Young entrepreneur spreading joint venture wings to regional markets

Economy February 06, 2016 01:00


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THE popularity of skincare and healthcare products among Thai consumers has turned a start-up with seeding capital of Bt1 million into a company with sales of Bt200 million within just three years.

Jilamiga Chalermsuk, 31, managing director of To The Nine Co Ltd, started her own business in 2013 after working as a trainee at Colgate Palmolive for a year.

With knowledge in the marketing field obtained during her master’s degree studies at Durham University in England, the young rookie marketer – inspired by what she loves in beauty – was made the sole importer and distributor of Fairy Drops-branded mascara in Thailand by the brand owner, Japan-based Aya.

To pursue her own business, Jilamiga established To The Nine with capital of Bt1 million. Although the company was financially supported by her mother, she took the entire stake in it and initially hired just one employee to assist her in day-to-day operations.

Fairy Drops mascara, which is now in a “must have” cosmetics list of makeup lovers, was To The Nine’s first product launched in the domestic market.

Following good feedback about Fairy Drops, To The Nine then launched more imported brands, such as CandyDoll, Calypso, AC by Angel Color, Time Secret, Avance, LB, and White Ichigo.

These products are available in modern trade outlets, supermarkets, department stores and online shopping websites around the country.

The year 2014 was a turning point for Jilamiga’s business when she was chosen by Kyowa, one of the most renowned makers of organic products in Japan, as its strategic partner in a 50:50 joint venture, Fracora (Thailand) Co Ltd.

The JV was authorised to sell the Fracora brand in Thailand and elsewhere in Asean.

“Currently, we have a total of more than 20 staff [across the two businesses],” she said.

Fracora (Thailand) opted to sell pig placenta-related skincare products in the Thai market first, |and good feedback resulted in the JV company’s sales rising dramatically to Bt150 million last year – well above the target of Bt100 million.

Under the JV model, Jilamiga said Fracora (Thailand) – seen as the Fracora brand hub in the region – will pursue its business expansion more in Asean and China via the establishment of its own entities and sales representative in those markets, after penetrating Vietnam, Indonesia and Taiwan last year.

This year, she said she would set up a new trading firm, Jillmika Co Ltd, to officially launch the Fracora brand with a focus on skincare products in Hong Kong in March, followed by the launch of Fracora food supplements in June.

For the Thai market, the JV will launch more Fracora food-supplement lines by the middle of the year.

“The key to our continued business success will be in three areas: deploying the right marketing strategy, our distribution channels, and product quality,” Jilamiga said, adding that she was now |also accessing the Chinese |market, but via online shopping networks.

“We expect to see about Bt300 million in [combined] sales this year,” the entrepreneur said