Women-owned business built on community and adaptability

Women-owned business built on community and adaptability 1A dream of sustainability and community in business

Whilst working her 9-5, Ms. Wannakanok dreamed of doing something for herself. Socially- conscious and creative, when Ms. Wannakanok traveled she would come home inspired to recreate and improve upon the handmade products she had seen on her journeys. Motivated by the female-led SMEs she was working with at the time, Ms. Wannakanok took a leap of faith and started her own business, Wanasu Style, founded on values of community and sustainability.

Today, Wanasu Style employs a tight-knit community of housewives, who make the brand’s unique range of clothing and accessories by hand. Each earning around 5,000 THB a month, these women’s salaries in turn support about 10-15 families. Aiding and empowering these women is one of the core philosophies of both Ms. Wannakanok and Wanasu Style.

Adapting to the impact of COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic raged across Asia and the rest of the world, manufacturing of materials key to Wanasu Style’s business ground to a halt. Worse still, the uncertainty of economic hardship caused consumer panic, and many people ceased spending money on fashion. Even Wanasu Style’s regular customers reduced their spending, for fear of the future.

Naturally, Ms. Wannakanok’s first concern was for the women in her employ, and for the families they supported. Determined to keep her female-empowered business afloat, and these women in work, Ms. Wannakanok understood that her business would have to quickly adapt.

Working as a team, Wanasu Style began developing a new line of products and services, tailored to meet the fast-changing demands of a market in panic. Ms. Wankanok adapted her products to suit the emerging minimalist trend and began offering customization options, too, which proved especially popular with large companies and corporations. In further response to the pandemic, Wanasu Style expanded its product range to include face masks. As Ms. Wannakanok explains: “Everyone already had their sewing skills, and the masks were really expensive for a time, so we began to make some to sell at a more affordable price.”

The key to survival and growth: Boost with Facebook

Thanks to Ms. Wannakanok’s willingness to expand and adapt, Wanasu Style survived the pandemic. However, there was one key ingredient that helped Wanasu Style not just to survive, but to thrive: the Boost with Facebook online-marketing training program.

When the COVID-19 pandemic made physical shopping impossible, making your business’ voice heard among the millions of other online stores seemed equally difficult. But with the technical knowledge and online marketing skills which Boost with Facebook provided Ms. Wannakanok, she was finally able to grab the attention of potential customers on Facebook.

“Boost with Facebook helped our business a lot. Before, we would post a few things on Facebook or Instagram, but we didn’t really pay attention to the technique or strategy, or the needs of our customers. Now, our posts are more focused and interesting and people share them more… With Page Insights, we learned to pay attention to a specific target audience who were more willing to spend. From this, we started thinking about plus-size masks and fashion, which means our target group has expanded. Through retargeting, we also managed to bring back customers who bought something from us ten years ago and [had] disappeared.”

With knowledge of how to use Facebook as an effective business tool, Ms. Wannakanok took greater control of her business without making any large investments. Around 80-90% of customer interactions made over the Facebook Messenger app now result in sales, whilst Facebook’s payment system streamlined the transaction process. Now, Wanasu Style sells to customers up and down the country.

Looking to the future

With the training and insight which Boost with Facebook provided, Ms. Wannakanok believes that she and the women she works with have all the tools they need to address any problems the future may hold. Even when faced with the worst of the fallout from the global pandemic, it appears the courage, adaptability, inclusivity, and communal values of Wanasu Style and Ms. Wannakanok ensures that there is a bright future ahead.

Kenan Asia

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