"My name is Suneeporn Tanjaipetch and I come from the Phayao province, Northern Thailand. I was born December 8, but I will not tell the year! I am the youngest child raised in a merchant family. I have six brothers...
Read Full Story
"My name is Suneeporn Tanjaipetch and I come from the Phayao province, Northern Thailand. I was born December 8, but I will not tell the year! I am the youngest child raised in a merchant family. I have six brothers and one sister, but none of us wanted to work in the family shop. I wanted to become an accountant and work for a company. I went to school near my house and later studied at Phanphiset Pittaya High School in Chiang Rai province. I furthered my education in Lampang province, where I studied accounting and finally graduated in accounting from Kirk University in Bangkok.
"Later, I landed a job in a computer factory and worked there for about nine years. The job was extremely tiresome, a routine, doing the same thing again and again and again. And although I was promoted to a higher position, as a secretary, I still found it an uninteresting career. I was always thinking about looking for another job, and I eventually got a job at another company, as an accountant. In those days, my sister sold clothes at the famed Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai. She always talked about it, always suggesting I sell clothes like her. I got interested in the idea and two years later I left for Chiang Mai and learn all about trading from her. Being in Chiang Mai would also allow me to travel more frequently to my home, situated just a couple of hours away.
"It was during that time that I fell in love with hill tribe cloths and decided to trade with them. My favorite pattern has always been the one adapted from ancient hill tribe designs. At first I received these cloths from hill tribe women, who live at Doi Mae-Salong, in Chiang Rai province. They showed me how to make these patterns and I slowly made them myself, which took me quite a while. Now I use my imagination and slightly stylize these motifs, which I draw on paper. Then I simply cut and sew the cloth according to the drawn motifs.
"I always provide my friends – the hill tribe women – with work, because I want to help them. We have developed a very good relationship over the years. This work allows me to earn a decent living, which I pay for in advance by allowing them to earn extra money in between harvesting the fields. I ask them to make the new motifs and buy the items upon completion, then I sell them in Chiang Mai. I also try to find new products crafted with new and interesting patterns, materials, and shapes. But I do not have enough money right now. So if this cooperation with Novica bears fruit, it would make everyone happy, more financially comfortable, and would prevent these hill tribe traditions, their crafts and patterns from dying out. And that would also make me very proud."