“My mom raised me alone. She sells Thai products at the Chatuchak weekend market so my sisters and I went there every weekend to help her. My life was always a bit different from the other kids because I had to work on weekends and we couldn’t afford extra curricular activities after school. Helping my mom was the good thing to do but didn’t make me very popular, so I didn’t have that many friends. When I was about 14-15 I started writing about my classmates and what was going on in the class. I didn’t talk to people much but I noted everything I saw. I typed my notes on my mom’s typewriter, Xeroxed the pages, and gave them to my classmates. People loved reading about themselves. I have always wanted to create something fun and interact with other people in some way. I am not shy but I sort of live in my own world.”

“When I was 19, an old customer of ours – a lady from Laos that lives in France – asked me to go help her out at a summer festival in Avignone, in the South of France. At that time, I was going to start my second year at Chulalongkorn University but I quit to go to France. I didn’t know how that was going to turn out but I didn’t want to pass on that opportunity to go abroad. I loved everything about it and discovered passion. I saw artists that were doing things they loved and didn’t care whether it would make money or not. I really wanted to stay longer so I first applied to study language at the Sorbonne in Paris and then got in a public university to study design. I was the only foreigner in the entire school and at first it was hard because I couldn’t speak the language. But I loved what I was learning. Here in Thailand, I used to always get Cs or Ds in drawing class because my professors wanted me to copy everything exactly, like a photo. But in France they teach you differently; you are allowed to be creative. So my grades went up and that’s how I made friends.”

“I came back to Thailand to work as art director for Video Bangkok – BBDO Bangkok but in 2012 I quit to go freelance. I didn’t have much of a plan and only 2000 bath in my pocket but I seize opportunities when I see them. I have always posted my drawings online. People started asking me to draw for them – a portrait or an illustration for a book. I earned 1000 bath for my first drawing. Then at some point I had to hire an assistant because I was getting so many requests. And then I borrowed some money to buy a couple of computers and launched C’est Design. Now I have 3 employees and we have jobs booked 3 months in advance. I want C’est Design to become one of the top 5 agencies in Thailand. People come to me because they trust me. I am a designer that can communicate with non-designers. And I try to create something that sells. Not just something beautiful but also sellable – if they don’t sell, customers can’t pay me so I try to help. I am not stubborn about selling my ideas – I am flexible if I hear another idea that I think might fit better.”

“Last year I took a 2-day writing course organized by a publishing house in Bangkok. They said, ‘One of you will be published.’ I was the first student to be offered this opportunity and I got a lot of publicity because my book became a bestseller in one week. I had already been writing a daily blog for a while so I had a fan base. I write about finding the power of inspiration in everyday life, how to think creatively, how to find and follow your passion, how to find the greatness in yourself and create something that is valuable to others. After my book was released, I started to get invited to speak at universities and other public events. At first I would rehearse lots of times in front of the mirror and record my speech. Now I just rehearse once and I am good to go.”

“Is there anybody that you have changed with your writing?” “Two people. One is a young woman, she read my book and quit her job. She came to my book launch, gave me a box of chocolate, and thanked me. She told me that reading my book gave her the courage to do that. She was earning money but she had been unhappy for a while. Now she owns a coffee shop and she’s much happier. The other person, a guy, is probably my #1 fan. He used to be a “bad boy”, just riding a motorcycle and didn’t want to work. Then he started following my blog, read my book, and now he’s the event director at Bangkok’s night train market. He said he was really inspired by my story and that it helped him turn his life around. He buys every magazine I am in and got a tattoo of my book on his arm.”

“I spent five years in France. The most important thing that came out of it is that I found myself and what makes me happy. Before going to France, I was always angry. But there I was on my own and discovered myself at the personal level. Now I know that I want to be with family and people I love, and respect my culture more than what I used to. A couple of years ago I lost my oldest sister to cancer and that deeply affected me and my writing. I decided to thank everyone that I felt was important to me and apologized to people I felt I did something wrong to. From then on, I have found my peace and I am happy. I always have one goal in my mind and that’s my mom. I want her to be happy and to have a perfect life, to have money and do whatever she wants.”

“Who inspires you?” “Beyoncé. She’s so powerful. She always gives 100% on stage. When she was pregnant, she was still dancing on the stage. And she is such a savvy businesswoman. She was named one of the 100 most influential people around the world. I really look up to her. She inspired me to work harder.”

Company: C’est Design
Location: Bangkok
Founded: 2012
No of Employees: 7

Woman-owned & led