Written by Kosoma Kim | Edited by Abigail Perriman
What is your favourite traveling video in Cambodia? Have you seen the travelling video capturing the beautiful nature of Mondulkiri? Not familiar? Check it out here first!
This month we would like to introduce you to a Cambodian creative and cutting-edge video editor, Kun Navorth and co-founder Thida Oum, who have recently launched their very first startup, Vibe Soul, that will bring people closer to the untouched nature and ecotourism sites in Cambodia.
Inspired by many amazing traveling blogs out there on the internet, Vibe Soul was kickstarted at the end of 2017 by a team of 12 student entrepreneurs from different background ranging from business and public relations to media. Now Navorth and Thida are ready to share with you their journeys in pursuing their passions that lead to the creation of Vibe Soul.
Q1: What is Vibe Soul? What makes VibeSoul unique?
Navorth: Vibe Soul is a newborn creative media agency in Phnom Penh focusing on promoting Eco-tourism sites, supporting local communities in Cambodia, and exploring unknown places to make them accessible to tourists. I learnt that there are already a lot of traveling blogs in Cambodia sharing beautiful photos and interesting article, and these inspire Cambodian young people to go out to travel, but more than just travel and take tonnes of photos; we believe there are more things that travelers can do to improve the community. That is why Vibe Soul was established. Our mission is to Travel, Explore, Share and Inspire!
Thida: What makes Vibe Soul unique is the quality of our videos. We care about the image quality, the message behind it, feelings and emotions that the video delivers to viewers. Vibe Soul is created by a group of young creative and passionate people. This is what makes us strong from the start.
Q2: What inspired you to start VibeSoul?
Navorth: First and foremost, I love travelling and I believe many people love it too. So I started sharing my traveling videos and it went viral until I won a competition to visit the Maldives. After coming back from the Maldives and meeting a lot of inspiring people, I had an idea to create Vibe Soul, so I pitched the idea to my friends, they agreed to joined and we started.
Thida: I met Navorth for the first time in the Philippines where we attended a competition program that promotes tourism sites there; later we found that we have the same passion. I saw my potential in building up this startup, so I wanted to give it a try.
Q3: What are the challenges in starting Vibe Soul in Cambodia?
Navorth: It has been 6 months since we started Vibe Soul. Our main income is generated from indirect commercials; however, this is our main challenge since most private sectors that we reach out to prefer direct commercials. While we believe in the power of indirect commercials, we have to deal with the challenge of convincing those companies, so that we don’t lose our values in what we sincerely want to do in the first place.
However, we had the great opportunity of working with consumer goods companies already including a soft drinks company, travelling accessories company, hotel, restaurant and other businesses related to the tourism sector.
Thida: There are a lot of big media companies and ecotourism operators emerging recently. We are somehow in the middle where this could be a threat or opportunity. Internally, we are finding the common ground to grow together as a team and individually. So we have been seeking a lot of supports from outside.
Q4: What do you believe is the future of Vibe Soul?
Navorth: In the long run, I believe Vibe Soul will become the biggest online opened-platform in Cambodia where people can talk about travelling within the country. We also aim to have content contributed directly by locals from tourism sites so that tourists can contact local communities directly. This will reduce the gap between them and cut out the price taken by the middleman or agency.
Thida: Our value is to inspire young Cambodians to go out, travel and explore more for many reasons. So with Vibe Soul, they will learn how to plan a trip, plan the budget and of course how to travel safe and get the most out of travelling.
Q5: How do you keep your motivation when things get tough?
Navorth: In life, there are a lot of unexpected things happening. To deal with problems, try to solve it as soon as possible and make sure that everyone is happy with your solution.
Thida: There was a time when I would try to convince people in what we believe in. It is tough and sad to know they don’t see what we see, no matter how hard we try. My effective solution is to come back and talk with my team, we do a reflection and keep motivating each other. And most of the time we say “It’s okay.” And when we know that things are going to get stuck, we are seeking the outside support immediately, especially mentoring.
Q6: How did you discover your passion?
Navorth: I discovered my passion by experiences and doing a lot of things. I have been a volunteer to promote the healthy sexual life, a songwriter, graphic designer, standup comedian…only to find out later that I am passionate in making videos after I won the video competition in 2015. How did I know it is my real passion? I am happy and enjoy making a video and always want to make more and more videos. I always want to improve the quality of my videos and to inspire people around me to do the same.
Q7: Was there anything that you were afraid of in pursuing your passion?
It is said “Money is not a thing” in a journey of pursuing your passion, what would be the thing you are afraid of?
Navorth: I am not different from other Cambodian in the journey of pursuing the passion, our first challenge is our family. So it took us time and patience to explain and prove to them that we are doing the right thing.
In term of finance, while there was no one believing in me yet, I first needed to invest in myself to buy the expensive camera equipment only to make videos for free for other. But I really enjoyed doing it. It is one of the most effective ways to improve yourself and build trust.
Thida: In my journey, I focus more on personally what I can contribute to the success of the company. I believe money will never be a problem once we have a good strategy in hand.
Q8: What is your advice for young people pursuing their passions and living the life that they love?
Navorth: Don’t just only follow your passion; you also have to know what your passion can contribute to people around you and what your passion can do to make a difference in the community.
Thida: I think it is okay to get lost in your twenty, but don’t take a rest because you are lost; you have to go out and explore until you find the one thing that you can not stop thinking about.