Q&A

Issue 69

Massimo Reverberi, founder of Bugsolutely talks to Horizon about his pasta product, which is been hailed as a new superfood. 

Can you tell us a little bit aboutBugsolutely?

Our company was established in 2015 under the brand Bugsolutely, as a producer of a unique cricket pasta. We have collaborated with Khon Kaen University in managing the breeding farm, and with Kasetsart University in processing.

Why did you choose crickets?

They have a high protein value of up to 65%, and contain calcium, iron, vitamin B12 and omega 3. Recently, crickets have become more accepted by consumers worldwide in processed food and this has made it easier for people to try these new bug products. Crickets are also environmentally friendly, for they require 1,000 times less water and 10 times less food than cows, and have a much shorter rearing period. 

Why did you choose to establish your business in Thailand?

Thailand was chosen because it ranks among the top global producers of insects. There are over 20,000 cricket breeding farms here nationwide, with an annual capacity of between 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes of crickets. I think Thailand is probably the biggest producer of crickets for human consumption in the world.

What are the unique selling points of Bugsolutely?

Our pasta is a perfect combination of wheat flour and 20% cricket flour, and has a certified standard of research and production. It provides a similar texture and colour to that of wholewheat pasta, but contains twice as much fibre compared to regular pasta. It is suitable for consumers of all ages.

 
 

What challenges have you encountered while promoting this new product?

It was difficult to penetrate the processed food market during the early stages as consumers are not yet familiar with this type of food despite the fact that crickets are anatomically similar to shrimps, but they are cleaner and raised in reliable farms. However, after launching and promoting our products, we have started to receive positive feedback worldwide from both consumers and chefs who are curious to try this new type of pasta to create a variety of dishes. Most of them were surprised and impressed how good it tasted. 

What are your future plans?

We are planning to distribute the pasta around the world to countries such as the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, all of which are interested in insect food products and have already given permission to import insects for consumption. We are also continuing to develop our products to cater to current and future consumption demands. 

For more information, please visit, www.bugsolutely.com 

Photo courtesy of Bugsolutely

 

 

Issue 68

Horizon talks to Kris Nalamlieng, managing director of 2Spot Communications, on how he created cartoon character, Bloody Bunny, from scratch to appeal to fans around the world.

Can you tell us a little bit about 2Spot Communications?
Originally, we were a telecom company established in 2010. We had a system for delivering graphic information to our customers, and saw higher interest for the digital content market. So we recruited character designers to create our own cartoon characters. Today, we do digital media branding with cartoon characters for digital, traditional and retail business.

What is Bloody Bunny?
Bloody Bunny is based on the concept of a conflict character – the idea of ​​turning our perception of a lovely rabbit into a warrior or hero. Bloody Bunny’s character combines Japanese and American arts to match Thai lifestyles. He is a white rabbit doll that looks clean but can be brutal if the situation necessitates. Our cartoon character is in the action genre, targeting people from 10 to 30 who like obvious expressions, emotions, thoughts and feelings. We now develop Bloody Bunny games and animation in Japan.

What are Thai strengths in the field of digital content?
Thais are very creative – ranked in the top three in Asia only behind Japan and South Korea. We have thousands of creative people and thousands of production houses and agencies in this industry. Unfortunately, we rarely create products with our own IP (Intellectual Property) for sale abroad.

In your view, what is the current leading trend in digital content?
Digital content is a generic term. It includes applications, games, social media and animations. For character business, it still has a bright future as it is suitable for viable channels. For example, in Japan, there is a Kumamon character that is a billion-dollar business. There are various items sold under the Kumamon character both from selling copyright and goods.

What is the challenge of creating a character these days?
The challenge is to create a character to be more animated, emotional and interactive. People have to create characters, not just static ones only for a certain media, like before.

What do Thai entrepreneurs need to learn to make it globally in the digital content industry?
First, is to study and adapt to new technologies changing almost every day. Then you need to study foreign markets in detail. Each one has a different identity.

 

Issue 62

Horizon talks to Sasathorn Na Songkhla, managing director of Sabai-arom, on how she develops skincare collections from local ingredients and exports them around the world.

Can you tell us a little bit about Sabai-arom?
Sabai-arom means happy mood. We are a manufacturer and distributor of beauty products under the brand Sabai-arom. Sustainable happiness is at the heart of our business because we want to do meaningful business and deliver products that make everyone happy.

What makes your products special?
We use 100% local ingredients because we believe in the quality of local Thai raw materials. I am a detail-oriented person, all production processes must be carried out carefully, from sourcing materials to manufacturing products and designing the packaging. My team and I travel throughout Thailand to search for the best chemical-free ingredients for our products. We source ingredients from farmers who care about the ecology and their crops, and love what they do. As I mentioned earlier, happiness is the key ingredient of our products, therefore, I want to ensure that everyone in the business chain is happy.

What are your main collections?
Currently, Sabai-arom offers two main product lines: beauty products and home ambience solutions. For beauty products, you can find lotions, soap shampoos and massage oils, while home ambience solutions include aroma reed diffusers and aroma candles. We have more than 10 collections of beauty products with different scents, for example our Divine Mango collection is made from the Mahachanok mango from Lamphun province. It’s full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Our Coconut de Samui collection consists of a variety of products using ingredients derived from coconuts on Koh Samui, which is Thailand’s most famous tourist destination and coconut plantation.

Who are your customers?
Sabai-arom customers are Thais and foreign tourists especially from Asian countries. Currently, our products are available at over 200 branches of Boots retail shops throughout Thailand. About 40% of our products are exported to Japan, Russia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Macau, and we will soon export to South Korea. Moreover, we have Sabai-arom shops in Japan and Malaysia.

Which awards have you won?
Sabai-arom has been selected and approved by the DITP to use the Thailand Trust Mark (T/Mark), which is the symbol of excellence and trusted quality for Thai products.

How do you see the future of Sabai-arom?
We are continuing to develop our products with more collections and plan to expand to overseas markets. We want to see Sabai-arom become the most popular skincare brand with Thai consumers, and one of the best gifts that foreign tourists can purchase for their loved ones. Sabai-arom also hopes to work more closely with Thai farmers and help the local communities that supply our ingredients.

For more information, visit www.sabai-arom.com

 

Issue 66

Darunotai Vajrodaya, owner and designer of Magical Realism tells Horizon on how she turned her passion for jewelry into a profession.

Can you tell us a little bit about Magical Realism?
I wanted to be a jewelry designer since I was 15 because I love fashion, and jewelry is my passion. Founded in 2015, my company now has four jewelry and accessories brands including Darunotai, Magical Realism, Charming Realism and Maya Luxana; each of them has different characteristics and target customers.

Could you explain more about your brands?
My first brand, Darunotai is a fine jewelry brand. This collection was developed from my graduation project, Lost at Sea, which I did at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of Arts, London. This collection was inspired by the tentacles of an octopus. I considered the tentacles as free form lines, and imagined how they could take shapes and forms on the human body. So came the design of the Darunotai collection. The Magical Realism brand focuses on fashion accessories such as bag and rings, inspired by everyday objects, which are redesigned with added functions and gimmicks such as a handbag that looks like a liquor bottle. The Charming Realism brand offers fashion jewelry at an affordable price while Mayaluxana is ultra luxury fine jewelry with the concept of mythical creatures from the Himavanta Forest, a legendary forest in Hindu mythology.

What are the strengths of your brands?
We deliberately select good quality materials from different sources domestically and internationally to ensure the pieces of jewelry will help improve the wearers’ personality and they should feel comfortable wearing them. All collections are handmade and can be customized. We allow our customers to choose the materials they prefer for their jewelry and the price will be based on these materials, such as gemstones, gold and silver.

What is your proudest success?
I was chosen by Wallpaper Magazine as a jewelry designer to watch for 2014 in the UK. My work, Darunotai collection – then my graduation project – was featured in Wallpaper Magazine’s Next Generation January 2014 issue.

Where do you sell your jewelry?
Customers can find and purchase our jewelry collections at the Emporium department store in Bangkok as well as online channels, such as Facebook, Instagram and Line.

Who are your customers?
Currently, 60% of our customers are international and the rest are Thais. However, each brand has different target customers. Europeans prefer Darunotai, while people from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Middle East like to buy the Charming Realism collection. Mayaluxana, so far, targets Thais because they understand the background of the Himmavanta Forest, and are ready to pay for this ultra-luxury collection. Magical Realism’s target customers are Russians and Chinese.

What are your future plans?
I want to have a flagship store in Thailand and will actively expand to international markets by opening a pop-up shop or showcasing and distributing my collections in famous jewelry trade fairs. I will focus more on boosting brand awareness through the website and social media where I can closely monitor the customers’ purchasing behaviour, interact with them and get feedback in real-time. This helps me to better create the collection to meet their demands. I also plan to submit my jewelry collection to the Design Excellent Award (DEmark) and I believe that if I win the award, I will get a greater opportunity to penetrate these markets.

For more information, please visit www.darunotai.com or follow FB:MagicalRealismWorld, Instagram:MagicalRealismWorld and Line ID: Houseof Magic.

Photo courtesy of Magical Realism

 

Issue 61

Teerapol Akaratiwa, and Warunya Nuntasunti, managing directors of Least Studio, tell how their company has patented a new formula for rubber materials into lifestyle items.

Could you tell us the story behind Least Studio?
Least Studio was founded three years ago by a small group of Thai designers who share the same passion and design principle. Our refined products combine thoughtful designs with user experiences. With our architectural background, we believe that good design must be functional and create a good user experience.

Can you explain what is special about your cutting mat?
An ordinary cutting mat is durable and self-healing, but its texture and weight are not suitable for our lifestyle products. Therefore, Least Studio and a rubber component factory joined forces to conduct research and develop a new formula for a rubber material, which can be used to produce lifestyle products including handbags, document folders, pencil cases, passport holders and sketchbooks. Our new formula 100% natural rubber cutting mat is lightweight, self-healing, waterproof, scratch-proof and durable, without having a rubber smell.

What makes your products special?
In addition to their standard functions, users can use the products’ surface as a cutting mat. We tested them with a scalpel and it did not scratch or tear.

Who are your potential customers?
Everyone who loves design items are our potential customers. We target customers in Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. If the Japanese love and accept our products, it means our quality meets a high standard.

Have you won any awards?
Our folder holder and tablet holder won the Design Excellence Award (DEmark) in 2016 and was selected by the DITP to be exhibited at Design Korea 2016. This folder is made from our special cutting mat and suitable for everyday use.

How has the DEmark Award helped your brand?
DEmark guarantees our outstanding design and product quality. This enhances customer confidence in our products. As a DEmark Award winner, Least Studio has a great opportunity to promote our products at many trade fairs in Thailand and abroad with the assistance of the DITP.

What is the future for Least Studio?
The company plans to extend the product line, probably into furniture, and we may supply this unique cutting mat as the raw material for other producers who are interested in using it for their products. We try our best to create new designs to meet the needs of customers.

For more information, visit www.leaststudio.com, follow FB: Least Studio and IG: leaststudio

 

Tags: Design | Rubber | DEmark | DITP
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