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Love, secret recipes, and a fast-growing chain of healthy salad bars

Started from scratch by a husband and wife, healthy eating chain Jones’ Salad opened its 10th branch in 2019.  Jones’ Salad, which began as a tiny kiosk in the basement of Chamchuri Square, opened its 10th branch this year. It all began with a tumor the size of an orange. At the time of the diagnosis, Ariya Kumpilo was at the helm of 10 bubble tea stalls. The tumor was removed and proved to be benign, but he was ordered to watch his diet. That’s when he realized healthy eating options were all but inexistent around him. “I wanted to open a health café of my own, but I didn’t know how to cook,” he says. “Still, the idea stayed in the back of my mind.” A couple years later, he met his future wife, Yanin, who is a food enthusiast. The couple started dating. Then she went to study in Australia and stayed with her uncle-in-law, Mr. Jones, who happened to be a particularly gifted maker of salad dressings. When she told Ariya about this, he flew to learn the recipes with her uncle before returning to Bangkok to open the first branch of Jones’ Salad in 2013. “I was…

From Myanmar to Michelin, a Sous-Chef’s Incredible Journey

This year, Myo Min Oo became the first sous-chef from Myanmar at the Michelin Guide-listed restaurant Supanniga Myanmar’s migrant laborers often work the toughest, least paid jobs. They can at least take solace in knowing that, back home, the fruit of their hard work sends children to school and keeps aging parents in good health. But when Myo Min Oo left Myanmar, it was as a runaway teen. And his first years in Thailand offered no hint he would ever support his family, let alone become a sous-chef at Supanniga, a Thai restaurant which holds a plate in the Michelin Guide. Myo Min Oo’s family had wanted him to finish high school. But all his friends left for Thailand, and he decided to follow them. “It nearly broke my father’s heart,” he says. “I was still young back then and just wanted to be with my friends. I was also curious about life in Thailand. But my family didn’t want me to go. The day I left, my dad cried.” His family are Tai Yai, the second largest ethnic group in Myanmar, and live near the Mae Sot Border, where they run a small grocery shop and shuttle goods to and…

What if crowdsourcing could make Thai children love school

INSKRU is a platform to empower Thai teachers with better course material—and 2019 is the year it really took off! Chalipa Dulyakorn, a graduate from Chulalongkorn University in industrial design, is passionate about teaching. But she also feels traditional classes fail to grab Thai students’ interest and imagination. In 2017, she started INSKRU, an online platform that equips Thai teachers with more engaging course materials. This year, it made learning more enjoyable for over one million students. “I wanted to do something impactful. Something I could continue doing after I graduated. My goal is to make students happier and more active in class, but it’s a difficult task for teachers. I saw a need for a platform where they can share and further develop ideas,” she explains. INSKRU provides a blogging platform for teachers to share their pedagogical techniques and success stories with others. The online community also inspires them to create fun and engaging learning environments. Ideas can range from teaching English tenses through a lip sync battle to learning about social roles from popular music videos. But Chalipa says the ideas also need to be relevant and practical to follow. “The coolest ideas often belong to teachers from…

The Dream Team Reinventing the Customer Feedback Loop

They joined a hackathon out of curiosity and ended up building a world first that puts customers at the heart of dtac’s network improvements. Thapakorn Dokmai, Wanchan Islargumpot, Akebordin Duangphoommes, Orraphan Saengsawat, Sirin Pakdeesrisakda, and Montree Monkhetkorn are all dtac employees, but they come from completely different backgrounds and divisions, from marketing to software development. What brought them together was a “hackathon,” a three-day workshop to brainstorm ideas, prototype them, and pitch them to a jury—which in this case, included very big names from Thailand’s startup scene. Ten months later, their project, a complete outlier in the global telecoms industry, launched in its trial phase. “When the team first met, we didn’t know exactly how dtac would make the improvements it promised,” says Thapakorn. “But with the launch of the ‘never stop’ tagline, we felt it was a strong show of honesty and commitment. It showed dtac was here to stay and fight back!” With that in mind, Tapakorn and the team set out to tackle their number one concern: how dtac deals with customer complaints about network quality. “We’d hear grumbling from friends and family. But there was no easy way to know exactly where they had encountered a…

An architect’s story of escaping burnout to follow his passion

In 2019, architectural photographer Chaovarith Poonphol took big risks to reach for his dream job. Chaovarith Poonphol was an architect at A49, Thailand’s most renowned architectural firm. He worked there for seven years, starting as an intern before moving up the ranks to senior architect. In parallel, he was becoming an increasingly sought-after architectural photographer. The pressures of both jobs piling up, he suffered a major burnout. This is the story of how he bounced back and landed in the field of his dreams. “For three years I had been thinking about quitting my job to become a photographer. But I wasn’t sure if I could make a living out of it. Eventually, there were more and more people coming to me with photography work, and I started getting calls from people being recommended by my previous clients. It started too look like I could really make this my job, but the pressure of having two jobs started to take its toll,” says Chaovarith. Back then, Chaovarith was a full-time architect on weekdays and a freelance photographer on weekends, shooting the hottest new buildings around the country. As his freelance career took off, his work appeared in several magazines and…

The secret sauce to dtac’s phenomenal results with tourists and migrants

When it comes to digital age, internet connection is the foundation of how we communicate and search for information. dtac positioned itself as a caring brand, not just for Thais, but for those who want to connect with their loved ones. And one of the target group is migrant workers and tourists. According to the survey, dtac gained 90% of market shares in this segment, clearly reinforcing its no 1 position in this segment. We bring you to talk with the marketing team who are responsible for migrant and tourist segment, led by Noi- Lalida Lohachitanond, Head of Migrant and tourist segment and the manager, Tum - Apichard Tinnasulanond. Multiracial team with shared goal The team of eight has a mix of races from Burmese, Cambodian and Chinese. It’s not just about language, but also culture and lifestyle that we need to truly understand, aimed at effective communications. Joe - Kittikhun Kleeliang He is a Thai national strategist with experience in aviation industry for a couple of years before joining dtac. He is interested in marketing job with scope of market analysis, product development and strategy design. Arm - Aung aung Htut He is a Burmese national with three years…

Seekster seeks growth by bringing technology to speed up its business by partnering with dtac SME

Special content by Brand Buffet Seekster, Thailand’s leading cleaning and maintenance platform startup for properties, is putting focus on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) group in order to seek business growth by using WorryFree package, provided by dtac. Additionally, it has broadened its services to internal management for SMEs called “Workforce”, bringing end-to-end solutions to SMEs beyond cleaning and maintenance services. Chatchanart Charanwattanakij, Chief Marketing Officer at Seekster, said technology is the foundation and key factor for startup success and secured growth as it helps solve problems easily, accurately and timely. It speeds up business growth with a faster pace. dtac SME as a technology partner for SMEs, it offers a range of business solutions to lower costs involved with communications. WorryFree package is specifically designed for SMEs, based on their insights, resulting in lower communication expenditure. Seekster plans to further subscribe this package for top-tier maids to attract and maintain them in this platform. Presently, Seekster has been running its operation for almost four years, having more than 10,000 maids and air-conditioning technicians from more than ten companies available. There were around 150,000 customers using Seekster, of which 60% from retail customers and the rest 40% from SMEs.…

dtac launched new staff uniforms with brilliant idea of using textiles that offer environmental sustainability

Sustainable Textile Innovation The new collection of dtac staff uniforms is designed by Moo Asava or Polpat Asavaprapha, one of top designers in Thailand. This latest collection is called “dtac Exclusive Collection Uniform by Asava”. It is meticulously designed with well-chosen fabric using the ‘Cool Mode’ innovation, which can keep you warm in cold conditions and help cool you in hot conditions. Moreover, the fabric gains a ‘number 5’ power-saving label, indicating low electricity consumption for ironing. It also receives two awards from the Ministry of Industry. The heart of design Mr. Polpat Asavaprapha or Moo Asava said “Uniform by Asava has been entrusted with designing staff uniforms for Thai leading organizations. dtac, surely lying in that category, has chosen me for this uniform collection. With the definition of “dtac Exclusive Collection Uniform by Asava”, we started the design from the value perspective of dtac and let that be the heart of our design with key points as follows: Simple and Human refer to sincerity, honesty, and simplicity. This collection is designed to be casual, however, with outstanding and punctilious details; therefore, the design looks sincere and friendly. Digital or hybrid. The design is a perfect blend of everything. When…

How dtac’s sales force is adapting to the digital age

Technology has changed the way people buy things, and with it, consumer expectations have changed quite a bit. Traditional hard sales strategies that rely on pressure tactics or “buy more get more” pitches no longer work in the digital age. Today, we sit with two key figures in dtac’s Sales Group: Akkapong Linpaisan, Head of Branded Sales Division and Buranis Mosqua, the newly appointed head of Partner and Hybrid Channels Division. How is dtac adapting itself to the digital era? Buranis: The sales landscape is constantly changing, fueled by the emergence of digital channels. Traditionally, the more-for-more proposition worked effectively, but it’s no longer the case. It’s just not enough to allow customers to make a purchase decision. The reality is that many people perceive that the telco industry lacks excitement and is no longer sexy. In fact, telcos are an important enabler of economic activity, accelerator of innovation and they establish markets for new products and services for the future. What is the role of physical retail in this new digital landscape? Akkapong: Sales persons need a lot of skill to be able to provide good experiences from the customer’s first touchpoint to after-sales service. Telcos are considered a service…

We ask dtac’s new Chief Marketing Officer how dtac will get back to growth

“There’re a lot of opportunities to gain more market share both in the prepaid and postpaid markers. This will bring dtac back growth,” says dtac's chief marketing officer, How Lih Ren, who joined the company on April 1, 2019. Having worked at consulting firms and Malaysian mobile operator Digi, Mr. How (who also hails from Malaysia) has an extensive experience in corporate strategy, product development, portfolio project management, consumer sales and digital product portfolios. He joined dtac at a difficult time, as the operator’s market share has slipped from second to third and subscribers dropped from 24.3 million in 2017 to 20.7 million in early 2019. Despite this, the newly appointed CMO outlines that “there are a lot of opportunities that dtac never tapped into.”Thai smartphone users are heavy data users, consuming 11 GB of mobile data per month on average,while smartphone penetration is close to 82 percent. They rank among the world’s heaviest Facebook users, too.   “This clearly demonstrates that mobile internet is a big part of Thais’ everyday life, similarly to Malaysia where I came from,” says Mr. How. Despite this heavy usage, he sees gaps in Thai mobile consumption that need to be filled. “A huge…