Esteemed in Asia, NaRaYa seeks to take Milan, London

Esteemed in Asia, NaRaYa seeks to take Milan, London

From left Peter Kopitz, group chief operating officer of aCommerce; Wasna Lathouras, president of Narai Intertrade; Pasin Lathouras, assistant to the CEO of Narai Intertrade; and George Hartel, chief operating officer of NaRaYa.
From left Peter Kopitz, group chief operating officer of aCommerce; Wasna Lathouras, president of Narai Intertrade; Pasin Lathouras, assistant to the CEO of Narai Intertrade; and George Hartel, chief operating officer of NaRaYa.

Narai Intertrade Co, a Thai maker of handbags and textile products under the NaRaYa brand, seeks to become a globally recognised label and make its presence felt in major fashion cities.

"We spent 29 years building the NaRaYa brand to be recognised in Asia, and our next step is the global market," said Wasna Lathouras, president of Narai Intertrade.

She said the company will build its own stand-alone shops with NaRaYa products in fashion destinations like Milan and London.

The company's investment of 2 billion baht this year is its largest ever, Mrs Wasna said, adding that 1 billion baht will got to a new distribution centre to serve online channels, cross-border trade and shop expansion in Phuket and Pattaya.

Pasin Lathouras, assistant to the chief executive, said consumer behaviour has been changing. NaRaYa aims to bring a seamless omnichannel experience integrating online and offline.

The company's payment system supports e-payments including WeChat Pay and Alipay, popular among Chinese tourists.

Narai plans to manage its business as a group of companies comprising seven brands, up from three now, to diversify its products and target groups.

Mrs Wasna said the primary user group of NaRaYa products is housewives, and the company is now making the goods accessible to all who crave premium products, especially young people and working women.

"That's the reason I myself have focused on building the designer team to tap into European and US markets, in addition to tourists shoppers from China, Japan and South Korea," she said.

NaRaYa will also add a tearoom and skincare to the business to leverage NaRaYa's brand reputation. The first tearoom will occupy the flagship store of 1,500 square metres at Iconsiam, opening this October.

NaRaYa has 11 shops overseas and 25 shops in Thailand. Ten new branches will open this year, including in Phuket, in Pattaya and at CentralWorld.

"We will maintain our luxurious essence with an affordable brand, but it will be more diversified," Mr Pasin said.

Narai Intertrade is reorganising, hiring more professionals and talent to aid the business expansion.

Mrs Wasna said the company expects revenue to grow exponentially from almost 2 billion baht this year. Tourists and expats make up 80% of sales.

George Hartel, chief operating officer of NaRaYA, said Thailand has a high mobile penetration rate and heavy usage of social media, so the company needs to cash in on this online opportunity.

"We are more focusing on the local online market to make our products accessible for Thai shoppers," he said, adding that the company has partnered with aCommerce, an e-commerce solutions provider, through a revenue-sharing model.

ACommerce will provide end-to-end e-commerce to help Narai expand locally and integrate with e-marketplaces and social commerce.

The company will start its online shop next week with 300 items, rising to 1,000 by year-end.

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