What We Do

At Smateria, we make bags, purses and accessories using only re-purposed, up-cycled or recycled materials, including fishing net, plastic shopping bags and leather offcuts from a sofa manufacturer!

Our bright-colored, long-lasting bags are designed with Italian flair and made by Cambodian artisans. Smateria’s philosophy is to use materials that already exist or that have been designed for another purpose, and create a whole new accessory – of course you can look beautiful without being wasteful.

Training and recycling

Smateria’s greatest triumph is recycling plastic bags while training and employing women displaced from Phnom Penh under the city’s wave of building and urbanization.

Every Thursday, long-term employee Lina travels to a shanty village 20 kilometres away, set up after a public-housing eviction from the city. Here she trains the women to crochet and knit plastic strips. She takes new patterns and templates, oversees their techniques and checks the quality of the products.

As sub-contractors for Smateria, the women work at their own pace, in their own time.