Sitthidej Chavanaves, of Mian Teck Jewelry Export, explains how his family business has developed, as well as his views on the future of Thailand’s gems and jewelry industry.
Could you share the story behind Mian Teck?
Mian Teck is now 104 years old. Our family business started in 1914 and is now taken care of by the third generation that is passing its knowledge to the fourth generation. Initially, we focused on retail sales before turning to exports by joining trade fairs with the Ministry of Commerce, and some other fairs ourselves. Most customers we have acquired from the Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair.
What makes Mian Teck special to last for over 100 years?
At the beginning, we didn’t know how to make export products. Then our customers asked us to produce jewelry products according to their model, so we saw our expertise in creating fine jewelry more clearly.
Over time we have developed this to become our signature skill today. Our specific skill lies in producing art deco style fine jewelry. We have been doing OEMs as Mian Teck since the start, but since 2014 we also have our own brand – Chavana by Mian Teck – launched to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Mian Teck.
Who are your customers?
Our main customers are mainly from Western countries, such as France, the US, etc. We are suppliers for factories producing for Cartier and Tiffany.
In your view, how is the Thai jewelry industry regarded globally?
The first thing that is well accepted around the world is Thai craftsmanship, followed by the production price. But in the jewelry industry overall, there are some downsides resulting from the global economy and changing consumer behaviour. Today, there are many kinds of products that consumers can choose as an investment or for pleasure. Whether to buy as a gift or for investment, jewelry is not always the first on their list.
How could both public and private sectors support the industry?
The outlook for Thai jewelry seems to be brighter, especially as regards tax. The main issues are tax and tariffs, as well as our regulations, which influence whether international buyers decide to come to do business in Thailand. In the past, if customers bought our products and then wanted to send them back for modification or repair, they were charged an additional tax. Now, this procedure no longer exists, which is good for the industry. For the Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair, if we could also create a mix of international businesspeople in the gems and jewelry industry, it would help draw more stakeholders to revisit and do business in Thailand.
Words by Natthinee Ratanaprasidhi