Resilience, Covid-19, and Sample Sales

team photo in Siem Reap by Frank Scarfone

photo from our team retreat in Siem Reap in January by Frank Scarfone


Dear friends and family –

When we set the intention of resilience at the beginning of the year, we had no idea how important that concept could possibly be in 2020.


The short story:

We know everyone is facing challenges both personally and economically due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic – but if you have the means to do so – tonlé needs your help to keep our team members in Cambodia employed during this difficult time. Here are three ways to support if you can:

  1. We’ve brought back our most popular sale, the 3 in one sample box sale for just $80 including shipping.
  2. Make any purchase on our site, or purchase a gift card, to help us generate more sales and keep our team in work.
  3. If you’re feeling extra generous, make a donation to our Covid-19 resilience fund which will directly pay for paid leave for staff as needed. As a thank you for any donations over $500 – I will create and ship you a custom piece of art for you on a theme of your choice.

The long story:  

This week in the US we started to see not only the human but economic toll Covid-19 with not only the impact on the larger markets but small businesses starting to feel the pain as well. Many independent retailers are feeling the pain of lost business or forced closures, and since many of these independent retailers are our customers, we’ve had several orders canceled this week. Our own store in San Francisco has also been extremely slow, and we understand what everyone is going through.

At the same time, cases of Covid-19 have just started to spread in Cambodia, and we are putting precautions into place to protect the health and safety of our team. Nevertheless, we may be forced to close our workshop, put a temporary halt on production, or have people work from home to protect our workers’ health and safety. We are working on putting plans in place to do so – but it has been challenging while our financial situation continues to be affected dramatically by cancellations and lost retail store business. 

Factories around Asia have already closed and laid off thousands of workers, and it goes without saying those with the least economic means are going to be the hardest hit. 

We want to be able to continue to provide employment and paid sick leave to our employees when they need it most, but we will need your help to do so. We know that many of you are probably worried about your own livelihoods and family’s well being, but if you are in a place to help support our tonlé team, we would greatly appreciate it. 

In order to generate some sales to create a buffer during this time – we are bringing back our sample sale box – this time we will be doing 3 items for $80 – with free shipping with the US. We’ve got a lot of new products that have come in – each box will contain at least 1 new item in addition to 2 other sample or sale items. Please note these items will be shipped in a week’s time as it takes us time to prepare these boxes. 

Secondly, if you’d like to support tonlé but you’re not sure what you need right now or would like to gift tonlé to someone else, please consider purchasing a gift card.

Lastly, if you’re feeling really generous and have the means to do so – please consider making a donation to our covid-19 resiliency fund through PayPal. This money will be directly used to pay salaries and sick leave while our production work is slow or stopped. As a thank you for any donations over $500 – I will create and ship you a custom piece of art for you on a theme of your choice.  


Protecting the health and well-being of our customers and team

We’ve instilled strict cleaning procedures in both our workshop and in our store in San Francisco. Our SF store is still open, but we may have limited hours in the next few months depending on the situation. Stay tuned. 

We may consider temporarily closing our workshop in Cambodia. We are doing the best we can to mitigate the effects of this on our 60 full time team members through raising money to fund paid time off and also considering letting people work from home. We are continuing to monitor the rapidly evolving situation and appreciate your support in the process.

We’re all in uncharted territory right now and it’s so important to each be taking care of ourselves as well as checking in on friends and family. Many small businesses, especially in creative industries – will be feeling pressure and we humbly ask for your support as many among the tonlé team are especially vulnerable to economic hardship and health challenges. Thank you so much from the bottom of all of our hearts!


- Rachel and the tonlé team

1 comment

Really rooting for you and your team Rachel. I’ll be placing an order this week. Love the team’s work and your transparency during these tough times.


Melissa Im-Giuffrida April 16, 2020

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