Q&A

Issue 29

Thai-born comic book artist Kochakorn Manochayakorn, better known as Pop Mhan, talks about working in the US comic book industry and his future plans in Thailand.

Can you tell us about your work?
I’ve been working in the comic book industry for 20 years, drawing for various companies like Marvel and DC. Some of my past works include Spiderman, Batman, Batgirl and X-Men.

How did you get into the industry?
Actually, I didn’t have a passion for comics until my senior year of high school. Prior to that I’d done some drawings but I never tried to do anything with it until I saw Jim Lee’s [Korean American comic book artist] X-Men No.4 and I thought, “Wow, that’s amazing, I want to draw like him.” With my portfolio, I went to Chicago Comic Con in 1994 and I met Jim Lee who was my idol. He took a really long time to look at my work, and he gave me a chance to join his studio. It was everything to me at that point. I was 20. It was a big turning point.

Which project is the one that you are most proud of?
I’m proud of all of them, because they all mark a moment in my life. Each project is like when you do something, you take a step forward. Some people would be too afraid [to do that], but I feel proud to take that step. Still, I’m never satisfied, I feel like I can always be better, and I always try to satisfy the client.

What were some of the major challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
The biggest obstacle is probably myself. I think everyone has their lack of confidence or self-esteem. If you read a [bad] review of your work, then it hits you in your soul, your heart breaks a little bit, it makes you want to go run and hide. As long as you keep stepping forward that’s okay. So that’s my biggest obstacle, overcoming my own fears and moving forward.

What do you think about the Thai comic industry?
I’ve seen some of the work here [in Thailand], and the standard is really high.

Any suggestions for people who want to get into the comic industry?
Always follow your dreams, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything. Because you can. Your own strength will keep you moving forward. It doesn’t matter if you’re Thai or American, what matters is your own ability to harness your talent. And work hard.

So what are your plans for the near future?
I’m doing some movie stuff that I can’t talk about right now, and I’m also establishing a base here in Thailand to help all the Thai students who wants to work in comics. It will probably be in Bangkok because it’s where I’m from, and my parents live here. 

Issue 28

Eggarat Wongcharit, Creative Director of Craft Factor Co., Ltd., winner of TIFF Award 2006, Prime Minister Award 2007 and DEMark Award 2009 reveals how his passion for travelling has led Craft Factor to where it is today.

How did you get into the furniture business?
I started the company in 2002 after gaining 10 years of education in furniture design in New York and Milan. My initial concept was to start exporting furniture and home accessories that express the Thai design attitude to the global market.

What makes your products unique?
It’s the combination of design, manually crafted-skill and advanced technology. A mixture of Southeast Asian craftsmanship wisdom, the infusion of local and modern technological know-how and the emergence of new materials. What makes us stand out from the crowd is that our products are not mass produced but customised designs to make sure our buyers get exactly what they want.

What are your main export markets?
When we first started, we exported mainly to France, Greece, Italy and Germany as they were always on the lookout for something different and our products offered what they were looking for. Currently we export to Taiwan, China, India and South America.

What are your plans for 2015?
We are going to attend an exhibition in Singapore and also join the design week in Milan. In addition, we have plans to sell our products to restaurants in Tokyo, Japan.

What is the source of your inspiration?
There are many sources, ranging from daily routines to travelling. The ideas come to mind when I am relaxed and not distracted. I then do quick sketches to make sure these ideas are noted down, before processing them into final products.

What are the strengths of the Thai furniture industry in general?
The trend in furniture is shifting from just functionality and durability to stylish and modern pieces, and what’s even more important is that they now serve as decorative items as well. This emphasises the importance of know-how and craftsmanship. I see potential growth for the industry with the help of advanced technologies and Thai craftsmanship, which is second to none.
The combination of ideas and technologies will lead to greater success within the industry. Also, Thai furniture items are more customised rather than mass produced, which makes them unique and stylish.

How do see the upcoming ASEAN Economy Community affecting the industry?
It will be easier for both businesses and the industry in terms of sourcing raw materials and labour. It will also make logistics more efficient and flexible, which will help businesses move faster and the industry to be more competitive.

 

 

Issue 26

The Senior Executive Vice President of Pylon talks to Horizon Thailand about the nature of the Kingdom’s construction industry.

Can you provide us with some background about Pylon?
A: We set up in 2002 and listed [on the Thai Stock Exchange] in 2005. This is our ninth or tenth year on the stock market. We specialise in foundation construction, including piling, grouting, and constructing diaphragm walls. We also have a subsidiary to do general construction. Last year our turnover was about 1.3 billion baht.

What distinguishes Pylon from other construction companies?
Since we set up the company we had the aim to be listed on the stock market. We spent seven or eight months to get listed. Since then we have focused on the team, on how to produce the best quality work, how to serve the client. We didn’t focus on how much revenue we wanted to make, what percentage our growth in five years or seven years would be. We didn’t focus like that. We wanted to get the best team, the best system and then, once the opportunity comes, we could show our performance. If you don’t have a good foundation, the whole building can collapse. That is how we make our reputation.

You recently received the best under the Billion Award from Forbes, can you explain more about that?
Forbes Asia selected the best 200 companies in Asia out of 20,000 listed companies, I think. This year there were nine Thai companies and we were one of them. They look at the performance for the past five years, the continuing growth of the company, the debt to equity ratio, etc. We are the smallest company out of the nine.

Are your clients mainly Thai?
About 90 to 95% of our work is for Thai investors, but we also serve foreign investors that work in Thailand.

How do you maintain your standards?
We have set up our QC [quality control] team, who help monitoring quality issues. Also we have set up the safety team to focus on safety issues. These two teams will help maintain the standard of safety and quality.

Issue 27

 
 

With more than 25 years’ experience in the jewellery packaging industry, Pro Excel is recognised as one of the top jewellery box exporters in Thailand. Somboon Siripreedabhakdiexecutive director of Pro Excel talks about the company’s history and its plans for 2015.

When was Pro Excel founded and what does it specialise in?
The company was formed in 1987 by my father who was then a production manager at one of the packaging companies. It started producing velvet boxes from materials imported from France, which enhanced both the quality and the looks of the products. We wanted to differentiate our products from other manufacturers, who were still utilising cotton for producing velvet boxes. Apart from velvet products, we also manufacture jewellery pouches and wooden jewellery boxes.

Issue 25

Porcelain is one of Thailand’s most important export goods, with a total export value of over 1.6 billion baht in 2014. Horizon Thailand meets the deputy managing director of Patra Porcelain.

What does you company specialise in?
Patra is one of the world’s leading porcelain and bone china manufacturers. We are proud of our quality, consistency and design. We have more than 30 years of experience especially in the hospitality segment where standards are very high. Patra’s craftsmanship is outstanding and well received by our customers. Our people are experienced, detail-oriented and passionate about their work. In tableware business, details matter. We work with designers and users around the world to develop tableware shapes and patterns.

What are your main export markets?
Patra exports to every continent in the world. Our main markets are the United States, Europe and Asia. For the Asian Economic Community (AEC), we have 100% coverage via various types of distribution.

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