Turning a childhood hobby into a business through recycled car tyres

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A former credit officer from Prey Veng province is attracting customers with his creativity as he turns old car tyres into furniture, colourful garden decorations and playground equipment.

“As a child, I really liked turning car tyres into toy animals. In the past, children like me didn’t have any options for toys. If there were even any toys on sale, we couldn’t afford them. I simply made my own toys without learning from others,” Soeung Sourkea says.

It was an unexpected turn, making his childhood hobby into a business he is able to earn a living off.

Sourkea qualified as an accountant and worked as a credit officer for different micro-finance companies for eight years. The stress and pressure from this work became the push factor for the 33-year-old to give up his career and start his own business based on his childhood hobby.

Fed up with his career, he wanted to shift his focus into starting his own small business. His wife of four years helped support the family with her income from the small convenience store she runs while he started.

Last year, the father of two bought a few old car tyres and turned them into coffee tables, chairs, garden pots and hanging rubber macaw parrots.

The photos of his recycled creations went viral on social media, impressing some people enough that they drove some 50km from Phnom Penh to his workshop on National Road 8 in Pea Reang District’s Snay Pol Village, Prey Veng province.

Sitting on a self-made tyre chair in his workshop on the ground floor of his home, Sourkea tells The Post: “I could see how easy old car tyres were to find and decided to try recycling them into furniture, garden decorations and playground equipment. I only started recycling old car tyres about half-a-year ago. I haven’t made as many things as I plan to yet.”

Turning his hobby into a business was a steep learning curve for him. Every day he would spend an hour or two exploring techniques he could use in his small workshop.

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