Sirapat Pipatveeravat is the fresh-faced, good-natured creative director of jeweller Der Mond and—just like Kridchanok Patamasatayasonthi, our other Close-up profilee this month—a good example of how the second generation can usher in a wind of change to their family business. However, before going to work for Der Mond in 2012, the Chulalongkorn graduate in industrial design was an account director and strategy planner at Conspiracy, an advertising design consultancy.
Now 32 years old and fondly known as John to family and friends, he says that, “After two years at Conspiracy, my parents wanted me to come back and help. I knew that eventually I would have to join the family business, but having had work experience elsewhere after I graduated was instrumental in helped me to gain more confidence.”
Transitioning into his new role as a designer and marketing executive at Der Mond went more smoothly than John could have anticipated, as he explains. “I was one of the founding team members at Conspiracy. It was a small company so we were very close to each other and flexible in our work outlook. It meant that when I moved to the family business I was able to make the switch gradually, working at Conspiracy for three days a week and spending the other two at Der Mond. The workload only increased when I eventually joined full-time.”
John’s passion for jewellery design began to develop in earnest during visits to the company’s manufacturing facilities and through contact time with customers. “I like talking to the customers to learn about their preference, and the more I worked the more I wanted to learn more.” Alongside his sister, 36-year-old Supasinee Pipatveeravat, who is also known as Dolly, the two have a clear-cut responsibility within the Der Mond organisation with Supasinee holding the positions of senior sales manager and export director.
As a young blood stepping into an existing business, the issue of generational differences is inevitable. “When I first started, I wanted to make changes to the style of jewellery we were creating, to make it more contemporary,” John says. “I was confident with my ideas, but then I had to understand that others might not be so ready for change—I mean both our craftsmen and our customers. Older generation patrons, those financially established in life, are very important to the jewellery business. Because I didn’t really have the insight into what they were looking for, I had to talk to them. I had to recheck with them whether my designs suited their lifestyles and their needs. It was a steep but very useful learning curve.”
Seasoned in the business now, John is setting his sights further afield in terms of ambitious growth for Der Mond, exhibiting the brand’s pieces in leading Japanese department stores such as Takashimaya and Mitsukoshi. “This will be the third year that we’ve been showing our creations in Japan and I see it as a very important market for us. Japanese consumers are very knowledgeable and the country has a well-established jewellery industry.”
In his free time the jewellery design executive, who married Suthada in 2015, tries to exercise once a week. “I’ve fallen ill before because of lack of sleep and not taking care of myself properly, so now I try to end my working day at 7pm. To do that I try to set daily and weekly goals to complete—only occasionally when I haven’t been able to finish them all do I cheat and bring work home,” he laughs. “During the week, my schedule is really simple and I love to get home to eat with my family. When I have the time for it I also love to travel with my wife.”
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