Thailand Promotes Traditional Arts and Crafts at APEC

Thailand Promotes Traditional Arts and Crafts at APEC

Chiang Mai, Thailand (PRWEB) October 20, 2003

Thai companies and the Thai government are taking advantage of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting taking place in Bangkok from October 18 to 21 to promote the traditional arts and handicrafts for which Thailand is famous. Now, the Internet makes these products easily available throughout the world.

Running concurrently with APEC, a “Thai Goods Fair” showcases arts and crafts from various projects sponsored by the Royal family, exposing visitors from throughout the Asia Pacific region to the diverse range of handicrafts originating in Thailand.

Each visiting leader and official attending APEC will receive souvenir Thai Khon masks and replicas of ancient Thai boats. Khon masks are papier mâché masks based on characters from the Ramakian epic. Residents of Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand, painstakingly crafted these items especially for the APEC meeting.

In the past, buyers had to travel to Thailand to buy handicrafts in the open-air wholesale markets. One such market, Chatuchak Park in Bangkok, can only be described as gargantuan. Buyers traveling to Thailand have access to unique regional and home-handicraft products. Many of these are one of a kind or made in limited quantities by skilled craftspeople.

For buyers with no travel budget, Thai products are sold at gift and craft fairs held annually in New York, Hong Kong, and elsewhere around the world. Products that are shown at these types of fairs are usually mass produced or heavily marked up via trading agents.

E-commerce has created a new way to buy wholesale Thai arts and handicrafts, combining the variety and pricing of local buying and the convenience of trade-fair buying.

In 1999, began selling Thai arts and handicrafts wholesale on the Internet, making handicrafts from Thailand easily available to retailers throughout the world with on-line ordering, automatic shipping calculation for 145 countries, and professional packing and export paperwork preparation.

Founder Somsak Bauood, only 29 when he started, says that in the four years his company has been selling via the Internet, it has experienced over 150% annual growth.

“We’re successful because we offer the same price and type of products that buyers find when they go to the wholesale markets in Bangkok,”, explains Mr. Bauood. He goes on to say that most of his customers are small shops that don’t have a budget for traveling to Thailand to buy direct. “From, these customers buy wholesale direct, just as if they had come to Thailand. But we pack for them, we do all the paperwork for them, and we ship when we tell them we will ship. Yet they still pay the same product price they would have paid if they had traveled here.”

Mr. Bauood is particularly proud he can take a small margin when selling via the Internet. “We want our customers to get a good price, but it is just as important that our makers, whether they are a group of artists in a village, individuals working out of their homes, or a small traditional factory, get a reasonable price for their hard work as well.” He notes there are many sites doing retail sales of Thai products that offer wholesale prices as a sideline or as a special request. “We serve only the wholesale market so that we don’t compete with our own customers,” he explains.

He sees APEC as an excellent opportunity for more people to be exposed to the skills and abilities of Thai craftspeople. “And, I’m hoping they’ll go home and buy from us!” he adds.


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