By Kori Tuitt, firstname.lastname@example.org
LOWELL — Celebration is at the center of Cambodian culture. But when it comes time to attend that special event, looking as festive as you feel can become pricey.
Two years ago, when Bora Chiemruom’s daughter was preparing to attend a school prom, the family paid $500 for the dress and another $75 for alterations. She attended the prom for three or four hours and the dress later ended up in the basement.
“I started looking at other Cambodian women and women in my community, to see what they were doing for formal events like weddings, anniversaries and sweet sixteens,” Chiemruom said. “They were also wearing these really elaborate, beautiful gowns and dresses and spending those similar amounts of money. I thought, there has to be something to be done.”
From then, the idea to open a boutique where customers can rent or consign formal dresses and gowns. Chiemruom turned to EforAll for help. Last October, Chiemruom participated in an EforAll pitch contest at the Glory Buddhist Temple, which was in partnership with the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA). At the contest, she won Fan Favorite and said she received great feedback.
Chiemruom completed an accelerated program at EforAll, where she learned everything from effectively using social media, to understanding customer preferences, to building her business website. Along the way, she was guided by mentors, who she said have gone above and beyond to make this dream come to life.