“The MBA Luxury Brand Management of IFA Paris offered the unique experience to study in three different cities: Shanghai, Paris and Bangkok!” tells Pavinee Sugkraroek, boutique supervisor of the prestigious Maison Van Cleef & Arpels in Thailand.
Michel Temman: Were you born in Bangkok? You always lived or studied in Thailand?
Pavinee Sugkraroek: I was born in Thailand and moved to Vancouver, Canada when I was young. I have always been on the move and I was able to live in many places in the world such as Canada, England, France, Czech Republic, Singapore, Hong Kong or China. I studied abroad for over 12 years before moving back to Thailand. But before then, I received my bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Simon Fraser University in Canada and after graduating, I started my work within the beauty industry for several prestige cosmetic companies. I became greatly interested about luxury brands and decided to pursue my MBA in Luxury Brand Management and my career in this sector.
M.T.: What were your previous experiences before Van Cleef & Arpels and how did you actually join this glorious brand?
Pavinee Sugkraroek: I worked for several prestige cosmetic companies such as Chanel, Sisley, Amore Pacific and Shiseido in sales, marketing and training. However, I got this exciting and privileged opportunity to join one of the most luxurious jewelry brands in Maison Van Cleef & Arpels through putting myself out there on Linkedin, as I was told by one of the professors at IFA Paris. Fortunately, someone noticed that I had an education in Luxury Brand Management and contacted me for this wonderful opportunity and here I am working for Van Cleef & Arpels!
M.T.: What is your position and exact role at Van Cleef & Arpels? And what are the main challenges of your mission?
Pavinee Sugkraroek: My position is boutique supervisor and my main responsibilities are to assist the boutique manager in coaching and developing the members of staff effectively to meet Van Cleef & Arpels’ standards and requirements; moreover, to manage the team so that they can achieve sales through the delivery of high levels of exceptional customer service and engagement to each clientele with respect to Van Cleef & Arpels’ spirit and heritage in order to establish a long term relationship with the client. My other responsibilities not only include sales and client management but also to actively participate in daily boutique operations including visual display, inventory and merchandise management, system support, reporting, and making sure that the boutique maintenance is up to the Maison’s standard. Therefore, the main challenges of my missions are to set up this first boutique in Thailand and maintain the high level of standards that are required by Van Cleef & Arpels as this is the flagship boutique store in Thailand.
M.T.: When and how did you decide to join IFA Paris and how was your MBA in Luxury Brand Management important?
Pavinee Sugkraroek: I joined IFA Paris in 2013 because its MBA Luxury Brand Management program offered the unique experience to study in three different cities, Shanghai, Paris and Bangkok. I found this program to be very interesting and valuable as I will have the opportunity to expose myself to three different cultures and to learn about luxury brand management in many aspects including learning from the source and origin of luxury which is in Paris, learning how the luxury industry has expanded rapidly in the Chinese market and lastly learning about the growing demand of luxury sector in a developing market like Thailand. By having these three experiences, it not only deepened my knowledge of the luxury industry but it also gave me a better understanding of the customer behaviours towards luxury.
M.T.: Thailand is a dynamic market for the luxury sector, especially for accessories and jewelry. How do you see the Thai market evolving in the next years?
Pavinee Sugkraroek: Thailand is a dynamic market for the luxury sector and has seen a growing demand for international luxury brands in the past years. Many brands have established themselves in Thailand and the numbers of luxury malls and boutiques are growing. As Thailand has been recognized as one of the world’s major gems and jewelry centers, it is no doubt a challenge for international luxury jewelry Maisons to establish themselves in this competitive market. Nevertheless, Thai consumers constitute a high potential when it comes to luxury goods – limiting the risks. For the Thai market, it’s all about educating the consumers about history, craftsmanship and offering them truly unique luxury experiences. In addition, Thailand is also known as a top tourist destination and therefore, with the increasing numbers of luxury consumers and tourists to Thailand, there is potential growth for the Thai luxury market in years to come.
M.T.: What pieces of advice can you give to students inspired by your career?
Pavinee Sugkraroek: Success comes in different forms and directions. I just began my journey in the industry and my best motivational quote is: “Find your passion and act on your dream!” It took me almost two years after graduating IFA Paris to join the luxury industry and I never gave up. Great success is hard to come by without passion. If you love luxury and are passionate about what you do, people around you can see it and especially if you have to work face-to-face with the customers, your passion will translate into action and believe me, customers will really feel it. Whether or not they will buy from you or somewhere else, they will remember the impression that you gave. Luxury is all about proposing dreams and providing exceptional experiences. If you can sell dream and passion to customers, then, you will be successful!
For more information on the MBA pursued by Pavinee at IFA Paris, please visit MBA Luxury Brand Management