JAKAWAT Veerawattananont, 25, has turned his experience staying in a university dormitory into a business that produces mini furniture for use in small spaces.
The furniture includes functional tables and bookstands, with Idee Mobel Co Ltd, launched in 2014, generating sales of between Bt1 million and Bt1.2 million a month.
At 19, Jakawat started selling products such as picture frames and home accessories.
When he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications from Assumption University in 2014, he began working at his family’s business, which produces picture frames.
And then decided to diversify his family’s business so it produced mini furniture that suits small spaces such as condominiums and dormitories.
“I spent my savings of Bt50,000 so my family could manufacture a functional table and a bookstand. Then I started to use the space at the office on Silom Road as a mobile outlet and pick up the first lot of products – 20 pieces consisting of 10 functional tables and 10 bookstands for sale. They sold out and generated income of Bt15,000 on the first day,” he said. He then expanded the mobile outlet to serve several office buildings in Bangkok’s central business district, selling several products.
“My products’ success inspired me to take over my family’s manufacturing [business] to produce my own products at the end of 2014,” he said.
After taking over the family manufacturing business, Jakawat negotiated with modern traders to distribute its products at bookstores such as B2S and BeTrend. This resulted in sales of between Bt400,000 and Bt500,000 per month for its products under the Mobel brand, and between Bt600,000 and Bt700,000 per month for its other products.
The company is studying its export potential after displaying its products at the “Bangkok International Gift Fair and Bangkok International Houseware Fair” last week. The company has been negotiating with traders in Singapore and Germany who are interest in importing its products.
“I believe that the company will start to export the products by the end of this year,” he said.
He added that the company also planned to open mini shops at shopping centres such as The EmQuartier and Terminal 21 next year, while it also used social media to promote its products, especially Facebook.
With all these developments, the company expects to double its sales in 2017 compared with this year, Jakawat said. “We do not need to expand our manufacturing [facilities] because currently we produce at only 40 per cent of our full capacity. This production capacity is enough to support our [planned] export market,” he said.
Jakawat said the key to success for his business was learning about customer demand and making products that match that demand, while also delivering quality and functional products.