THE chief of Index Living Mall Co Ltd likes to turn valuable ideas drawn from her favourite hobbies into actual business strategies.
Kridchanok Patamasatayasonthi, managing director of the homeware and furniture retailer, says her three main hobbies are travelling, raising children, and meeting and hanging out with friends.
“For travel, I like to going to places both in Thailand and overseas. Locally, I like to travel to upcountry areas that focus on natural resources, while I also like to travel to places renowned for their heritage of civilisation abroad. I love travelling because not only because I’m on vacation time, but it is also an effective way to open up my world and my vision to see something new. Every time I travel aboard, I can learn about the lifestyles of people in those countries and see how far they have been developed. This means that I can come up with a new idea and new inspiration to adjust for use in my personal life and with my work.”
Kridchanok says that as the business is involved with design and creativity, when she travels and find some new designs she can reflect more deeply on it and adopt these design ideas for the process of developing the company’s products.
“Or when I travel and find some new chic and beautiful restaurants, I will keep some ideas from them for adapting them with the decoration at Index Living Mall's showrooms, so that our customers will have some more options,” she says.
“For instance, when I go to a ‘never sleep city' like New York, most New York people have a hurried lifestyle. So we need to be as active as them. The different atmosphere of each city where we visit encourages the learning of new things and we can adapt the ideas for our needs.”
“For raising children, actually that is one of my duties, but I think of it as a hobby. If I were to think of it as a duty, I would risk thinking of it as a tiresome duty. But, of course, it makes me happy and I enjoy, so I count as it is one of my favourite hobbies. I enjoy this hobby as I can see my children develop and grow. Moreover, my children are like magic, as when I feel tired from work, they make me feel better and give me the motivation to work.
“Parenting make me learn many things from them. I am not only the one who teaches the children, but on the other side, they also teach me and I learn something too. Children have great imaginations and bright ideas. The way they think make me learn something. Sometimes we may forget to think easily rather than complicate things. I learn from them about love and sharing, which makes me feel good and think positively. This makes me learn to live with others in the family and I am surrounded by people, including friends and my subordinates.“
She says that when it come spending time with friends, she has the opportunity to take many study courses, including an ABC programme, at the Academy of Business Creativity at Sripatum University.
“Such courses open up my world to the learning of new things and I can meet new friends. This helps me have new connections,” Kridchanok says.
“Many good business people have studied on this programme. I have a chance to meet new senior friends, while also meeting with junior-level friends. We have become good friends. We share new ideas and exchange experiences with each other in terms of living and doing business. Personally, I think reading or joining a seminar can boost our knowledge , but it is much better when we learn from real experience from a successful person, as it can help open up my vision, while I can make friends and relax when I hang out with others.”
For Kridchanok, she thinks of travel as a hobby that can support the business growth of the company through the adaptation of new ideas from different places. This can inspire the development of new products and new decorative idea for stores that serve the needs of customers.
“As we are now in the digital and technology age, as well as facing the never-ending demand of the customers, we cannot stop to develop ourselves,” Kridchanok says. “We need to think further and always develop new products and services to meet demand of the customers and travelling make me always up-to-date and find new idea for keeping on with developments.
“For meeting and hanging out with friends, it is like a relaxing hobby, while it can also encourage the business growth. As I said, the ABC friends include many successful business people. They have not only share ideas and experiences on doing successful businesses, but also have a philosophy on living. They teach me about thoughtful ideas and interest principle of Thai and the fascinating ideas of Taoism, or Zen Buddhism. We have opened a new perspective. If it is a book, the concept of Tao or Zen is like a book that we may overlook. But when I talk to my friends, I realised that these philosophies are profound and useful. I can adapt those philosophy to my work, share it with my employees and my business partners, as well as my daily living.
“Moreover, I also have a chance to meet with young generations, those aged about 20 to 30 years old. They have a lot of knowledge and much energy and the ability to develop many things. They have shared new stories, which have helped open my new perspective, especially about the digital world and online. I admit that I am not as good in this area as the young generation. To share ideas with the young generation, who have been grown up on the digital world, helps encourage me to learn new things and help drive the online business growth. Social media makes it easy to reach people, just fingtertips away.”
Kridchanok says that listening and having open-minded thought is a priority business guideline and management philosophy that she has applied to her business to make it successful.
“Listening skills are very important to us. Today many people are missing it because people like to talk more than listen,” she says. “Moreover, when some people are in a high-ranking position at work, they would not listen to others, but would prefer to order people around. Personally, we need to listen rather than talk. Luckily, I have had good listening skills since I was young. If people say what they will do and no one listens, the work will never be progressed. We have to open our minds to what other people think, so that the work can move on.
“The second is the empowermen’ or ‘decentralisation to various executives of departments to perform duties and show their efficiencies. We employ good and high ability executives. If we employ them but do not allow them to think and only assign them to work, we do not need to employ good executives. Thus, we have to open an opportunity for them to show their efficiencies.
“I will always open an opportunity for others to show their abilities and performance as I would like to
keep on high-ability people with the company, while they are happy to work with a challenge job. While, the third is change. Now the world is changing rapidly. We cannot stay still, but need to keep on moving and developing. Don't think that change is difficult. Change is a normal circumstance, which we need to accept and live with it with happiness.”
Kridchanok says that as the second generation in the business, she has learnt everything, especially major works from her father, Pisith Patamasatayasonthi, who is now president and CEO of Index Living Mall Co Ltd – and an idol and role model to her.
“One of the things that my father has taught me is to honour our employees as we are like a family. We will always honour our employees,” she says.
“Our employees feel comfortably and happy to work as they are treated like family members. My father always honour employees at every level. He will survey each store by himself every week and talk with employees with kindness and in a friendly way. This is his routine, which I can see since I was young.
“Next is honesty and sincerity. This is one of the most important methods as it is like a credit for the business. When partners and customers acknowledge and accept your honesty and sincerity, they will trust you. It is like a key for doing successful business. My father always told me that you don' t allow any single cheque to bounce. Third is to have a high level of compromise.
“Normally, I am a straightforward person, but my father has taught me that we should not be too tough. When we do a business, we may not always get 50-50 share every deal. Sometimes, we need to compromise.
“It is not too difficult. Sometimes we may lose something, but it is acceptable if it can make our business move forward.
“Lastly, there is being diligent and working hard. I always see that my father works every day. Now, my father is also working every day. He will come to the office for a half day every day. He cannot stay at home as he likes to work.”
Kridchanok says her ambition is for Index Living Mall to become a “top of mind” brand in Southeast Asia.
“Now our goal is to make people in Southeast Asia know us. I would like to achieve this goal as it is one of my father's targets,” she says. “He would like to see Index Living Mall become a furniture and home decorative brand that will be top of mind for shoppers in the region.”