I have now been living on Koh Samui for several months and am struck by the amount of development that is going on and the changes since I was last here just three years ago.
Bangkok Airways is upgrading its fleet to be able to accommodate an additional 200,000 visitors per year. Central Festival in Chaweng has added over 200 shops to the mix and The Wharf at Fishermans Village will add a further 135 when it is completed next year. That’s a hell of a lot of shops for a little tropical island and it shows that the big players obviously have confidence in the island’s future.
There are more restaurants, ATMs, 7-11s, pharmacies, hospitals, and dogs per capita than any place on the planet. Throughout the island there are superb villas and condos at about one third of Australian big city prices, numerous spacious and beautifully appointed resorts, and thousands of restaurants. But the furniture on offer leaves a lot to be desired – all heavy dark timber – and badly presented. There are no sophisticated retail furniture chains, nor are there any impressive stand alone stores selling other than traditional Thai furniture and artefacts. There seems to be little activity in pro-active sales and marketing.
I am negotiating to lease premises of around 500M2 on the main road between Chaweng and Maenam to establish a retail furniture showroom through which to serve resorts, hotels, villas, condos, and restaurants, focusing on the casual indoor/outdoor lifestyle of the island. Long term plans include possibly establishing outlets in other locations such as Phuket, Hua Hin, and Pattaya but this will be considered in the light of more research and our experience with Koh Samui.
Something about me. After an initial grounding of seven years in the advertising industry I have been on and off self employed in the furniture business for over forty years. I operated an up-market retail and interior decorating store in Perth, Western Australia for five years that furnished the homes of the rich and famous.
I have been dealing with manufacturers in China since 1978 when there were no private cars or private businesses, and l attend furniture trade fairs in Asia frequently to keep up to date with trends. Over the years I have built up an extensive stable of quality suppliers in China and Vietnam whose main markets are Germany, France and Italy. For the past decade or so I have been focused on designing, importing, and supplying custom-made furniture for Australian hotels and motels.
It was my intention to retire in Koh Samui but I soon got bored with counting pretty girls and coconut palms. The conditions for opening a furniture business were immediately obvious and the prospects enticing. There is an existing and rapidly growing market for quality casual furniture, running costs are a fraction of what they are in Australia and yet profit margins are similar, and best of all, there is minimal competition.
As I anticipate that it will take me a year or eighteen months to extricate myself financially from my present business in Australia I am looking for a silent partner to finance the Koh Samui furniture business for a 50% shareholding. The funds would be in the form of a loan to the company secured by its assets and repayable over several years on reasonable conditions to be negotiated. The need is for 2,500,000 Baht which is predominantly for the purchase of stock.
I am currently in Sydney where my phone number is 61-402070572. I will be returning to Koh Samui on August 12 but don’t know if my pre-paid mobile number will still be valid.
Brian Hull July 22, 2014
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