“I used to work in advertising and then had children and had to stop because I got very sick when I was pregnant. I couldn’t get out of bed so I became a mom for 6 years. After that, I thought, ‘I need to do something’ and I wanted to challenge myself. So my husband said, ‘Don’t just go back to the corporate sector, work for yourself.’ You are free, you are independent, and you don’t have to answer to anybody. If you make a mistake, it’s your mistake. If you lose money, it’s your money. Of course it’s risky because if you are with a company, you get your salary every month. You make a mistake and you still get a salary, unless it’s a huge mistake and you get yourself fired. Here you really got to work it because every single cent means something to you.” “We built our brand through good products, good service, and focused marketing. You really got to know your customer – who they are, what they want. You need to have a very clear target. That’s how you build your brand, but it takes a long time. The only local media where we advertise is Guru magazine, which comes with the Bangkok Post every Friday. And I keep that because we get feedback from Guru all the time and our Thai customers all come from Guru. Brand creation is about you, your services, your quality, and the right price. And when people start believing in you and you get word of mouth marketing, then that’s better than any other type of advertising because there is a trust factor in there.”
“As an entrepreneur, you got to be firm because otherwise you get walked all over. You have got to be able to stand up and push back”.
“What is the piece of advice you would have appreciated the most at the beginning?” “Go with your gut feeling” and this is one thing that I would tell anybody. Everyone has his or her own instinct and you’ve got to listen to it. “How do you know it’s right?” “You don’t but through experience you’ll learn what you are doing and you’ve got to go with your gut feeling. And this is very important. So many times we did things because we listened to other people but our hearts said something else and we should have followed our instinct – every time”. “I like to give. If I see a customer who’s really passionate about my products, really likes my stuff, understands the wood, then I start “take some of this..” but that’s not good. I need to be more disciplined”.
- “Having your own business is very hard and I can tell you now that I am so different from 9 years ago when I started. My husband is an entrepreneur and comes from a family of entrepreneurs so for the first 5-6 years I always asked for his opinion but as you do it, you don’t build your own confidence. So then, I said, ‘I’m going to do it my way.’ It’s been a big learning curve but now I am more confident and believe in myself and my decisions. As an entrepreneur, you got to be harder, and you got to be firm because otherwise you get walked all over. You have got to be able to stand up and push back.”
- “You got to love what you are doing; you got to believe in the things that you do. Otherwise, if you don’t believe in it, how is everyone else going to believe it? And that’s passion. You got to have it and that’s the only thing that keeps anybody alive.”