People enter the world of Siamese Fighting Fish for diverse reasons. For Thongphol Malisorn and his wife Pissamai Limcharoen, who live in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, they dreamed about turning a passion into a business. Together, they have extensive knowledge about the fish, though they lacked the business and marketing knowhow to make their passion profitable.
Although Siamese Fighting Fish, sometimes known as Betta, will instinctively tussle when they come into contact, Thongphol and Pissamai have no interest in that element of the fish’s nature. Instead their passion stems from the fish’s unique beauty and swimming technique, which Pissamai calls the “charm” of Bettas. The couple’s admiration for the beauty of the fish led them to begin breeding, but they quickly discovered that the business is challenging.
“I thought that it was as simple as breeding fish and then selling them,” said Thongphol, who added that “It’s not easy…. Many people give up.” They have been Siamese Fighting Fish farmers for eight months, yet their journey creates the impression that it has been longer. They have been steadily growing their business by investing gradually. Their operation is a two-person show, which creates a challenge. They are required to spend time breeding one generation in order to optimize the process of breeding the next generation. This is essential to cultivate more beautiful fish and to have the best chance in the marketplace. While they understand breeding, they needed support and marketing guidance, which led them to attend Kenan’s workshop funded by OSMEP ‘Business Development Projects for SME’.
Joining the workshop helped them visualize that there are several ways to sell the fish and that it is not necessary to trade wholesale, which decreases the unit price and profit margin significantly. As a result of the workshop, Thongphol and Pissamai have new marketing skills and are able to sell online. “Some of the entrepreneurs in Nakhon Prathom were only selling wholesale, at a very low price. Now, they know that Betta have more value and have started to retail themselves, allowing them to earn more income. If we hadn’t joined the workshop, we would have still been selling fish wholesale.”
With rising wealth and social disparities in Thailand, supporting small business owners addresses the challenge of communities being left behind. Kenan provides entrepreneurs with the essential skills necessary to run, operate, and grow a small business.