Hong Kong silk queen
Pornpimon ignored the financial crash of 1997 by launching a shop that has proved a big success
Despite the meltdown of business amidst the regional crises of 1997, it opened an opportunity for a Thai woman to launch a silk shop in Hong Kong.
In that same year, Pornpimon White set up Suwan Thai Silk on the economically burgeoning island with only slight business knowledge. She opened her shop for only one reason: she is a silk lover and fascinated by design.
While the 1997 economic crisis caused widespread business collapse, Pronpimon thought that it was a normal situation and took advantage of it. She believed that although an economic crisis can make people fearful of starting up an enterprise, people still have to buy food and clothing. So she decide to start up her own business to serve popular demand.
After nine years of operation in Hong Kong, Suwan Thai Silk earns HK$100,000 to HK$120,000 (Bt500,000 to Bt600,000) per month.
Pornpimol first spent about HK$1 million to set up her shop in the Almiralty district, later moving to the Centre district, one of the busiest areas in Hong Kong.
Pornpimol graduated from the Faculty of Political Science at Ramkhamheang University. She married her husband, a foreign businessman, in Hong Kong and has two children. Her fascination with Thai silk and garment design encouraged her to gain a diploma at Hong Kong's design university after one and a half years.
"I fell in love with Thai silk and I believed that my love could open a career for me and make me successful in business," she says.
Pornpimol creates her own designs from Thai silk. Her clients - from Hong Kong, the US and Europe - are also fascinated by the charm of Thai silk.
"I promoted Thai silk by wearing Thai silk dresses at social events," she explains "The designs always attracted people's eyes, and this became the start of my customer base."
Suwan Thai Silk imports silk fabric from Thailand. Then the shop will design dresses in accordance with customers' demand. Needlework is done by Thai tailors at the shop.
Pornpimol said she has a contract with Thai fabric weavers in many provinces in the Eastern region of the Kingdom.
"I am happy that at least I can create jobs for Thai weavers, although I have not lived in the Kingdom for some time," she says proudly.
Pornpimol not only operates the Suwan Thai Silk shop in Hong Kong, but also exports Thai silk to other countries. So far, 20 per cent of the shop's income has been from exports. Pornpimol expects that this will increase to 50 per cent.
Major import markets are the US, the UK and Japan. Pornpimol says she is planning to promote her products via modern technologies such as a website and e-commerce in new markets like the Middle East.