Like Patcharapimol, businesswoman Wasna Lathouras is no stranger to the hard work required to succeed in the world of fashionable bags. The founder and president of Naraya Group thinks it matters not one jot whether one is a woman or man—perseverance is what gets you places. Since Naraya’s establishment in 1989 Wasna has built the business to include a presence in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan. She highlights the importance of good leadership and a determination to accomplish something.
“Personally, as a woman I feel like there’s little point in espousing gender equality if you’re not prepared to stand up and work hard for what you want. You have to showcase your skills and persevere.” She also stresses the importance of education and gaining as much experience as possible. “I want to see improvements on the education front. These days people have all sorts of knowledge at their fingertips, but I think that needs to be coupled with practical experience. When you know about your work and industry, you are confident and there is nothing to fear.”
As with any entrepreneurial undertaking Naraya has experienced its challenges, not least unscrupulous competitors trying to copy its bag designs. However, Wasna says that among her myriad responsibilities, she finds the management of people to be the biggest challenge. “Keeping all my staff motivated and heading in the right direction is tough,” she laughs, “but I have a great team that puts up with my complaining.”
Although she acknowledges the advance of women entrepreneurs in Thailand, particularly in the lifestyle industries, the executive also says that women could be doing better in other fields. “Frankly I would like to see more women in leading roles in industries such as engineering and energy.” Indeed, these remain predominantly male-driven sectors but that’s not to say there aren’t women breaking through...
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