can leave an impact without being ostentatious or gaudy. The styles are subtle, but the meanings behind them hold so much more than what meets the eye. It entirely depends on the person, their experiences, and how they choose to interpret the design- but we wanted to create something that attracted a wide range of people from all walks of life for different reasons. The smallest token can mean so much to someone. We especially love that our pieces are transformed from old bullet casings and bombshells- to see something that has caused such damage into something that can be seen as beautiful is a metamorphosis that we find truly wonderful. We will continue to think about all these things as we move forward and begin crafting new styles to add to the collection (keep your eyes out- more to come soon!). 

Liz: And where do you see Temper at in the next 5 years?

Anna: Jesse and I have a strong sense of connection to TEMPER so we don't want to push it too fast, too far- for the wrong reasons. Of course we want growth- but to do it in the right way. Partnering with strong individuals, working with our team of artisans in Phnom Penh in a way that grows each individual in the process- including ourselves, and maintaining quality control are things of importance to us; this isn't mass made in China. We would love to use TEMPER as a channel to give back to organizations in Cambodia that need funding- not large scale NGOs. There are so many ways to connect with this country and we see this as one of them- we don't ever want to lose sight of that so even if our main targets for sales are stateside- we want awareness of where the brand came from and why it was formed to be known far and wide!

Rings and Necklace : by Temper 

Photos by Jeremie of Film Noir Studios Phnom Penh


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