Suchada Sanksuwan (Khun Kwan) was born and grew up in Bangkok, she is a graduate of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Architecture where she gained an Honors Degree. 10 years later she mastered in Management at the university’s Sasin Graduate School of Chulalongkorn.
Khun Kwan began her business career working as a freelance architect and architectural illustrator. Unlike today, at that time, there were no computers to make 3d perspectives so each drawing had to be done by hand. Around 1989,
when Thailand’s real estate industry was booming, she done illustrations and presentations for many developers, after seeing what they done she became more interested in that side of the industry.Soon after she joined a small development company who bought and renovated an old house to sell, she also did some turnkey interior design and landscaping work part-time. She then worked in Hong Kong and later returned to Bangkok to work with a big developer as part of its project management team.
Khun Kwan had always had a dream to develop a small project by the sea; she wanted to do the project alone and wanted to learn more. This is when she returned to university and studied management. However, following her graduation she actually decided to join a Canadian public mining company, a big change from architecture.
Within this company Khun Kwan was the Vice President of Corporate Affairs and an Executive Director, she handled the office management and dealt with local, government, political and legal issues. During her time here she learnt a lot about international business including how to raise funds from stock markets.
The role also meant she had to deal with people including ministers and politicians but also local poor people. She saw life in many different ways and too much politics was involved, it was not what she wanted, she quit and in 2006 moved to Phuket to do the business she loves, away from the city.
What’s your experience in Phuket’s real estate industry?
When I moved to Phuket I already had a small plot of land at Niyang Beach, I wanted to build my dream project but faced many problems, so in 2007 I decided to sell the plot which brought a good return and gave my business a great start.
With that money I bought two pieces of land. On one plot, near Bangtao Beach, I started the Miramare condominium project. At first I thought positively, if I sold 40% of the project off plan I could build without getting a bank loan. So I finished all the design work and got the permit, I was ready to build. However, the financial crisis started in America and I only sold 15% and it wasn’t enough. I decided to sell the whole project and the investor built the project following my design, so that was really positive.
That project taught me dreams and realities are not the same. Dreams are nice and easy, but in reality it was stressful, I wore so many hats at the same time, it was too tough!
Now I’m working on a smaller project, 2 sea view villas in Bangtao. One villa is nearly finished, the other I will continue next year. I have invested low profile with money I already have, so if I can sell that’s great, if not I will keep it, no loan, no pressure!
I don’t call myself a developer, I’m not up to that, I’m an architect who builds from my heart, even if it’s not perfect
I’ll be proud of it!
How do you feel when people refer to you as a “Smart Woman”?
I feel OK; people have good values in different ways! I would be more proud if they say I have a good heart. To be talented and successful doesn’t mean you’re a valuable person!
Tell us about your social life and fashion style
In my first 3 years in Phuket I didn’t go out much, I only started going out 5 years ago and went to every party near my house. I felt great and made many friends, Phuket is like a small town, everyone knows each other. Anywhere you go you’ll meet people you know, you won’t be alone. I like that feeling; it’s like a big family.
However, in the last 2 years I haven’t been out much, I’m concentrating on my work and meditate, I’m happy to stay quiet. Although I do go for brunch or dinner with friends or family or we eat and drink at home and talk and relax. But
I still go to some special parties once in a while. With regards to fashion, I like to shop at the wholesale market Prathunam and the Platinum Mall in Bangkok, I’ve shopped there since I was a teenager. My family’s not rich so I always bought fabric and mom made dresses for me. I like to wear cheap things that look good. I do pay more for some unique items, but at Platinum you can buy quality goods at 3-4 times less than a normal shopping mall. Even though I have more money now my taste’s still the same.
Brand names are nice but too expensive for me, I have bought copies for fun because they look good and are cheap, and I always tell everyone it’s a copy. I’m not against others who like brands; everyone chooses what makes them happy.
How do you take care of your health?
I believe health and mind are related. I had a stroke 4 years ago and it affected my mouth, I couldn’t speak well and even now it’s not 100%. The doctor couldn’t find anything wrong from my check-up so they thought it was stress related, I was so stressed about many things for many years and my mind was tired and weak. Stress can put many toxins in your body.
So I tried to find a way to reduce stress and suffering in life, the Buddhism philosophy and meditation helped a lot,
I don’t know about for others but it works for me. I also exercise, do simple Yoga, drink lots of water, eat lots
of vegetables and be happy, it’s helped a lot!
What are your favorite hobbies?
I like to go to the beach with my dogs, go sailing, watch the sunset, and I enjoy nature. I also read a lot of philosophy, watch movies that are good for my mind and meditate as much as I can; it brings me energy and inner peace. You can meditate anywhere and at any time.
What do you do to make sure you have a happy life?
I have some concepts to be happy;
First; realize that nothing is permanent, happiness, sadness, love, hate, anger, money, fame, honor, everything comes and goes so I try not to hold on to anything. It doesn’t matter if I live in a big house or a small room, eat in a hotel or on the street, drive sport cars or old trucks, success or not success, have a partner or be alone…I feel happy the same.
Second; to be a good hearted person, kind, honest and forgiving, nobody is the same like you so accept them as they are, you’ll never know what they think so don’t try to know, try to think never mind, don’t worry, keep cool, little by little and then you will feel good.
The last concept is live and enjoy the present, the past is passed and you have to let it go, learn from it and move on, and don’t expect or worry about the future too much, it hasn’t come yet, when it comes if there’s problems solve them, don’t let them make you suffer!
If you can do these things you’ll fi nd real happiness, it’s not easy and I can’t do 100%, but I think I can do quite a lot so I’m happier at the present, the here and now!