me and my lovely half finally managed to buy tickets to thailand few weeks ago, we went and... my 'royal' blood made me check if there is a RE dealer i could visit and say hi. i mean to say sa wat dee kraap :)) there was one. and what one
i contacted the owner of RE, mrs Ployanapat Leenutaphong before going to the trip. if she/they would be interested to meet me and chat a bit and do few photos for my blog. i did that boldly on instagram :) response? positive. YES! let's do this!
meet mrs ploynapat, the proud owner, the queen to rule over the two wheeled royals in thailand :)
we have a saying in my country
"as many languages you know, as many times you are a human being"
and for that reason let's dive into a tiny lesson of thai language
sooo - sa wat dee simply means hello
and because the beautiful people of thailand are super polite they always (often) add a polite word.
a man uses 'krap' at the end of sentences or phrases (spelled out as khrap as well): sa wat dee kraap
if a woman says hello - she uses 'ka' (or spelled out as kha): sa wat dee ka
there you have it. how does it feel to be a human being +1?
i have to start with the feeling you get entering the store. it's beautiful. a truly representing space any brand would be proud to have. you feel that you're not 'accidentally' at some dealer that sells enfields among other brands. this is it. royal enfield, looking sharp. and you are here for your enfield. and they represent the brand and represent it beautifully. it's all about the big gun in the logo and nothing else. it fills you with some sort of pride to 'belong', to talk to people who get it, sell it, live it
i had one pre-photo/interview meeting with ms sudarat songpradit and XXXXXXXX from the marketing dept, we lined out a little battle plan for the photo shoot day and - i DO apologize to them here right now - i was like a kid in candy store, i started to take 'few' photos of the store and got 'lost'. with my camera to walk around and take all that in :D thank you again so much for your help and patience with me!
i have to mention something. little detail because details impress me. i think the little things show how much you care. i had the chance to meet this gentleman there on the first day while he was picking up his new bike. can you remember your happy day? that was a like little celebration, right? and that's my point. it was a big deal for me too to pick up my bike. i saw on my dealer that he didn't care much, he sells bikes every day so how special is it to him. it was special for me but i didn't have a red carpet :) that got me here. i can appreciate something like that. this is how it works. 3 steps: 1. red carpet, 2. thai bow for being a customer and - 3. your smile.. done, it's yours, you know it. you have to grin, you just picked up your enfield! and because it is enfield - the smile won't go away.
note: if you picked up your bike on a red carpet before - write me. yeah, i didn't think so :D
jeff - good luck, enjoy the new chrome head turner!
but now - the main day. i didn't have to focus on the store anymore and this day was all about mrs ploynapat, customers and surprise visit (to me) :) but what an honor. i got there little bit sooner and hey - don't waste time, who are those guys? came to get their bikes? gentlemen, could i borrow you for a minute, if you could just stand here at the wall for a bit :D
as i was just wrapping with the guys i heard mrs ploynapat is on her way and she walked in with few extra people. gentlemen from RE india who were visiting, they were told about 'peter's visit' and came back to the store to meet me. pleasure and honor meeting you, gentlemen! we took more photos, talked a bit, it's all about making enfield friends! and thank you so much to khun ploynapat for the time in your busy schedule. we didn't have so much time to talk but she promised me to stand for few portraits and i cannot be more thankful for that. plus she agreed to answer few of questions in writing i had ready for her.
the little questionaire will be at the end of the blog
order of apperance: from left mr manoj gajarlawar and mr arun gopal , from enfield international business department
just few more photos from this amazing day and - after this the promised interview with mrs ploynapat about motorcycles
and now the promised Q&A with mrs Ploynapay. enjoy the read. kop khun mak krap, khun ploynapat!
Q&A with mrs Ployanapat Leenutaphong, RE Bangkok, Thailand
1. How and when was the idea born to bring Royal Enfield to Thailand - was Thailand ready for Enfield or Enfield became ready for Thailand :)
My name is M.L. Ploynapat Leenutaphong. I’ve founded an importing and distribution company. Today, our company is one of the fastest growing companies in Thailand in the field of household robotic technology.
My husband and my little brother are both very keen bikers. I guess their passions for bikes have rub off on me. I have learnt how to ride on a Ducati. But, I realise that it’s not really a bike for me. The power is too much. Also, I’m more inspired by the classic British design.
So, I’ve began to look for a brand that is truly classic. One that builds a bike that is NOT too powerful for new rider like me, but also designs their bikes to fit a wide variety of lifestyles and fashions. After all, I want a bike that looks “right” on me. I believe the most important thing is that your bike and your lifestyle have to be a perfect fit.
Then, I came across “Royal Enfield”. The more I studied this brand, the more I became interested. Royal Enfield is truly unique. It’s the world’s oldest motorcycle brand with on-going production. Their design is really timeless, and I believe it will appeal to a lot of people in Thailand.
That’s how my passion for Royal Enfield got started.
2. How would you define a Thai rider
I believe Royal Enfield bikes have great potential in Thailand. It appeals to 3 large groups of customers, 1) classic bike enthusiast (lovers); 2) weekend recreational bikers wanting an easy bike to ride; and 3) everyday commuters seeking to be different from the crowd.
But, the most important thing for us in terms of marketing strategy, is to communicate this concept of “pure motorcycling” that Royal Enfield is famous for, to the Thai market. We live in an age where everything is super-high tech, and things are all connected. But, sometimes we yearn for simplicity. When we ride a bike, we want to go back to the basic where there’s nothing to distract you, except the tie between man and the machine
3. After all the right things happened - the first store was open. it’s truly a beautiful place. so tell me please the details - how long is it open now, what are you the most proud of, etc
We started working on this showroom since Fall of 2015 and officially opened our door in February 2016. Royal Enfield Thonglor is the official first showroom of Royal Enfield in Thailand.
Currently, we offer 3 models which are 1) Bullet 500; 2) Classic and Classic Chrome 500; and 3) Continental GT
Today, the response from the market has been very positive. We have collected over 700 orders from the customers. This shows that Thai people likes an easy, classic looking bike that is easily customisable.
The service we offer at Royal Enfield Thonglor is really comprehensive. Our team has the experience and is trained by Royal Enfield Head Quarter to deliver high quality after-sale service.
Our current capacity is 500 throughputs per month, which includes regular interval maintenance, warranty claims, accident maintenance, as well as the installation of accessories. We also have many collections of apparels and riding gears available for the customers to choose.
4. Who is RE customer - how old is he/she, where does he/she ride, what is their lifestyle
Age from 20-60 years old
Mostly male but we are having a growing percentage of female bikers
They usually ride in short trips - about 200-300km.
RE customers are sociable, outgoing, love to travel, adore vintage and classic items and they have tight relations with their community.
5. Can you say what is the most popular model sold? or color :) which one is your favorite
The most popular model sold is the Classic.
All the colors available of the Classic are popular.
My favourite is the Classic 500 Lagoon.
6. Where do you see RE motorcycles succeed. Will it be a ‘cool rare’ motorcycle to see in Bangkok only or it can become a daily commuter as it is in India?
It would be great to see RE bike as the stylish classic bike that is accessible to all bike lovers and that fit for the daily use.
7. Connected to previous question - how does RE compare to everything else that rides in the streets of Thailand. what battle has Enfield to fight to become successful here. what are the strengths and … any weaknesses?
The advantage of Royal Enfield is its accessibility. Even among the mid-size motorcycle market in Thailand, the price of Royal Enfield bikes is very competitive. Also, the price of spare parts is not expensive at all. So, Royal Enfield really has something for everyone. It’s the bike that truly can be used everyday.
8. Now i have to ask - do you ride yourself? :)
Not as often as I would like to. In addition, to running my business, I’m also a full time mother to a 8-years old son. As you can imagine, I have to juggle a lot of schedules in my life
There’s a few bikes in my garage at home. All of them belongs to my husband. I’m currently at the stage where I’m looking to customise my personal Royal Enfield. So, I’m going through a lot of references looking for inspiration. I think it will be a while before this bike is finished.
9. And last - advice for Thailand visitors who would like to ride here. tell us little bit about what to be aware of, what to do, what not to do and - where are the best roads and places to visit as a rider :)
Should be cautious with the unfamiliarity with Thai roads here. And some of the sharp long bangs of the upcountry roads. Beware of dogs crossing too. The Thais are very friendly. You will find lots of new friends along the way.
Thailand has many beautiful riding routes. The famous ones are the mountain landscape up in the north and the breezy roads along the southern beaches.
i hope you enjoyed the read, the photos, i hope you stop by there when in thailand, and say hi from me too :)
the end(?)... defnitely not. thailand, i'll be back!
this post will be finished with this statement found on a wall on the premises. if you feel this way - you are my people ;)
let's take our dream bikes and make all the dream trips reality. done and done