Meet The Woman Driving Index Living Mall In A New Direction
The passage of time brings with it change, not least in business as the second generation in a family firm comes of age and looks to make their mark. Such is the case with Kridchanok Patamasatayasonthi of the Index Interfurn Group, the holding company behind the family-run Index Living Mall furniture retailer. Now 42 years old, she is expanding the firm’s commercial footprint with a new flagship store called Momentus, which she hopes will propel Index into the luxury furniture sector.
An Assumption University BBA graduate and the holder of an MBA degree in international business from San Francisco State University, Kridchanok returned to Thailand to take up the position of vice president of the Index marketing department. However, it wasn’t long before she was asked to step up to the role of managing director. “It came at short notice and I had no preparation. It was also during the Hamburger financial crisis in 2008 and the economy was in very bad shape,” she explains. “Nobody thought I could do it. Even the staff didn’t have confidence in me.” And initially sales did drop by two or three per cent but just two years after her appointment Kridchanok had boosted the company’s growth five-fold.
“I remember being so stressed back then. There was this moment when I told my father, Pisit, who had founded the company, not to worry and that I would do my best. He said that he trusted me and he had nothing to lose—he had started from zero and he could always start from zero again. That was when I knew that I simply couldn’t let him down,” says a visibly emotional Kridchanok.
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Eight years on and the business is thriving. Navigating uncharted waters, the new flagship Momentus specialises in modern-classic furniture from the United States. The brand was officially launched in December 2017 and Kridchanok says there is a definite market for it in Thailand. “The American modern-classic style is gaining popularity here and we thought there was a good opportunity to expand on what we already have. Clients want something different and our view was that the market choice was quite limited. Hence we saw the potential.” Sourcing for the brand herself, Kridchanok occasionally flies to the US with her team to check on trends and choose collections from the likes of Stanley Furniture and Hooker Furniture.
Kridchanok views home decor as an expression of style. “For me, interiors and furniture design are like luxury fashion for the home. I used to be attracted to modern designs, but after having worked with them for almost 20 years I find I prefer the modern-classic styles because of their timelessness.” In terms of her personal wardrobe, her choice of clothing is fluid and changes depending on her mood. “I don’t really define myself with a fixed style. Instead I like to mix and match. It is more flexible because my style can vary from sweet and elegant to edgy streetwise. I like putting together pieces from high-street brands with designer labels—it’s more about how you express yourself than the price tag.”
Married to Arak Suksawad, managing director of East Coast Furnitech, Kridchanok is a working mother to five-year-old daughter Fina and eight-month-old son Flynn and admits she has been honing her time-management skills. “I like to drop Fina off at school in the morning before I go to work. People often say that life changes dramatically when you have kids, but I’m not sure that is so true. For me everything feels quite organic and Arak and I just make sure we organise our days well so that we can spend quality time with our children.”