Close-Up

Hands-on fur­ni­ture afi­cionado Veekrit Palarit gets com­fort­able on a Dan­ish sofa and talks shop with Nob­porn sanong Touch­inda

Thailand Tatler - - CONTENTS -

Fur­ni­ture im­porter Veekrit Palarit makes him­self com­fort­able, while hard work pays off says banker and fash­ion maven Ji­ray­ong Anu­man-Ra­jad­hon

ring­ing a fresh spin to Bangkok’s clut­tered fur­ni­ture scene, Veekrit Palarit, or Ong, and his team at Norse Republics fo­cus on Scan­di­na­vian brands. No stranger to the de­sign world, he grad­u­ated from Tham­masat Univer­sity’s in­ter­na­tional pro­gramme with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in in­dus­trial engi­neer­ing and joined the fam­ily busi­ness, an im­porter and ex­porter of raw ma­te­ri­als, specif­i­cally wood. This al­lowed him to work along­side his fa­ther and brought Veekrit to the re­al­i­sa­tion that go­ing into de­sign was what he re­ally wanted. “My role be­gan to change to fo­cus on de­sign as­pects such as web­site and brand creation be­cause it was some­thing that I found re­ally en­joy­able. I ac­tu­ally en­joyed it so much I quit to go and fur­ther my de­sign stud­ies,” he says.

Af­ter gain­ing ap­proval from his fa­ther, Som­pong, Veekrit chose to pur­sue a se­cond bach­e­lor’s de­gree in Mi­lan, this time ma­jor­ing in fur­ni­ture de­sign. With this new­found knowl­edge he re­turned to Thai­land and quickly re­alised that there was a gap in the fur­ni­ture mar­ket. “I no­ticed a lack of high­qual­ity Scan­di­na­vian fur­ni­ture in Bangkok, de­spite there be­ing such a wide range of fa­mous Scan­di­na­vian brands sold world­wide. Hence in 2015 I es­tab­lished Norse Republics as an im­porter, se­cured the Hay fur­ni­ture brand and set up our first shop at Siam Dis­cov­ery,” he ex­plains. The out­let did well, boosted by grow­ing de­mand tied to the buoy­ant prop­erty mar­ket and be­cause more and more peo­ple were tun­ing in to Scan­di­na­vian de­sign aes­thet­ics. “I could see that par­tic­u­larly the younger gen­er­a­tion of home buy­ers ap­pre­ci­ated the fur­ni­ture and so we are adding the Fritz Hansen brand to bol­ster our di­ver­sity.”

To Veekrit’s mind, what has made him stand out is that the brands he deals with see his pas­sion for their fur­ni­ture and so “th­ese com­pa­nies trust me to rep­re­sent them as their man­ag­ing di­rec­tor in Thai­land. It’s a role I take very se­ri­ously, to the point where I over­see every­thing from sales to cus­tomer ser­vice and vis­ual mer­chan­dise,” says the 33-year-old of his hands-on style of man­age­ment. When it comes to work chal­lenges Veekrit says that they “tend to be about peo­ple not the fur­ni­ture. It is a chal­lenge to find peo­ple who share your pas­sion. I have to com­mu­ni­cate my ideas to them so that they can help me ex­pand my vi­sion. That said, I love all as­pects of my job, every­thing from im­port­ing to data work, I en­joy do­ing it all.”

So does he have any other pas­sions? “When I was younger I only wanted to be a busi­ness­man like my fa­ther, who has been very suc­cess­ful, and al­though the world of fur­ni­ture is where his heart truly be­longs I do switch off by read­ing, watch­ing movies and play­ing the oc­ca­sional game of ten­nis. The re­ally sig­nif­i­cant re­cent changes in my life were mar­ry­ing my wife Jongkol [fash­ion edi­tor at Vogue Thai­land] and the birth of our son, who is al­most two now. Whereas I used to work on week­ends, now they are de­voted to spend­ing time with my fam­ily. It’s good to switch off and en­joy each other’s com­pany.”

Look­ing to the fu­ture Veekrit would like to ex­pand his brand port­fo­lio fur­ther but with dis­cre­tion. “I want our cus­tomers to have ac­cess to qual­ity fur­ni­ture that is new to Thai­land. We are in the process of open­ing an­other out­let in Soi Somkid, but we don’t want to be­come some sort of fur­ni­ture su­per­mar­ket for multi-brands be­cause then our taste and char­ac­ter would be lost. A con­sid­ered se­lec­tion of ex­clu­sive lines is what we are aim­ing for—then in 10 years time I can see my­self tak­ing a step back and not be­ing so hands on, al­though I will def­i­nitely re­main in the busi­ness as a di­rec­tor,” he says.

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