PR & Communications,
Princess Yacht Thailand.
“I think I lead an extreme lifestyle. I’m living fully every day. I’m traveling, dining, meeting people, and seeing, exploring, learning about a lot of new things. It’s exciting.’ – Kornkanok.
She’s young, pretty, and fashionable. She’s smart and well-educated. She’s got a great family pedigree, and however one looks at it, there’s no other way for her but success. And indeed, at her age – she’s not even 30 yet — she seems to have done a lot of things that would take many people an entire lifetime to do. And she’s only beginning, it seems.
Kornkanok (Nulek to those close to her) studied abroad for 10 years, encouraged by parents who wanted their kids to find out more about the world, experience self-reliance and develop self-confidence by studying and living on their own.
She went to a girl’s boarding school in Switzerland when she was 14, before moving to England at 18 to pursue further studies after realizing she has an artistic bent.
“I’m creative, I like colors, and love the joy of experimenting, so I took up General Arts,” she says. Discovering she has a penchant for design, she applied for a London university, where she eventually received her bachelor’s degree in Pure Art and Fashion Design.
When she returned to Thailand at age 22, she joined Central Department Store for a while as a personal shopper intern whose main job was to be in touch with customers, helping them how to pick the right item that suits them, something that also really suits the fashionista in her. Then she moved to the creative department of 124 Communications, which does not only PR and communications but also organizes events. While she enjoyed the job, she realized using her art background was not enough for her.
“I wanted to explore the business side of things,” she explains. “I felt that there’s more to me than just creative design, which is really an integral part of me.” She traveled again, first to Europe, and then the USA, before applying in a big fashion merchandising institute in Los Angeles. More than the designing bit, she focused on marketing for two years.
And she made herself busy. “In that school, I interned for Louis Vuitton for a year,” she relates. “Then finishing my studies, I applied for a full-time job as public relations assistant.” It was one of the best time so her young life, she says. “I learned so many things, met so many people on a daily basis, including Hollywood celebrities. It was a fun, good experience for me.” When she returned to Thailand again in 2006, she worked as buyer assistant for a while but did not stay long.
She explains, “My parents businesses were expanding to the hotel and yacht segments and I realized I have to work for my family.” In fact, it’s not just because it’s a family business. Nulek saw the move as a logical progression into a career where she can use all her previous overseas experience and educational background as well as facing new challenges.
“We’re running the marina yacht club in Phuket (the main business), the resort inside the yacht club, and the Princess Yachts, as the sole distributor in Southeast Asia,” she told Lookeast. “Actually the Princess Yacht has been around for over 50 years in the UK. We’ve been its distributor for seven years.”
The business was started by his father, who she said, has always been into yachting and marine life. In fact, he was an Ironman champion. “He loves this brand especially, and trusts its quality – so it wasn’t a surprise that he decided to do business with them. That’s how we started,” Nulek continues.
“Now, Princess Yacht belongs to my brother who is doing operating and selling. I’m doing sales and marketing, and PR. While we just do wholesale selling before now we also do brokerage and everything, such as charters, after-sale services, and time-sharing. The scope of business has really expanded.”
It seems like the right time too as the yacht industry in Phuket is booming. And working for Princess Yacht seems perfect for her and her lifestyle. “A yacht is not just a product or luxury these days, it has become symbolic of a lifestyle itself,” she says. “The yacht is linked to tastes and preference, to status and prestige – and it’s a great industry to be in.”
Being on the marketing side, Nulek is busy as a bee, to use a cliché. “We have roadshows, trade fairs, luxury festivals such as those in Impact Muang Thong Thani, and the recent boat shows in Ocean Marina,” she shares. She’s also very much involved in helping a new program that just took off: a new collaboration with luxury hotels in Samui, Phuket, and Phang-nga.
As well renting boats is a promising business, she suggests, and they attend to visitors from many countries. “Indonesia is the one of our big markets as they understand the luxury lifestyle,” she says. “They like to come with a big family and rent a whole yacht for a trip.” They are also keen to focus on corporate branding such as Princess Yacht with Lamborghini, Princess Yacht with Bulgari, or Princess Yacht with Patek Philippe. “We’re trying to do more joint events, which we don’t do much before,” she says.
All this reflects her lifestyle. “I think I lead an extreme lifestyle. I’m living fully every day. I’m traveling, dining, meeting people, and seeing, exploring and learning lots of new things. It’s exciting.”
Nulek still likes fashion (very much) and still hangs-out with friends in the fashion industry (of which she has a lot), but she is not considering working again in fashion for the moment “The yacht business is a big world and I think outside the box,” she says. Besides, Nulek is also busy with the family-owned Maduzi Hotel, for which she is also public relations director.
“Maduzi means ‘Let’s Come and See,’ and it’s a boutique hotel with 41 rooms,” she says, and I believe it is the only hotel in Bangkok that’s for reservation only. Reservations are required before coming to the hotel as we want to retain the privacy and exclusivity of the place.” The hotel just opened in May 2012 and is now under negotiation with the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group.
And she’s obviously happy with what she’s doing. “Whatever you do, you have to feel happy from the inside,” she says. “You have to have passion for what you do, and not do anything just out of a sense of duty. This will keep you always one step ahead of others; this makes you always do something extraordinary.”
She still wants to do something with her fashion background in the future, but doesn’t plan to limit her horizons. She already has a new project, which is like a one-stop travel service; like a personal guide in everything. “It’s not just for fashion of shopping, but it’s like a traveling recommendation, taking you to the new places,” she says. “I also want to write the book about my travel experiences.” She is also considering becoming a food guru and maybe starting her own business soon too.
But at the moment, she is just enjoying the best her life has to offer, and being a Jane of many trades. “I work hard but I also play hard. I’m trying to find my equilibrium always because I think it’s important,” she says. “I keep myself busy – because as my Dad says, ‘a winner never quits, a quitter never wins.’