“Hello! My name is Pakaon Sojintarit, or you can call me 'Little'. I was born in 1991. I grew up in a warm, jewelry-loving family with three brothers and sisters.
“Thirty years ago, my parents sold souvenirs such as bags, scarves, silk articles, etc. But the disadvantage was these products were not designed by them, so the products did not look great. But if we sold jewelry, we could design items. My mother accidentally met hill tribe people, and got to know about their culture. She fell in love with their arts and crafts, including their silver jewelry. Hill tribe arts and crafts look charming, because they imitate nature. Each piece has its story and significance, which appear through various patterns. So, my parents got to know more and more silversmiths from many hill tribe villages, and eventually worked with many of them.
“When I was young, I often followed my mom to the many hill tribe villages. I saw their equipment; their designs. I learned how they lived and worked; they are always kind and sincere. I was amazed by their abilities--with just a few tools, they could create impressive pieces. It's silverwork that is made from raw silver. Therefore, the finished product has a purity of more than 95% silver.
“After finishing the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management course, I took an internship in the USA for two years. I came back to work in the hotel industry in Bangkok, then went to study the Chinese language in China for four months. When I was working in the hotel industry, I got experience in human resources. But even though I got a high salary, I felt it was not a challenging job.
“'We cannot be happy if we waste all day with something we don't like.'
“The allure of charming silver jewelry took me back to run my family's business. It is blended between traditional and modern design, and I'm happy with it. Now we have about 50 people working with us; 80% of them are women. I’m happy to give them certainty and permanent income and see them have a fulfilling life. My brother and I oversee accounting, marketing, employees, and inventory.
“I had traveled a lot around the world; sometimes I would take influence from what I've seen, and take a picture. I would come back and share the idea with the silversmiths and give them the task to create it as jewelry. When I travel, I notice many jewelry designs, and now I have become a good observer everywhere I go.
“I admire my family's work, because I know the wages I pay to hill tribe people makes their lives better, and they are satisfied with their work. I have now worked with more than 300 silversmiths from many hill tribe villages. If we can sell a lot of products, it means we can perpetuate the culture of Karen hill tribe silversmithing as well.
“My future dream is to make hill tribe silver more significant and unique in Chiang Mai, and to create some attractive products that would make many tourists want to visit. For example, we once bought something from elsewhere, and when we saw it later, we could recall what it was and where it came from. I want Chiang Mai to have some products like that.
“I'm interested in NOVICA’s way of online marketing that could expand my products to the international level. With the right goals, I believe this is one way we could give back to society. Thank you.”