“Hi, my name is Ralyon Hengwatanakul. I was born in Chiang Mai. I grew up in a family of silk merchants in the middle of the city. I studied computer engineering in England, then married Jaifah Aksornsri, who is also a featured NOVICA artisan.
“When I returned to live in Chiang Mai, I got to know her family’s silver, woodworking, and antique business. Sometimes, I helped her in a shop located on Wualai Road, a well-known location for silversmiths in Chiang Mai, and got inspired to create something new from the materials we had. But, a lot of merchants were already selling traditional Thai handicrafts. If I started to do the same thing, it would be boring. So, I tried starting with a natural shape, choosing materials like mai maka wood and sterling silver to create cool jewelry that was suitable for new and older generations.
“I work with some craftsmen from my wife’s workshop who live near our village. I’m proud that I could combine both carpentry and silversmithing to create a contemporary jewelry collection. Now, I live happily with my wife and two children who help with this business. We want to continue silversmithing and woodworking, combining a contemporary style with the traditional styles of Thailand.
“I want to grow our presence on the online market through NOVICA, because we are proficient in our craft but not in online marketing. These days, consumer behavior is changing; they don’t have to go out shopping, and instead can buy anything from anywhere in the world on the internet. I want my new Thai handicrafts to be known. I hope my customers will love my work.”