Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

International brand Smateria, has introduced its stylish range of bags and accessories made from recycled materials to Australia, proving one man’s junk is truly another man’s treasure.

Based in Cambodia, Smateria transforms discarded materials including mosquito nets, black plastic bags and motorcycle seats into gorgeous fashion accessories, offering a sustainable and unique alternative to high-street fashion.

Adelaide-born, Sarah Miller, discovered Smateria while volunteering in Cambodia and is now the sole-distributor of the brand in Australia.

“I am so passionate about Smateria and what it represents,” Sarah said.

“It not only produces fashionable, functional and sustainable products, but it also offers many Cambodians secure and dependable employment, operating under Fair Trade principles and international standard labour laws.

“I spent three years volunteering in Cambodia and know the struggle many people face just to provide for their families. It is a country with an incredibly troubled past and, while it is certainly on the road to recovery, it needs the ongoing support of the international community to get back on its feet.”
“Smateria offers its employees the chance of a better life and, through buying its products, the Australian public can directly assist the development of this unique country.”

Smateria bags and accessories are Italian-designed and Cambodian-manufactured and use much of the discarded paraphernalia that represents every-day Cambodian life.

“The motorcycle is so iconic of Cambodia and is central to the day-to-day life of many Cambodian families, so I find it particularly significant that it is now supporting people in a new way,” Sarah said.

Smateria’s current 2011 range consists of handbags, laptop bags, luggage, messenger bags, backpacks, toiletry bags, passport holders, wallets and keyrings, all made from brightly coloured multi-purposed netting from Cambodia’s markets, crocheted black plastic bags discarded in the streets of Phnom Penh and the nylon from recycled motorcycle seats.

Established by Italian friends, Jennifer Morellato and Elisa Lion in 2006 who met while living in Cambodia with their families, Smateria has grown from five to 50 employees. Four Smateria boutiques are now open in Cambodia and stockists carry products in Australia, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Holland, Italy, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland.

Note: Samples are available for photo shoots.

For further information please contact:
Sarah Miller - HQW Distributors
Tel: +61 2 4872 2755 or Mob: +61 408 376 535

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Smateria is a self financed, social enterprise that employs both able bodied and disabled people. In just four years, the business has grown from five to fifty employees. All Smateria employees are contracted in accordance with International Labour Law and operate under fair trade principles. 85% of Smateria employees are young women between the ages of 20 and 30.

Smateria outsources much of the handiwork required to produce Smateria products to the family members of their staff. Basic training is offered to the family members for free and sewing machines are provided on a rent to own agreement. The cost of the machines is repaid to Smateria in monthly instalments free of interest fees.

HQW Distributors are the exclusive distributors of Smateria in Australia and began distribution in late 2010. Sarah Miller, the Manager of Smateria distribution in Australia, recognised the potential for these amazing products in Australia while she was working as a volunteer in rural Cambodia for 3 years. During her time in Cambodia, Sarah met her Australian husband, Gareth and brought Smateria into the fold of his family business, HQW. Sarah believes that the recycled nature of Smateria’s products suits the Australian peoples’ environmental consciousness and the bright colours and durable fabric suit the weather and outdoor lifestyle of Australians. By buying Smateria products Australians can assist in the development of the Cambodian economy and the upskilling of Cambodian people which is so needed in a country greatly underdeveloped due to its tragic history.

HQW Distributors is a family owned and run business and has over 20 years experience importing and distributing goods in Australia. HQW does its best to ensure that its pricing is fair throughout the supply chain and that its timeframes for distribution bring customer satisfaction.
Sarah Miller
P: 02 4872 2755
M: 0408 376 535


Smateria, Cambodia, sustainable, recycled, bags, accessories, fashion, Cambodian made, Italian design



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