Pimol Srivikorn On Taekwando, Triumph And Carpets
For someone with the responsibility for a highly successful and expanding international luxe furniture and home decor business, 55-year-old Pimol Srivikorn’s eyes only really light up when he starts to talk about his beloved taekwondo. Under his guidance as president of the Taekwondo Association of Thailand the sport has grown in leaps and bounds, reaping success with a clutch of medals at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, including golds for Kotchawan Chomchuen, Phenkanya Phaisankiattikun and Ornawee Srisahakit in the women’s poomsae (dance team) event and another for Panipak Wongpattanakit in the individual kyorugi event.
Remembering the triumphs Pimol says, “I think the most inspiring thing wasn’t that they were our first gold medals of the games, but the fact that the winners were young girls. Incredible really, because it is not easy to win a gold medal in any martial art discipline at the Asian Games. There are always world-class athletes in the field, especially from countries like China and South Korea where taekwondo is taken very seriously.”
A rising star, Panipak is Thailand’s fourth world taekwondo champion in recent years and a likely gold medal contender in her category at the 2020 Summer Olympics. “It can be a thankless task running the association but when we have athletes like Panipak coming through, really talented youngsters who need help, the hard work is worth it,” Pimol says. “Ultimately I really want to help push the sport in Thailand. All sports in fact. I want more of us to get out and play more often. Talented athletes can become role models for young children.” He cites Yaowapa Boorapolchai, whose bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens sparked such a strong interest in taekwondo in Thailand.
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Holder of an economics degree from the College of Arts and Science, University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Pimol returned to Thailand to work for the family business. “Back then we were a carpet manufacturer, Thailand Carpet Manufacturing, known to many as Tai Ping Carpet, before we changed to TCM Corporation. We were one of—if not the first—carpet companies in Thailand and so a lot of the older generation are familiar with our name.” Now celebrating its 51st anniversary, the company has expanded in recent years. “It made sense to expand into furniture. I started by acquiring a sofa manufacturing company in the UK—Alstons,” Pimol explains. “The business went smoothly and lead to our next acquisition DM Midlands, which encompasses Alexander and James and two other brands, Ashley Manor and AMX Design.”
While the latter brands may be manufactured in the UK with a local market in mind, Pimol describes Alexander and James as a Thai brand with British blood. “The products are actually manufactured in Thailand. We started off with a business-to-business model in which we manufactured and exported sofas and other pieces to UK retailers for them to sell in their own stores—John Lewis, Harveys Furniture, ScS and the like—but when it came to Asia and Thailand in particular, I thought it would be better to have our own brand. Hence Alexander and James was born.”
Married to Trakarnta, Pimol has two sons, Pira and Teeka. The eldest is following in his father’s footsteps and currently attends the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate at the Wharton Business School. Teeka meanwhile is working his way through high school.
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