Q&A

Issue 44

Horizon Thailand talks to Supattharachai Chuetamasorn, a designer at the Design from Waste of Agriculture (DEWA) about the eco-friendly project initiated by the DITP’s Thailand Institute of Design and Innovation Promotion

Can you tell us how you came to work with the DITP?
Anon Pairot, the design director, and Wataru Sakuma, the artist designer for this project got the idea to start designing recycled products from agricultural waste. In the past, many companies have developed interesting products through recycling and they saw the potential for Thai companies to do the same. We researched the problems regarding design and recycling techniques. The DITP then selected companies who were ready to participate in the project.

What are the unique products from the different regions in Thailand?
We try to engage companies in four regions. In the north the most common product is mulberry paper, for the central region it is cassava flour used to make packaging, in the south there is an abundance of raw rubber, and in the northeast we are trying to develop durian fibre. I think the most interesting one is durian fibre; it’s still in development, but if it’s successful it would be the first of its kind. Durian husk is very expensive to get rid of and it can be transformed into cellulose fibre, which is a material used in bioplastic films and biodegradable packaging materials. This can reduce waste and increase household income for farmers too.

What is the strength of Thai companies producing recycled products?
Thai workers have very good skills, they can make high quality raw materials which are ready for export, such as mulberry paper. We try to develop the raw material and recycling process. The designers look to see if the companies have any problems in production or design, and we try to bring out the uniqueness of their products. DEWA acts as the middleman for buyers who are interested in the finished product.

What is the feedback from buyers?
We’ve received a lot of interest from overseas buyers. They’re interested in everything from packaging materials to paper cups. It’s also up to the companies whether they want to start their own brands or work with other brands. Now, coconut water boxes made from cassava flour is already exported to the US.

What is the future of this project?
The project is still ongoing with different companies producing various products. We want to create commercial goods that embrace the idea of waste management to increase its value in the market while reducing the impact on the environment.

 

 

Issue 43

Thanyaporn Chiewhatpong, the marketing manager of Grace of Art, talks to Horizon Thailand about transforming her family business into producing silver jewelry for the international market.

Please tell us about Grace of Art, how did it start?
Actually, my family’s business is in manufacturing silverware. We produce custom-made products ordered by customers with general patterns. However, the market has lately changed and Chinese manufacturers have become our main rivals and compete with us over customers through lower prices. This is the reason why we have to do new things. So, I started to design fashion jewelry collections to find a new distribution opportunity.

What is your inspiration in designing products?
I have an idea that we can use the low-value materials that surround us to create new products with increased value such as artificial gemstones, cubic zirconia and natural materials, such as shells. Our jewelry is unique and distinctive from other silver fashion jewelry. It also creates greater choice for customers who love well-designed jewelry.

What is the unique characteristic of Grace of Art?
Grace of Art focuses on silver jewelry production with a natural design. Our design has received various award-winning prizes such as Ploi Thai Award 2011, Asian Fashion Jewelry & Accessories Design Competition 2006, Prism Award 2005 and International Jewelry Design Competition 2002.

What has been the response from your customers?
We have got very positive feedback. Our customers really love our products. Many of them come back with repeat orders.

 
 

What are the main factors behind your success?
Apart from our outstanding design and high quality silver, our success comes from our teamwork. My design team and I always participate at jewelry fairs all over the world to generate new ideas and inspiration to develop new products for the market. Moreover, we work closely with our customers to ensure that we fully understand their needs and make products that meet their expectations.

What do you think about Thailand’s silver jewelry industry?
It’s great. Thai silverware and silver jewelry is very famous. Thailand is a hub for exquisite, high quality silver jewelry designs at affordable prices.

What is your plan for the future?
I would like to change the current ratio of 70% international market and 30% domestic market into 50% and 50% split. Now we have a new sub-brand called ‘GLINTZ’ that aims to attract young professionals. However, our brand is still small scale and it needs more development and promotion.

For more information, visit www.graceofart.com

Photo courtesy of Grace of Art


 

Issue 41

Founder and creative director of Carletta Jewellery, Surasak Maneesathianrattana talks about the brand, its concepts and how the business is heading in a new direction to continue its growth.

How was Carletta established?
The brand was established in 2011. I suppose being born to a jewellery family has made me familiar with the materials and tools of a goldsmith and it is one of many inspirations that led to me getting into this business. Each Carletta collection has a story behind it and is thoughtfully-designed by me. When we first started, our products were mainly for women but recently we have launched unisex jewellery items as well.

Issue 42

Horizon Thailand interviews Japanese flower artist and designer Yuichi Maetani, who is also an advisor to the DITP in promoting Thai wedding products in Japan. Maetani presented three different wedding themes at the BIG/BIH fair in September 2015 – Natural, Luxury and Modern Black.

Can you tell us how you started working with the DITP?
Three years ago I came to the BIG/BIH fair in Thailand and I saw the potential of Thai goods. If we present Thai products as part of wedding packages Japanese people will be much more interested. In 2014, I worked with the DITP to look into Thai goods for hotel interiors and weddings in Japan, however, in 2015, I focused more on products for wedding packages.

Why is the DITP promoting Thai products for hotels and weddings?
In Japan, 40% of hotel incomes are from weddings, as most Japanese people hold weddings in hotels. Hotels would usually sell all-in-one wedding packages, so the bride and groom would compare wedding packages from each hotel. Therefore, hotels have to be ready to present different wedding themes. The wedding trend changes every two years so hotels have to impress brides and grooms. Big hotels need to have a variety of themes so they have to prepare and work hard because the competition is extremely high. Also, if we present individual items to hotel purchasing managers they won’t understand the overall image, so we present the different wedding themes so they see the potential of products from Thailand

What do you think are the strengths of Thai businesses?
Thai entrepreneurs have the high skills to produce quality goods. In the past they may not have focused too much on the market, however, if Thai SMEs have the information on what target markets want they will be able to produce things that match the target better.

Can you tell us about some of the hotels you’ve worked with?
I’ve brought Thai products to the Sheraton Maihama in Tokyo. It’s the hotel that holds the most weddings in Japan, with about 3,000 weddings per year. The nature of the Japanese market is very competitive. If Thai products can enter this hotel, other hotels that keep an eye on the latest trends will become interested in wedding products from Thailand too.

How can Thai entrepreneurs ensure competitiveness in the international market?
Now websites can be used as a portal to promote any new products they may have, eliminating the need for buyers to fly to Thailand. Thai entrepreneurs should keep up with the market to stay relevant.


 

 

Horizon Thailand interviews Siriorn Teankaprasith, founder of men’s fashion brand Painkiller, about her inspiration and the secret of her journey to become one of the most famous designers in Thailand.

Can you tell us the story of Painkiller?
The brand was established in 2005 during my final year of studying menswear at Esmod Paris. Each of my collections has a story behind it. It could be inspired by a book, my direct experiences from when I was studying in Paris, from travelling, arts or a diverse combination of cultures.

How would you describe the main characteristics of the brand?
Painkiller represents minimalism and romance yet in stylish fashion outfits. It’s not too masculine nor too feminine with just the right amount of design and details, making it ideal for everyday wear without being boring. It boasts modernity and the confidence of the wearer. Since Painkiller offers semi-formal attire, we find that the majority of our customers are from artistic fields, such as interior design, architecture and advertising.

What are your main export markets?
New York was our first export market but currently Japan is our biggest market. Other than that we have regular buyers from Singapore and Hong Kong. Chinese buyers have also expressed their interest in collaborating with us, but that’s still being discussed.

Can you share the key to your success?
Painkiller’s authenticity, attention to detail and quality are the keys to our success. We don’t mass-produce our items as we believe people look for something unique to distinguish themselves from the others. Some collections are limited edition. Apart from being well-designed, we still use traditional tailoring techniques. Our tailors cut and sew each piece with tight stitches making sure that we deliver high-quality items to our customers.

What has been your proudest work so far?
It’s the collection called ‘Best Friend’, which was launched in 2011. Inspired by a short story by M.R. Kukrit Pramoj called Mom, the collection featured Thai men’s image during the time of internationalization. It was a contemporary mix and match of Thai inspired cut blazers over traditional Oxford shirts paired with vibrant and colourful trousers. To me, think is very unique and classy, and conveys Thainess through the brand.

What are the strengths of the Thai fashion industry?
Apart from the availability of resources, we have people with talent and skills. Thai designers, especially the newcomers, are not shy to express their creativity and ideas. This has contributed to the growth of the industry.

What are your plans for 2015-2016?
Recently we launched another brand for mature customers so the plan for now will be to focus on finding new customers. We will try to get more Japanese buyers and hopefully will be able to conduct business with Chinese partners.

For more information, visit https://painkillerbkk.com

 

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