Located near Siam Station, the three interconnected shopping malls of Siam Center, Siam Discovery, and Siam Paragon are all operated by Siam Piwat. Hipsters and fashionistas alike love to make the pilgrimage to Siam Discovery, which has been redesigned and renovated by Oki Sato. Siam Piwat began the operations of Thailand’s first international-caliber shopping mall in 1973. Although modern management systems have been introduced and adopted across the business, the shopping malls endeavor to maintain a proportion of local merchandise through setting up select shops such as The Selected and Objects of Desire Store (ODS) to safeguard Bangkok’s own innovative brands.
Expertise in Sales Channels Stimulates Growth among Design Brands
Siam Piwat began introducing Thai products, including home decorative products and other merchandise, to its shopping malls about seven years ago and launched their select shops, such as The Selected and ODS, that specialize in sales of Thai brands, entrepreneurs, and innovative designers, four years ago. The shops allow young brands to practice, experiment, and work out sales systems best suited to their brands.
Parisa points out that the procurement department has worked closely with these innovative brands by discussing and analyzing the issues if sales slow down, with the aim of helping young designers develop stable businesses at Siam Piwat’s three shopping malls. Siam Piwat has also signed an agreement with the Department of International Trade Promotion to promote the development of the Thai design industry and support the growth of young designers.
New fashion startups begin with two clothing racks, placed at the men’s and women’s apparel counters at the multi-brand store. Parisa’s team reviews sales together with the designers every three months. “We have to let designers understand what reality looks like. With our professional knowledge, we help them improve and learn how to reduce costs,” says Parisa. The process of nurturing a brand so that it can survive has also enhanced shopping mall business operations, generating new products and ideas. In the five years that this operational mode has been in place, a whole legion of fashion brands has undergone optimization.
The Selected: The Lifestyle Select Shop Specializes in Simple Design
The target consumer group for Siam Piwat’s three shopping malls is mainly young adults. Siam Center has puts forth a store concept, the Ideopolis, to signify the embodiment of imagination. The Selected, a select shop located on the third floor, caters to young consumers and sells reasonably priced products including accessories, Fragrance body washes, and scented sachets. Parisa’s team proactively contacts designers to
find out if they can design product lines for exclusive availability at the malls. The team also acts as a bridge between designers to foster partnerships between brands so that they can display co-branded products in the Design Crossing section.
▲ The selected caters to young consumers and sells reasonably priced, stylish, and co-branded products.
Objects of Desire Store Delights Fun-Loving Design Enthusiasts
Newly renovated last year, Siam Discovery is grounded in the concept of “the Exploratorium,” which targets adults and design enthusiasts. The Objects of Desire Store (ODS), located on the third floor, sells small- to moderately large-sized decorative housewares by Thai designers as well as DEmark Award -winning Thai products. The space’s open design allows consumers to experience, explore, and create distinctive personal styles.
▲ ODS selected shop targets consumers with their own styles.
Exploring New Design Ideas from the Thailand Market
Thailand has experienced dramatic changes in consumer spending over the years. Millennials now have good incomes and savings. As the suburbs around Bangkok have serious traffic problems that make commuting more difficult, young people are driven to move to the city center to buy or rent a house. Demand for renovations and decoration of living spaces has risen. City-dwellers look for individual items to suit their style, opting for apparel, accessories, stationery, or lifestyle products that reflect their personal image.
They use social networks such as Instagram to share these lifestyle products, which aren’t necessarily expensive but are unique in their own ways. In doing so, they are declaring that “This is who I am!” online, and this in turn has promoted the retail channels of Siam Piwat and has broadened their selection of design products.
Parisa’s team has introduced design products from Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, and Taiwan over the past few years. She reveals that Chinese design as it is emerging at the moment is too nebulous to understand, in contrast to Taiwanese design which appears to be more similar to Thai design. For example, both Taiwan and Thailand have developed great skill in creating superior quality ceramic design. It is notable that same categories of products also have similar prices in Thailand. However, in Thailand, a thirty- to forty-percent tax is imposed on imports in an attempt to protect domestic industries, making it more difficult for the country to import products. Nevertheless,Parisa says that “Taiwanese designers are skilled at integrating design and technology, turning everyday objects into truly innovative works.” She believes that Taiwanese designers excel at this and it is the reason why these products can enjoy international circulation.