The childhood experience that she had in Prachinburi province makes her value the Thai handicrafts and the work of local villagers. Preeyaporn Wongsirimana, the co-founder of Paya Shop, turns it as her motivation in starting her own business and now supporting the villagers all over Thailand while promoting and preserving the Thai culture and handicrafts.

Mrs. Preeyaporn Wongsirimana, one of the founders of Paya Shop, shared her business journey with Faces of ASEAN SMEs team. Here is her story.

This Thai Entrepreneur is Preserving Traditional Handicrafts and Helping Local Village Artisans

Preeyaporn Wongsirimana, the co-founder of Paya Shop, grew up surrounded by local village artisans working on handicraft productions in a province in Thailand. Now, she is promoting and preserving Thai handicrafts while supporting villagers all over Thailand through their business.Full story:

Posted by Faces Behind ASEAN SMEs on Thursday, June 25, 2020


F: What was your life before having Paya Shop?
P: Before I started to run my own business, I used to have a full-time job at Citibank, Bangkok. But when I was nearly in my 30s, I realized that I wanted to get away from working in big corporations and start my own small business so that I can work freely and not in a framed work.

F: What motivates you to start opening your own business?
P: One of my motivations for starting this business was my grandfather. He was from Bangkok, a government official who went to supervise the agriculture and handicraft productions of the villagers and farmers in Prachinburi, a province in Thailand. When I was a little, the whole family moved there, and I got to see him work surrounded by the villagers working on handicraft productions. This got me interested in Thai handicrafts and wanted to know more, that’s how Paya Shop was born. The shop blends contemporary and Thai style to give the pieces a simple feel to it. It is long-lasting and can go into any household while keeping the Thai culture alive.

F: What got you interested in customized home decor business?
P: We started doing customization after starting the retail business. There were not a lot of people doing customized home decor at that point in time. It was a great business opportunity to expand our design ideas and cater to the customer’s preferences.

F: How does your business impact your community?
P: With our business, we help out mostly villagers from various provinces all over Thailand, from the North all the way through to the South. They work on our pieces during their pass time and their main job is usually agriculture or farming. They can do their “art” on their own time and do not have to stress with deadlines as we do not rush their work. The more time they have in their hands, the better the products are.

I also have been supporting my own staff in getting a better education. Some of my staff came to work when they were still young. They work during the day and study in the late afternoon and evening, I pay for their college studies and many of them went on to pursue their university degrees. I renovated the schools there and also donated money for the foods they serve the students.

F: What are your long-term business goals & the legacy that you want to leave behind?
P: My long-term business goal is to expand on more designs, to get into the bigger circle of the market. I would like to make the new generation of people to be interested in my work as well. I would like Paya Shop to open as long as possible as it’s our own way to have the Thai culture and handicraft to not vanish away through time.

F: What is your advice to those who also want to start their own business?
P: My advice to people who wanted to start their own business is to take it slow. Work with what you have. Do not over-invest. Use the profit from the business to reinvest in the business itself. Then expand the business from the profit itself. Do not take big loans that will run you down.

F: What is the greatest learning that you gained from your business?
P: What I gained from working is learning and knowing the ideas and thinking of the villagers. Every region, they have their own ideology and how they think. How they live, their lifestyle, and the food they eat. We grew up differently and to know more about what the villagers use to survive is very interesting. Their views on politics and what they want from the government also gave me a wider knowledge from different sides.

Knowing the Thai roots makes me more interested and motivated to continue my work.

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