From Running Errands To Running An Empire
From a regular pharmacist to the owner and managing director of Smooth E Company Limited, a Thai brand that has successfully traded to international standards for the past 20 years. Dr. Sangsuk Pithayanukul perfectly blended his status as a scientist, marketing strategist, and a man who understood human emotions to become one of Thailand’s top marketers and creator of the quality toothpaste ‘Dentiste’, which is currently now experiencing massive success in Japan. All of this success has stemmed from the entrepreneurial genes of the good doctor.
Witnessing his father running a business as a child, Dr. Sangsuk says that his father employed a unique a teaching method. “My father offered to pay me one Baht per day if I worked for him instead of playing with my friends, so you can say I started learning business from a very young age. After I graduated, I continued to work as a sales pharmacist until I was ready to open my first drugstore in the former Siam Department Store. However, I did not have long before my whole world began to change. You see soon after opening my shop, the department store wanted to end my lease. I had to rethink my business model and decided it would be better if I changed from selling products for other people and started building my own product line.”
From medicines and supplements to medical supplies, he failed to find the perfect products that would define him. It wasn’t until the early 1990s when he began marketing Smooth-E cream, the first product under the Smooth-E brand, that his fortunes began to change. Back in 1991, personal care products sold in Thailand were of inferior quality compared to those sold in Europe and the US.
With image and health consciousness increasing in Thailand, Dr. Sangsuk introduced Smooth-E under the concept of cosmeceutical products. Thanks to some savvy marketing, product effectiveness, and recommendations by dermatologists and pharmacists, Smooth-E Cream became the number one selling scar treatment product in pharmacies within just three years.
This firmness to succeed is, he says, why he exerts that persistence against failure is the key to entrepreneurship. “In truth, people do not only buy things for their functional benefits, but also their emotions. Therefore, every product does not only meet the high standards of scientific research, but also answers to customer’s needs and creates an emotional satisfaction.”
Speaking of his success, Dr. Sangsuk says it is his goal now to repay society by creating a new generation of entrepreneurs. To this end, he initiated The Business Incubation School as an NGO and brings in successful entrepreneurs as coaches to offer guidance and knowledge and build business skills for young Thai entrepreneurs. He aims to grow creativity and to drive new businesses towards international success over the next few years.