Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
Ordinary Selected looks like any other store on Kaew Nawarat Road, but when people go inside and look at it more closely, they see it is like nowhere else. After finishing a master’s degree in architecture from Chiang Mai University, Tanyaporn Jitrapirom had the idea to open a shop featuring more than 10 handmade brands, calling it a local Select Store.
“Ordinary Selected opened in 2016. We use a folded paper bird as our logo to represent craftsmanship because, rather like the way birds pick up bits of this and that to build their nests, we select what we are going to sell. There are so many outstanding craftsmen that have no outlet to sell their works, so I set up this shop as a space for them to show and sell their products,”
AN ORDINARY BEGINNING
“I was making clothing and bags, but it was after attending a workshop with TCDC (Thailand Creative and Design Center) that I got to know many craft entrepreneurs and designers in Chiang Mai. It was a bit of luck, really. There aren’t many accessible spaces in the heart of Chiang Mai where artisans can sell their handicrafts. When I was in Scandinavia, I saw several select shops that allowed designers to organize spaces and show their products together with others. This gave me the idea to do it here so I could sell my products and invite friends to sell theirs in our shop too.”
Tanyaporn was lucky to be able to open her shop in front of her family furniture shop in the Wat Ket neighborhood, which is a local neighborhood with many small hotels. Many foreigners live in the area, which is usually bustling with tourists.
“Tourists love to find out what’s interesting around here, discovering niche outlets that sell different kinds of craftwork.
We may be a small shop that doesn’t give much back to the community, but the artisans who collaborate with us can give back to theirs. We can only make small contributions for now, but we hope to be able to grow this more and more in the future.”
AN EXTRAORDINARY SELECTION
When selecting products to show, Tanyaporn puts most emphasis on diversity and the sense of fun in products. Budnow, which makes women’s clothing, and Cottonopolis, which produces printed cloth bags, are two of her best-selling brands. She says cute and useful things like small bags and keychains are the most popular things customers like to buy as souvenirs.
“Siam 1928 is a well-known brand of perfume from Bangkok made from Nam-Ob Prung Chaokhun. It has a unique Thai aroma created from substances found in nature. We collaborated to make a new scent inspired by ‘Khan’, an ancient tattoo pattern in the Lanna tradition, which we now sell at the shop. Its aroma gives off a sense invulnerability, much like ancient talismans would protect warriors in the traditional beliefs of Lanna. It is a blend of incense, frankincense, bark, ink, iron, leather and tobacco.”
In addition to selling handmade products, the shop also holds workshops in crafts like watercolor painting, sculpting clay and embroidery, which helps more people learn about Ordinary Selected.
COVID-19 inevitably hit Ordinary Selected, which had virtually no walk-in customers during the pandemic, but she said she was lucky as she had other businesses selling furniture and wooden toys. She also had the chance to learn something new.