While woodwork in Chiang Mai is commonly associated with large pieces of furniture such as tables, wardrobes and beds, Wongpitak Export creates much smaller items like souvenirs, house wares and home decor.
Phithak and Wanida Inthawong’s craft journey began 30 years ago when they started a business producing and exporting sa paper, but the market became highly competitive with lots of duplicate products, and price wars made doing business difficult. Phithak, who grew up in the craft community, and Wanida, who has a degree in design, decided to create something new in 2001.
Prioritizing quality, they started experimenting with new materials and became interested in mango wood, which was common and could be legally exported. A few mango wood products were already in the market at that time, but most of them were home décor items such as large vases. They saw a market opportunity for small items such as souvenirs and houseware and began by making candlesticks, boxes and small wooden containers.
Compared to big pieces of furniture, there were doubts as to whether their small products could make enough profit, but through determination and perseverance, they created attractive products that highlighted the rich texture of mango wood using high quality paint and lacquer. The response was overwhelmingly positive, so they began adding new designs. Their products are both functional and decorative and now include tableware and home décor. The attractive looks and quality of their products have gained them a constantly growing customer base.
Phithak started his business before the internet was available. Marketing relied heavily on exhibitions and trade fairs, such as the Bangkok International Gift Fare and Housewares Fair (BIG + BIH), wich was the most important event. As his business grew, his exhibition space expanded. When Wongpitak was at its peak, the company would receive enough orders to last a year by exhibiting just twice a year. New products are constantly being added and now there are more than a thousand items under the Wongpitak brand.
“Everyone here has a little bit of artisan in them. Combined with a team of designers who share a similar mindset, there is infinite ability to create. We are glad to be able to create job opportunities for local craft people and offer high quality Thai crafts to the international market,” said Phithak.
Wongpitak is open for made-to-order inquiries. They have worked with multiple hotels, restaurants and spas who prioritize safe products. Customers can have their name or logo embedded as well. One of the most popular products is their candlestick, with which customers can request to have their own distinct scented soy wax.
Interested visitors can go to the Wongpitak shop at Cham Cha Market or the Wongpitak Export page on Shopee.com.