Q&A

Issue 54

The Founder of J.P. Cam Jewelry & Couture and Vice-Chairman of the Hong Kong International Jewelry Designer Association, Jens-Peter Cam is one of the judges at the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand’s annual jewelry design competition. He shares his opinions on current trends and the future of the Asian gems and jewelry industry ahead of September’s 58th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair.

What are you looking forward to in the Perfect Ten: Playful and Luxury Designs jewelry competition?
I’ve seen Thai [jewelry] designs, and I always like to see how people bring in their own culture. I’m really excited to see what these young designers come forward with on the theme of playfulness and luxury. Traditionally, Thailand has beautiful designs and craftsmanship, and I hope to see those influences in the competition.

Can you tell us about the work you do for the Hong Kong International Jewelry Designer Association?
Being in the business myself, I went through the development stage at the beginning and about how to deal with the commercial world, which for young designers is very difficult to understand. It’s good to give them hints and ideas about how they should approach the jewelry business. Moreover, we want to have a catalogue of suppliers so we can provide a reliable source for members, as in this industry so many things are based on trust. Currently, we have members from many Southeast Asian countries and also in China.

What is unique about the gems and jewelry industry in Asia?
In Europe and in the West you don’t see people wear a lot of diamond jewelry during the day, but in Asia women may wear diamonds worth millions of dollars to meet friends for lunch. For me, to see that is great. Asia is a good platform for the jewelry business.

Apart from Thailand, what are the other potential markets for the jewelry industry?
With two big fairs twice a year and the headquarters of international companies, Hong Kong is a good market. Japan is also good because the Japanese love design. Now, China is becoming very sophisticated and their young people are always looking for new designs, especially foreign ones.

Do you have any tips for those starting out in the gems and jewelry industry?
If you can begin in your home country that’s great because it’s your own language and culture, and you can see the response to your jewelry designs. Most importantly, you have to be true to yourself because what you sell is your design. Whatever comes from your heart will succeed or has the chance to succeed. Also, you can be creative and be true to yourself but you need a sense of what is sellable. And create something people can buy and wear.

What do you think is the key current trend in the jewelry industry?
In the past people would buys jewelry sets, but now they’re looking for something they can wear during the day. I think in the current market we are trying to make nice jewelry that looks expensive, but is affordable. You can have semi-precious stones that create a nice design, and then sell the design.

Words by Nattamon Limthanchai

 

 

Issue 53

Horizon talks to Bunphot Kliaphungphit, founder and managing director of Coco Easy on how the innovation makes it easier for coconut water lovers to crack their nut.

What was the idea behind Coco Easy?
It came from my own experience of wanting to drink coconut water, but not knowing how best to crack the shell. I spent around 10 years in trial and error before achieving the best solution in 2013, and I registered the patent for Coco Easy invention the same year. My innovation allows consumers to drink coconut water straight from the shell as easily as drinking from a can or a bottle. We engrave two circular grooves on the shell and fix a ring-pull on the smaller groove. To drink the coconut water, you can open the shell easily by pulling the ring-pull. You can also eat the coconut meat by pulling away the coconut shell within the large groove with your hand.

Who are your key customers?
Domestically, Coco Easy targets golfers and foreign tourists. We distribute our products at golf courses, hotels and several supermarkets such as Gourmet Market at Siam Paragon and the Tops chains. We also export Coco Easy products to other countries including China, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, Germany and other European countries.

What is your prediction for the coconut water market?
The market is forecast to grow gradually, thanks to health-conscious consumers and the trend towards organic products. The demand for coconut water is increasing in many countries, such as China and the US.

How does Coco Easy differentiate itself from competitors?
Coco Easy sells quality products and never competes with other brands through price cuts. We source only fresh young green coconuts from Ratchaburi and Samut Sakhon where the best quality coconuts are grown. Moreover, consumers can drink our coconut water easily anytime and anywhere from the shell without worrying how to open the shell.

What are your future plans?
Currently, Coco Easy has a factory in Rangsit district, Pathum Thani province with a production capacity of 3,000 coconuts per day. By the first half of 2017, Coco Easy will have another factory in Ratchaburi. This will increase our production capacity to around 40,000-50,000 coconuts per day. We also plan to expand our market in the Middle East, Europe, South Korea and the US. We are working with a research institute to increase the shelf life of Coco Easy products.

For more information, please visit www.coconuteasy.com

 

Issue 51

The founder and designer of the MAZMOIZELLE brand talks to Horizon about her eco bags, which are proving a great success across international markets.

Can you tell us about the story behind MAZMOIZELLE?
The brand was started six years ago. After I graduated in architecture with a major in product design, I wanted to design my own products with new and unusual materials that were different from other materials in the market. I discovered natural cork. I thought it was very interesting. Therefore, I used this material to produce my own bag first. It was good, so I started manufacturing them commercially. I received very positive feedback from customers. I developed and improved my products until it became the MAZMOIZELLE brand that you see today.

What do you think are the brand’s strengths?
Our products are eco-friendly. The material comes from the outer bark of a cork oak tree. We do not use any hazardous chemicals so they are safe for the user. They are also water-resistant and durable. Our design is not only trendy, but it is also very practical for daily life. In addition, we offer a range of products to meet the needs of all groups of customers.

What provides the inspiration for your designs?
My inspiration comes from observation. I always note what people are interested in and what are the current trends. For example, people like using mobile phones, tablets or compact digital cameras. So, I have produced bags for these gadgets in order to make our products meet customers’ lifestyles.

What’s your target audience?
MAZMOIZELLE has a variety of customer groups, but the main target is the young generation and students. When I first started my brand, I focused on Thai customers. However, I have started exporting my products overseas. Now my customers come from Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Russia and Europe, such as Italy, France and Germany.

Why do your customers love your brand?
I think it’s because of my after sale service. I take care of my customers. I keep in touch with them and provide them with detailed product information, such as how to clean or maintain their bags. When bags are damaged, for instance the zip is broken, I offer them a free repair service.

What are your future plans?
I wish to expand my market. I plan to launch my products in the Middle East. I’m currently studying the market, lifestyle and customer trends in this region. If I know more about their style, I will be able to penetrate this market as I’m sure that I have quality products.

For more information, please visit:www.mazmoizelle.com

 

Issue 52

Kamonrat Atipalungkool, marketing & sales director of Aroma Space, tells Horizon about her well-designed products that have gained popularity around the world, and received a DEmark Award from the DITP.

Can you tell us a little bit about Aroma Space?
Our family initially produced ceramic products, with a focus on mass production for export. However, in 2012, we introduced a new product collection called Aroma Bird ceramic diffuser set, and it received the DEmark award that year. This was the first step in building our brand and focusing more on promoting and launching our products on the domestic market. We have continued to develop our products with fresh and lively concepts until now.

What feedback do you get from your customers?
It’s great. We were truly happy with the response from our customers, who love the Aroma Space design and colours. I think this is because of the change in people’s lifestyles. Our products are targeted to multiple customer segments. Formerly, our primary customers were working adults, but today our customers include teenagers, and high school and college students. Our products are attractive and small, so our customers can easily give them as nice gifts, or use them to decorate their own homes.

What international markets have you reached?
Aroma Space items have been exported to China, Japan and Taiwan, as well as to Europe, including countries such as the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. European customers are really interested in lemongrass and jasmine. They say that when they smell these scents, they feel fresh, cleansed and relaxed. They love these unique aromas as the European region typically doesn’t have these scents. In the future, we can definitely bring more of these Thai scents to these countries.

How do you use social media to reach your customers?
The advantage of being a young entrepreneur is that I know how to use new technology and social media to present my products. For example, Facebook and Instagram make it even easier for me to connect with customers all around the world. Also, international customers can view our products via our website, and contact us to purchase products after that. It also makes them more easily recognise Thai-branded products.

 
 

What are your future plans?
We wish to expand our product line. At first, we produced fragrances and diffusers, but in the future, we will produce candles and waxes with more exotic designs. We would like to expand our ability to produce high quality and unique Thai products for our customers, both domestically and overseas.

For more information, please visit: http://www.aromaspaceproducts.com

 

 

Issue 50

Horizon talked to Paul Robilliard, the Australian Ambassador to Thailand, during the Australia-Thailand Research and Innovation Mission opening ceremony on April 27.

How will Australia-Thailand research and innovation cooperation improve trade between the two countries?
Innovation is now at the top of both the Australian and Thai governments’ agendas. In Australia, the government’s research and innovation agenda is designed to create what Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull refers to as an “ideas boom”. Our bilateral research relationship underpins our joint focus on innovation. There is much we have to learn from each other – from young digital games designers working together, to astronomy researchers collaborating, and to STEM educators sharing their experiences about how best to inspire a passion for science in the next generation. I’m pleased this year’s Australia-Thailand Research and Innovation Symposium has set the stage for an even greater number of commercial research partnerships between Thailand and Australia. Over 190 academic, government and private sector attendees heard about opportunities for collaboration.

Can you provide examples of trade cooperation between the two countries?
Thailand and Australia chose to focus on agribusiness and bioenergy at this year’s Research and Innovation Symposium. These are fields of great importance to our bilateral economic ties, as we look to grow two-way agricultural trade and continue an important partnership on energy. Our trade policy settings – the basis of our cooperation – could be updated to provide better access to the markets of both countries.

What is Thailand’s strength as a trade partner?
Since the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement came into force in 2005, bilateral trade has more than doubled to be more than $A19.9 billion (US$14.8 billion) and Thailand is our eighth biggest trading partner. Greater regional integration may be the catalyst which attracts even more Australian business to Thailand and the region.

How is the Australian Embassy promoting cooperation between the two countries?
Specifically in terms of our economic relationship, one of my own priorities is to intensify our engagement in trade talks and to create the best conditions for Thai and Australian firms to expand, create jobs and deliver economic growth. In parallel, the Embassy is pursuing a range of opportunities for cooperation in agriculture, education, women’s economic empowerment and activities which promote regional growth and prosperity.

Which are some of the big companies in Australia that are investing or manufacturing in Thailand?
Situated in the middle of the emerging ASEAN Economic Community, Thailand offers much to Australian investors. Already, around 180 Australian companies have a presence in Thailand. But the reality is the majority of those companies are SMEs and not just in manufacturing industries. The service sectors are increasingly of interest to Australian investors. Companies are represented in banking, logistics, architecture, to name a few. It’s also important to highlight the substantive and productive contribution Thai investors make to the Australian economy. Thailand is the sixteenth largest FDI stock investor in Australia in sectors as diverse as tourism, agribusiness and energy.

 
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