Mrs. Thanika Boonwattanaporn is the owner of the ROBECA brand, which has been producing Thai herbal cosmetics for five years, in Nakon Pathom, Thailand. One of her products is a lightweight moisturizer with a soft texture. Thanika is one of many Thai producers aiming to take her brand global.
She previously outsourced production, until one day a shipment arrived with a rancid smell coming from the oil inside. This incident, along with her husband graduating from the School of Cosmetic Science at Mae Fah Luang University, encouraged Thanika to take on product development.
With an abundance of enthusiasm and product knowledge, she was unaware of how to convert this into a successful business. She had not been able to find a way to reach her target market. Furthermore, Thanika was struggling in managing her budget. She recognized that she needed support. Despite Thailand’s rapid economic growth and entrepreneurial spirit, many small business owners are ill-equipped and lacking skills necessary to manage their business, often leading them to mismanage funds and enter a cycle of debt.
In late 2016, she heard about Kenan’s “DIP Cosmetic Network 2017”. By participating in the “DIP Cosmetic Network 2017” workshop from November 2016 to June 2017, Thanika learned how to cost-effectively market her products online. For example, by setting up a website and promoting through social media. Thailand’s social media penetration is over 70% and Bangkok has the world’s highest number of Facebook users, making it a key marketing tool. Thanika also had the chance to attend the Top Thai Brands 2017 event, organized by the Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce in Vientiane, Laos. There, she was able to understand more about the cosmetic market in Laos and enthusiastically learn how to adopt local marketing techniques. Thanika used this opportunity to connect with local distributors and is now selling online in Laos. She also expanded her knowledge of Thai herbs by learning from Dr. Jiraporn Thongtan, a professor in the Cosmetic Science program, at the Faculty of Science and Technology, Suan Dusit University. This information will assist Thanika with product development.
With advances in technology and ever-changing ways to communicate with potential customers, Thanika is aware that Thai cosmetic producers face stiff competition in both the local and global cosmetics market. To compete with other brands internationally, Thanika plans to have her products GMP or ISO certified. By expanding her knowledge and taking advantage of local opportunities, she now believes that she has the best chance possible to reach her goal. Share this story to help raise awareness of Thanika’s journey and spread the word about Kenan’s work to empower small businesses in Thailand.