By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
SookSiam complies with the Thailand 4.0 policy, aimed at promoting a knowledge-based society and being the stage for local entrepreneurs and villagers from the 77 provinces to gather and share their know-how on product development, local wisdoms and business practices. They will be supported by Thailand’s 50 champion brands, which will provide modern management techniques.
The retail venue will open at the same time as the ICONSIAM retail complex in October this year. Costing Bt54 billion, the construction of ICONSIAM is 85 per cent complete and is expected to draw 22 million visitors a year.
Located on a 10-rai plot with15,000 square metres of space, Sook Siam can cater to 300 to 400 local entrepreneurs at one time. About 3,000 small entrepreneurs and villagers will rotate for the use of space at the retail venue every year.
Chadatip Chutrakul, chief executive officer of Siam Piwat Co Ltd and a director of ICONSIAM, said the company has dedicated almost the entire ground floor of 15,000 square metres at ICONSIAM to ‘SookSiam’, showcasing the best products, services and artistic creations from all Thai provinces at one destination in a dramatic, new ‘co-creation’ format that is immersive, emotional, and entertaining.
“The new retail attraction is a part of ICONSIAM’s commitment to bring all that makes Thailand great to the world. It will help small enterprise owners, artisans, artists, and performers access a globally visible, omni-channel platform on which to present their creations and be integrated into a greater commercial ecosystem. This will help the local heroes become national heroes and global heroes” she said.
With the overall Thai economy increasing by approximately 3.8 per cent annually, the sales of community products are growing significantly - by 15 and 23 per cent respectively over the past two years.
Chadatip said SookSiam is conceived as a place to present the cultural heritage of the four regions of Thailand, capturing their arts, handicrafts, performing arts, and local wisdom. In SookSiam, there are outlets of varying types built in the style of their respective regions, highlighting their individual specialties, whether they be crafts, foods, beverages, or services that are unique to that region.
“We have created SookSiam as a strategy for local SMEs and entrepreneurs from all regions to share their knowledge on product development and business practices and learn from the others ,” said Chadatip, adding that revenue from selling the community products will be shared between the company and those participating entrepreneurs under a profit-sharing model.
SookSiam is being produced and curated by Luckana Naviroj, the mastermind behind the success of the Gourmet Market stores as well as the Food Halls at Siam Paragon and other malls. She is known for her expertise in sourcing authentic products and foodstuffs from around Thailand that are the best of their kind and for her understanding of how to work with small mom-and-pop operations and individual artisans. She has played an important role for more than 30 years in helping farmers and artisans develop their capabilities.
Luckana said the outlets in SookSiam all have their counterpart in small towns in Thailand, and that many of them are enterprises that have been operated by several generations of the same family.
“We travelled the entire country to find these unique shops, artisans, and artists, and invited them to SookSiam. SookSiam will serve as an extraordinary platform onto which people – the “local heroes” from around the country, can place their talents and products, and draw global attention as well as expanding sales opportunities, 365 days a year.
“Thai and foreign visitors to SookSiam will have the opportunity to view and purchase these exciting and special products that have been hidden away in small towns and villages in the country,” she said.