"I come from a conservative family in which Thai customs are greatly revered. For example, seniority is always important for us, so we were taught to bow low when we walk pass older...
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"I come from a conservative family in which Thai customs are greatly revered. For example, seniority is always important for us, so we were taught to bow low when we walk pass older people. My brother and I were also inculcated the way of Wai,
a traditional gesture of respect that consists three levels, toward people of our same level or younger, to our elders, and to monks.
"My father was born in Chiang Mai and moved to Bangkok to work for the government. He met my mother there and lived in Bangkok until my older brother and I were born. Then my father officially moved to work back in Chiang Mai. He wanted us to live in a good weather environment but most importantly, he wanted us to get close to our grandparents so that we could learn and absorb the Lanna (northern Thailand) way of life. It was really smart plan of my father, I think, because I would never have had a chance to learn about true Lanna culture.
"After graduating from a university in Bangkok I began working for the Thai Ministry of Finance in an investment program designed to support far distance communities. I was so lucky because I had to visit these communities and I learned about their happy lifestyles, which I adopted for my own.
"Soon after my contract finished I moved to Supunburee province to work as a consultant for a renowned investment group. I met my husband there and I decided to quit my job after our first baby was born. My life changed a lot. I left the work I loved and a very good salary behind. But I wanted to choose my own way. I wanted to spend most of time with my family.
"Later on, I moved back to my home town in Chiang Mai with my children. I wanted to take care of my parents who were getting old (my father is now retired). My husband didn’t come with us because he has a rice mill business to take care of. But he travels back and forth.
"I started to have a lot of free time when my daughter entered preschool, so I was trying to find something interesting to do. I started by learning how to bake and each day I made a different dessert for my daughter. It is true what people say, that children never lie, because my daughter usually said 'it doesn't taste good at all,' or 'it's better to buy from the bakery shop.' We all would laugh when we heard that!
"Maybe I wasn't born to be a baker! So, I started looking for something else to do, and decided to try to make dresses, which I thought would be exciting. When I worked with the company, the way I dressed was very important. It had to be smart and neat. So I always got my dresses made by a reliable tailor. I thought, why don't I make a dress myself?
"I put all of my effort and ability to learn how to make apparel, because it combines art and mathematics: good calculation, good selection of materials, and good design. I first made a dress for my daughter and this time she loved it a lot! She even wanted to wear it to school every day to show to her friends and teachers. She always has new dress made by me.
"I enjoy this a lot. When I see nice fabric, I always buy it. When I have time, I make clothes for my parent and my lovely daughter. I started to take some orders when I felt more confident.
"It is a great chance for me to have met Novica. I don't need to set up my own shop which is costly to do, and it is also risky for me. So I can spend my time concentrating on how to differentiate my work from others, and how to make it more interesting. The first process is to source some good fabric. I remembered meeting a cotton weaving group in the Hod district when I was working for Finance Ministry. Unfortunately, the width of their cotton was not standard. It was too narrow to make international clothes. So I had an idea to make the clothes in different way. Yes, it can be a relaxed fit jacket!
"This weaving group was glad to see me again, and they couldn’t believe the direction I had taken by changing careers! We exchange ideas to improve their woven work, such as the type of color or new technology to fix color, etc. I like them to preserve their own way and their knowledge, which is passed on from one generation to another. It is really a unique art form.
"I take very good care of each piece of my work. Before cutting, I treat the fabric first to make sure that it won’t shrink or colors fade. I want clients to feel most satisfied with my work. I am especially interested in local fabric. Not only is it of good quality, but also it can tell some story about the weaver. It is a good representative of our capability and our beautiful culture. Khob Khun Kha.