Pandora, one of the world’s leading jewelry brands, opens up about the reasons for it choosing to establish its manufacturing base in Thailand as well as the secret behind its success.
Thailand has a long history of jewelry manufacturing. From gold, silver and gemstones to pearls, the craftsmanship in Thai jewelry production has been passed down through several generations, especially in Bangkok, Kanchanaburi and Chantaburi. Today, the gems and jewelry industry is considered one of the country’s top three industries with its export value topping US$14 billion in 2016.
Internationally known for its charms and bracelets, Pandora established its manufacturing base at the Gemopolis Industrial Estate in 2005 and now employs over 11,000 people.
“Our founder, Per Enevoldsen and his wife were impressed with Thai culture and its long tradition for high-quality jewelry production,” said Nils Helander, senior vice-president, manufacturing and managing director of Pandora Production. “Pandora chose Thailand as a manufacturing base as it is one of the world’s largest jewelry exporting countries with good infrastructure for jewelry production and easy access to raw material suppliers.”
Helander revealed that other key considerations were the tax benefits offered by the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) and the country’s strategic location.
“Gemopolis has the necessary infrastructure for jewelry business and is close to both a seaport and airport which are convenient for us when shipping products to our customers around the world and for our visitors to reach us,” he said.
Thailand’s pool of skilled craftspeople and management trained at top universities was a further factor in the company’s choice of Gemopolis.
“Thai jewelry designers have a better foundation in design, and can address the demands of the labour market. We have seen developments, and I would say that we have greatly developed compared with 10 years ago. The support from both public and private sectors will unlock Thai designers’ potential and prepare them to grow in the jewelry industry,” he said.
Helander also shared that the brand’s mission is to celebrate women by offering them the opportunity for personal expression through high-quality and contemporary jewelry at affordable prices. The brand’s core values are affordable luxury, contemporary design and personal storytelling.
Moreover, as one of the world’s most loved jewelry brands, Pandora has designed its strategy around four central pillars – offering a full range of jewelry products, developing one brand with targeted segments, maintaining brand retail excellence, and creating a balanced global business.
Pandora is continuously expanding its production facility in Lamphun province, which is setting new standards in the jewelry industry in terms of scale and speed, as well as being a flagship for green building, certified according to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) principles. The company anticipates that its expansion plans will increase production capacity to more than 200 million pieces of jewelry a year by the end of 2019.
For designers, buyers or manufacturers looking forward to catch up with the latest trends and technology in the jewelry industry, don’t forget to visit the 60th Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair, which will be held from September 6 to 10 at IMPACT Challenger, Muang Thong Thani by the DITP.
Words by Pimsirinuch Borsub
Pet-lover and designer of cat furniture, Kwanchanok Amorntananuban shares how her cardboard products have captured the hearts of customers at the year’s biggest gift and furniture trade show held by the DITP.
The 43rd Bangkok International Gift Fair and Bangkok International Houseware Fair (BIG+BIH 2017) held in April 2017 proved a great success, attracting over 52,000 visitors and generating approximately US$25.6 million over five days.
One of the most popular product categories at this year’s fair was pet products with an exclusive zone called ‘Pet Parade’ showcasing pet furniture, grooming products, clothing and other innovative and stylish pet-related products made in Thailand.
Kwanchanok Amorntananuban is a manufacturer of pet furniture who gained much attention from international distributors and buyers at this year’s show.
“Kafbo has been exhibiting at BIG+BIH since 2015, and this year, pet products are much more prominent at the fair,” says the founder and creative director of Kafbo, a brand of furniture for cats that doubles as home decoration items.
Kafbo, which is a wordplay on “craft” and “cardboard”, utilizes a special compression technique that makes the cardboard pet homes highly durable and eco-friendly. These homes, designed with functionality in mind, serve as scratching pads where cats can climb, sit, sleep and play without destroying their owners’ furniture.
“I have four cats and a dog, and my family already manufactures cardboard pallets, so I started experimenting with different designs for cat homes,” says Amorntananuban. After several trials and errors, she succeeded in producing her first collection of animal-shaped scratching boards called “9lifers” which attracted interest from many buyers at BIG+BIH 2015.
In the past year, Kafbo has seen an improvement in design and packaging, with its third and latest collection, ‘Castle Cube’ flat-packed to bring down transportation costs.
Amorntananuban says that she owes much of her success to the DITP.
“Since the beginning, I had a lot of support from the DITP,” she says. “I took advantage of the many courses and training programmes arranged by the DITP, which guided me through the steps of exports, taxes and generally how to do business with overseas customers.”
She adds that working with the DITP gave Kafbo a chance to participate in business matching activities and tradeshows abroad which greatly increased the brand’s exposure and led to distributors gaining more interest in her product. Now, Kafbo has distributors in Japan, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and France, with future plans to export to Taiwan.
“I think there’s a lot of room for growth in the pet market,” she says. “It may seem like a niche market, but actually people are now treating pets like children and are willing to spend on them. In Thailand, products related to cats are selling really well.”
Words by Pimsirinuch Borsub
The DITP reveals its readiness to hold the 43rd Bangkok International Gift Fair 2017 and Bangkok International Houseware Fair 2017 (BIG+BIH 2017) this April.
Teaming up with leading Thai associations such as the Association of Thai Lifestyle Product Federation, Design & Objects Association and Thai Gifts Premiums & Decorative Association, the DITP will organize BIG+BIH 2017 from April 19 to 23 at BITEC, Bangna. Exclusive trade days are from April 19 to 21 while the general public can take part on April 22 and 23.
Organised twice each year by the DITP, BIG + BIH is widely recognised as Thailand’s premier trade event for lifestyle products, and ASEAN’s biggest sourcing ground for quality design products. This year, the fair will be held under the theme of ASEAN LIFE+STYLE to reflect the aesthetics and lifestyle of Thailand and ASEAN countries.
“BIG+BIH are regarded as international trade platforms for entrepreneurs to show off their potential for design, product development and value creation,” said Malee Choklumlerd, director general of the DITP.
“We believe that Thailand could be the regional hub for manufacturing and exporting gifts, housewares and lifestyle products. It will be a platform where buyers from around the world can meet and do business with Thai producers in order to increase exports of products in this sector in terms of quantity and value,” said Choklumlerd. “The DITP anticipates that over 58,000 visitors will come to BIG+BIH 2017 which will feature over 1,600 booths from approximately 600 companies”.
Overseas buyers participating during the trade fair are expected to come from countries and regions as diverse as Japan, the US, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Germany, the Middle East and Taiwan.
Product categories at the fair will range from home décor, furniture and living, kitchenware and tableware, bathroom accessories, stationery, to gifts. The DITP will also unveil a new zone for leisure, sport and travel products, which will be launched at BIG+BIH 2017, to introduce new designs and innovations.
Special exhibitions and highlight showcases range from Pet Parade, innovative products to meet pet lovers’ needs; Thai Wellness, Thai-style healthcare and services involving wellness for seniors, 60+, products catered to active seniors, as well as showcases for products that have won the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award (PM Award) and been accredited with the Thailand Trust Mark (T/Mark).
Services provided by the DITP for buyers and visitors to the event will include a business matching area to hold business negotiations with potential partners as well as a logistics services area.
Words by Pimsirinuch Borsub
Food and beverage companies worldwide will participate at the 14th edition of ThaiFEX-World of Food Asia in May to showcase the latest industry innovations and trends.
The food and beverage industry is one of the largest sectors in Thailand, with the country exporting food to more than 200 countries and generating over US$24 billion in exports in 2016.
THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2017, co-organised by the DITP, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Koelnmesse GmbH, is set to be Asia’s most comprehensive food and beverage show with products from all over the world, drawing in exhibitors, buyers, visitors, and professionals within the industry.
“In 2016, Thailand’s food exports were ranked first among ASEAN countries and 12th in the world. Moreover, the food and beverage industry is the third biggest industry in Thailand, after automotives and electronics,” said DITP Director-General Malee Choklumlerd. “Thailand is the home of a large food supply chain, ranging from international companies to local SMEs, who are vital in driving this business. We have experienced manufacturers utilizing the latest technology in their production.”
The Thai government wants the country to become the centre for food research and innovation. This policy is one of the “super clusters” already approved by the Thai Cabinet. Thus, government agencies are promoting collaboration between international and domestic companies to drive innovation.
“The DITP is working to attract leading international companies to invest in innovation in Thailand while promoting Thai companies to take part in developing the food industry,” said Choklumlerd. “To reinforce this initiative, at this year’s ThaiFEX there will be an innovative zone showing the latest food innovations.”
THAIFEX 2017 will feature numerous activities: the 6th Thailand Ultimate Chef Challenge 2017, a chef’s competition focusing on Thai cuisine and presentation; the 5th World of Food Safety Conference where international speakers in the food and drinks industry and food safety organizations will gather to discuss the latest industry trends; the Asian Food Franchise Forum, comprising talks on marketing and development opportunities for food franchises; and a Celebrity Coffee Bar where baristas from all over Asia will gather to demonstrate their skills.
In addition, the DITP will hold exhibition zones such as ‘Thailand: Producer of the World’s Best Quality Halal Food’ which will showcase the quality of Thailand’s Halal food; the Thai Supplement Village to highlight ready-to-drink beverages and vitamins made from Thai herbs; and the 60+ Pavilion for anti-ageing food and beverage, and functional food.
Last year, the fair involved 1,919 exhibitors from 40 countries, attracting a total of 42,528 trade visitors – a 21% increase on 2015. This year, organizers expect to see 50,000 trade visitors and a further 100,000 visitors on public days.
THAIFEX-World of Food Asia 2017 will be held from May 31 to June 4 at IMPACT, Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok.
Words by Pimsirinuch Borsub
The DITP is readying to host the annual Thailand International Furniture Fair (TIFF) that showcases new designs and innovations for high-quality furniture from leading manufacturers in Thailand.
In the first 11 months of 2016, furniture exports from Thailand were worth more than US$1 billion, with the US, Japan, China, Australia and the UK as top destinations.
This year, TIFF 2017 is organized by the DITP, Ministry of Commerce, in partnership with the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) and the Thai Furniture Industries Association under the theme of ASEAN Smart Living, which emphasizes the benefits of making smart lifestyle choices that are good for both the environment and the inhabitants of the home.
“TIFF 2017 is an exhibition for all furniture from local handmade goods to high-end design products of the best quality,” says DITP Director-General, Malee Choklumlerd. “The fair is also a major platform for leading furniture companies, producers, entrepreneurs, exporters, importers, designers and related businesses to showcase their latest collections and new ideas. These collections not only offer beautiful designs and functionality, but are comfortable and promote healthy living and lifestyles.”
Anticipated to be the most comprehensive furniture exposition ever staged in Thailand, TIFF 2017 will feature revolutionary furniture designs from selected leading high-quality furniture brands of well-established manufacturers, including indoor, outdoor and office furniture, kitchen and bathroom furnishings, bedding, lighting, curtains, flooring, carpeting and much more.
The fair also represents a great opportunity to expand the furniture business in one of the fastest growing and emerging regions in the world with a population of 600 million. Visitors can expect to meet buyers, importers, and designers from Japan, the USA, the EU, ASEAN, India, Middle East, Africa and Australia. Around 200 exhibitors are expected to participate in the 700 booths at TIFF 2017.
Notable highlights of TIFF 2017 will include the DEmark Concept Store, showcasing furniture and home accessories that have won the prestigious DEmark and G-mark design awards, the Innovation Plus Design (I+D) Style Café, Young Designer Showcase, Design Plant, and a series of seminars delivered by industry experts. Visitors can also make use of services provided, such as the personal assistant service and Thaitrade.com business matching opportunities, to facilitate trade.
The Thailand International Furniture Fair 2017 will feature not only products from Thailand but also from other ASEAN countries including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam and will be held from March 8 to 12, at IMPACT Challenger Halls 2-3, Bangkok.
Words by Pimsirinuch Borsub