The life of Jirachote Kaewsathean, also known as Nicky, is a classic rags-to-riches story. Now the owner of the bustling new destination Mimosa in Pattaya, her life began in Isan as a child with little money but big ambitions.
The owner of Mimosa in Pattaya, Jirachote Kaewsathean, says ambition is behind her remarkable rise from a childhood in Chaiyaphum.
"I always got good grades, especially in English, and I was very ambitious," Nicky recalled. "However, my father was a civil servant and my mother was a vendor, so we did not have much money. My father's staff benefits only covered my education up until I finished high school, and I had to be on my own after that."
During the last year of high school in Chaiyaphum, her favourite pastime was spending spare moments in the school's library. While there one day, she spotted a job vacancy advertised in an English-language newspaper.
"It was a job at Pizza Hut, and being from a rural area, I didn't even know what pizza was, but I was about to finish my high school and knew I had to support myself if I wanted to go to university. I applied for the job and got it."
She moved to Bangkok and worked at Pizza Hut at CentralPlaza Lardprao while studying at Ramkhamhaeng University. At the time, she said, most of the customers were foreigners, and it was a great opportunity for her to sharpen her English skills.
Three years later, with 1,400 baht in her pocket, she decided to start over in Pattaya, because she felt it was a place where she could put her English to good use. She started off as a waitress, and later worked as a receptionist at a hotel, before taking on a new job as a tour guide. At 25, she opened her own tour agency, which is still running today.
The tour business in Pattaya is extremely competitive, so Nicky decided that she needed to expand her options. Seeing that there were opportunities in the real estate business, she took a course and branched out.
"It is a surprisingly perfect match. My tour clients buy the properties, while my real estate clients buy my tours as well," she smiled.
She described her life as a "soil to star" story, from a poor kid in rural Chaiyaphum to a recognised figure at the forefront of Pattaya real estate.
"I am forever thankful for the opportunities Pattaya has provided, and for the fact that my life has changed tremendously because of this city."
Ever since Nicky stepped into the world of real estate, she had always imagined that she would have her own plaza. One day, she noticed a strip of deserted shophouses across from the Ambassador City Jomtien Hotel and felt that she could turn it into something magnificent.
"The idea came from my travel experiences," she explained. "I've seen how places like [the Italian themed] Palio in Khao Yai could attract thousands of people, and I wanted to do the same thing. I acquired the land and started Mimosa, almost secretively. Nobody knew anything was being built because the construction started from the back. The front was only built three months before opening, and everyone was amazed that such a big project had been kept hidden for so long."
Mimosa, the biggest themed community mall in Thailand today, is built on a 50 rai expanse (the first phase occupies 38 rai, while the rest will be developed under the second phase) with a 1 billion baht investment. The theme is inspired by Colmar in northeastern France. Nicky was blown away by the beauty of the city and decided to re-create her memorable experience here. She calls it "The City of Love" and it was appropriately opened on Valentine's Day this year.
"It is a city of love because I built it from my heart and my love for Pattaya City," Nicky said. "This city gave me life, and I want to give something back to it. It gave me an opportunity to work, and I want to give the same to the people in Pattaya."
Today, Mimosa welcomes about 3,000 visitors a day, and she is planning the second phase of the project. The success has been overwhelming and has gone beyond her expectations.
"I am 46 years old now, and I've achieved everything I've ever wanted. I don't expect anything more than this. I have created the masterpiece of my life," Nicky beamed.
About the author
- Writer: Napamon Roongwitoo
Position: Outlook Writer