If you visit this factory on Phutthamonthon Sai 6 road, you might well mistake it for a wellness centre for the surrounding greenery and a serene meditation sala.

In fact, this 60-rai manufacturing compound produces Tangmo T-shirts, must-have items that Thai teenagers have worn and had in their wardrobes over the past three decades.

The unusual factory environment is a major factor that has helped shape Tangmo, the wholly-owned Thai T-shirt brand, which has weathered the vicissitudes of Thailand’s apparel industry for 30 years while many local brands have gone to the wall.

Today, Tangmo is entering another chapter after Adisara Puangchompoo, the second-generation of the family, joined the empire in a bid to create new ideas to drive the brand in the future decade.

“There was no pressure on Nong Zen to join Tangmo. It was a natural progression,” says Amara Puangchompoo, the founder of the Tangmo brand, referring to her daughter by her nickname.

Ms Adisara, 26, has had an eye for fashion since she was a child. As a schoolgirl she did her own collection for a school fashion show. Having a background in painting helps sharpen her design skills with an instinct for observation, an advantage in the apparel business.

Mrs Amara, 59, has instilled art in her daughter, taking her to museums and art galleries as well as adorning their house with paintings.

Ms Adisara graduated from NIST International School in 2007 and gained a BA (Hons) in drawing from Camberwell College of Arts, London, in 2011.

She joined the family-owned Siam Hands Co Ltd, which makes the Tangmo apparel, and Why Japan Co, the distributor of the apparel, two years ago.

Tangmo’s founder Amara Phuangchompoo and her daughter Adisara stand in front of the brand’s logo. photos by KOSOL NAKACHOL

A Tangmo shop in Loei province is one of the many stores nationwide where the brand’s products are available.

Since then, there have been several changes in order to draw attention to Tangmo products.

First, the colour scheme has been changed from bright hues to more subdued shades ranging from pastels to earth tones.

The product range has expanded from T-shirts to tops and trousers for men.

Ms Adisara has also launched other products such as souvenirs for tourists, including nail clippers, luggage, hats, umbrellas and socks. In addition, she has widened the price range of Tangmo products to broaden the brand’s customer base, with prices ranging from less than 100 baht to more than 2,000 baht.

“These products are available at Tangmo shops at PTT petrol stations in order to remind people that the brand is alive and we want to be a friend of all travellers,” says Ms Adisara.

She adds that other products are in the pipeline to cater to a wider range of customers.

The company plans to open a 2,000-square-metre outlet in front of the factory on Phutthamonthon road in November, aiming to welcome around 2,000 people a day.

Currently, Tangmo products are available at eight shops at venues including Platinum Mall, Siam and Bobae market.

In addition, they are available at 70 PTT stations, with the number set to rise to 100 branches next year.

Although Ms Adisara has made several key changes since entering the Tangmo business, she has retained her mother’s distribution channel.

For instance, while many consumers buy via modern trade channels and department stores, Tangmo products are sold via traditional channels through more than 2,000 local distributors nationwide.

Ms Adisara is quite familiar with the upcountry lifestyle as most of the 700 employees at the factory are from the provinces.

“I want my daughter to learn and understand different ways of life. The garment business relies heavily on workers, most of whom come from rural areas,” Mrs Amara says, referring to the strategy to allow her daughter to travel to her nanny’s hometown in an upcountry area during school breaks.

With this approach, Ms Adisara gets on well with provincial people.

Her father, Adisorn, continues to devote himself to upcountry communities with his “one rai-100,000 baht” education project, a scheme that teaches farmers how to grow crops at lower costs while earning up to 100,000 baht from their plot of land.

Ms Adisara says although she is young, she gets along well with older people with years of experience in the factory.

“Our company is very family-like. We don’t use words like boss or sir or madam, we call each other sister, auntie or uncle instead,” she says.

Ms Adisara is currently in charge of marketing, product design, training and store concepts.

About the author
columnist Writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Position: Business Reporter

Bangkok Post

Adisara has mum Amara’s full support in making changes in Tangmo products, including going for more subdued shades in their colour scheme.

Being raised conservatively, Ms Adisara is down to earth, free-spirited and humble. She shuns fashion shows, preferring to go to trade fairs to spot new innovations or visits cafes in Siam Square, Sampeng or Platinum complex, observing people and getting inspiration for new products.

She says that although her parents have given her full authority to run the business, she still seeks their approval before taking any decision.

“Even if it’s investing up to 30 million baht to launch a new product, I allow her to do so as I think it is just like paying tuition fees for my daughter to learn about life because no experience can be handed on easily,” says Mrs Amara.

The Tangmo brand was established by Mrs Amara when she was a student at Thammasat University.

Tangmo means watermelon, her husband’s favourite fruit. She came up with the idea of adding the Japanese word for watermelon, suika, to the logo since she was interested in Japanese culture.

Tangmo T-shirts have been successful since they offer quality at reasonable prices, while having Japanese writing on the logo helps make the product similar to products from the Land of the Rising Sun, lending them a modern touch.

The products are now exported to several markets worldwide, including Asia, Europe and Japan.

The company also produces apparel for other famous brands such as Lee Sport, Garfield, Pop Eye and Looney Toons, making Tangmo a multibillion baht business.

“I want Tangmo to become a national brand. I am proud to be a daughter of the Tangmo brand and I hope that Tangmo will be your travel partner as well as a national brand,” says Ms Adisara.

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