Despite the growing number of restaurants in Bangkok, no one can deny that a home cooking experience shared with a lover, family or friends has always been one of the most entertaining activities.
Cooking at home is a hobby for many people as it’s considered therapeutic after a long day at work. For bachelors, inviting female company to a dinner cooked at home is also said to be one of the smoothest moves you could make. With an increase in inspiring cooking TV shows, health consciousness and stress levels at work, more people than ever before are cooking at home.
Capitalizing on this trend here in Thailand is Paradox, a Danish company offering a wide range of quality kitchenware, glassware, wine accessories and home decoration products. It’s the go to company for anyone looking to get creative in the kitchen.
Paradox is owned by Mr. Lars Jensen, who grew up and studied to be a machinist in Hillerod in Denmark. He first came to Thailand in 1990 when he was invited to help his friend build a house in Bangkok. He had a plan to travel to Australia to pursue his career as a machinist after the house was built. However, his friend’s house was never built and he didn’t move to work in Australia. The 25-year-old Mr. Lars and his friend enjoyed living and partying in Thailand. “We ended up here. We had so much fun living on a low budget like backpackers. We partied for three and a half months and we decided to live here. I never worked as a machinist in Australia,” says Mr. Lars.
Started doing buisness
With a keen business mind, Mr. Lars looked for all kinds of business opportunities in Thailand. “I went back home to borrow money from some friends. I came back and started buying t-shirts and other garments in Thailand. I brought them back home to sell in Denmark. After we made some money we came back to have fun in Thailand,” Mr. Lars says. The business expanded step by step and the company became big with more partnerships. Mr. Lars and his partners slowly started to outsource products from China. In 1996, the business environment was getting difficult and the company required him to spend more time in Denmark. Mr. Lars was not happy living in Denmark anymore. Later on he decided to sell his house and everything he owned in Denmark and move to live in Thailand permanently in 2001.
Passion for cooking
With a passion for home cooking, Mr. Lars knows very well about kitchens. He has done a lot of research in kitchens and saw the gap for kitchenware and home decoration products in the market. Mr. Lars sent these products to Decoration Line Company in Denmark. He was also involved in the designs of many decorative items for Decoration Line. He attended various tradeshows in Denmark to sell the products. With more time required of him in Denmark, and some problems with the business partnership, Mr. Lars decided to finish his partnership with Decoration Line and started his own business called Paradox in Thailand in 2006.
Started just by Mr. Lars and one staff, Paradox has grown very quickly in a short period of time. “I participated in many trade fairs with one staff and very shortly we needed more and more staff.” The company now employs over ten employees.
During this time, Mr. Lars met Khun Kamonnut Kulchon, who was the head of risk control department in a stock brokerage company in Bangkok. The couple fell in love and got married one year after they met. Later on Khun Kamonnut left her job and joined Paradox full-time. She has been working full-time at Paradox for over 3 years now.
For Mr. Lars, starting a business in Thailand was difficult at first. The custom clearing for the first order was challenging. Work culture and people management style different in Thailand are different from what he was used to in Denmark.
For one thing, most buyers in Thailand do not make orders at tradeshows. The first time he exhibited his products at a trade fair in Bangkok, Mr. Lars was concerned about the future of his business. “In the beginning I was upset. I thought I couldn’t make a living out of it. I’ve learned that most buyers in Thailand make decisions after the fairs.” With people management, he had to tone his way down. “I used to be very straight in Denmark. I’ve learned to say things softer to my staff now. My wife helped me adjust it. I have to adjust my personality. It’s quite a big challenge for me. In fact, I have to learn many different new things to work here,” Mr. Lars says.
Full product range
Paradox Trading Company offers an extensive range of quality kitchenware, glassware, wine accessories and home decoration products to satisfy all customer needs. There are products for casual home cooking as well as for professional use in first class restaurants. The strengths of its products are the unique designs and affordable prices. Fifty percent of the products are designed by Mr. Lars, a home cooking lover, who aims to make all items high quality, functional while looking modern.
Manufactured in China, the company holds over 200 product items. “We have all the kitchen products you can think of. If you can’t find what you are looking for somewhere else, I’m sure we have it here,” Mr. Lars says. The best-selling kitchenware products include kitchen tools, salt & pepper mills, oil & vinegar dispenser, knife set, cutting board, mixing bowls, acid etched grater for professional use and recently introduced pots and pans. All of the products have thoughtful designs and produced with quality materials. For example, a fry pan is made of hard anodized aluminum. The material is extremely durable and stronger than stainless steel as it can be used with gas, hobs, or in the oven. It can also be heated up very quickly even without high temperatures. The pot and pan feature an advanced non stick formula which not only gives high resistance to abrasion but requires very little oil, for healthier cooking. The handle features an ergonomic design and silicone grip offering comfort and stability while cooking.
When he received ‘a Lever pull wine bottle opener’ as a gift from his American friend years ago, Mr. Lars was very impressed with the product. Taking notice that the wine market has continuously boomed in Thailand, he decided to expand into the wine accessories market shortly after. “When I presented the product to Central Group, they said that they need not only one item but the whole range of wine accessories. So I quickly responded ‘coming soon’,” Mr. Lars says with a smile. At the moment, Paradox supplies a whole range of wine accessories to major department stores, restaurants and hotels, and wineries that have a stand selling wine accessories.
All of the glassware products at Paradox are handmade. All wine glasses are hand- crafted by experienced craftsmen. Every glass is unique as small bubbles and fine lines usually appear during the mouth blown process. The popular Tulip Wine Glass Collection includes Tulip Red Wine, Tulip White Wine, Tulip Catering, Tulip Champaign and Tulip Decanter. Beautiful crackle style glasses are also one of the best-sellers. “Our customers are those who want something different. We are after the middle-class market. Our business philosophy is to offer different and viable products at affordable prices,” says Mr. Lars.
Paradox also offers a wide range of fine looking home decoration products. One of the most popular items is the ‘LED candle, a modern designed electric candle that looks like a real candle and can be blown out. The product’s main advantages are its safety, long lasting battery life (with two AAA batteries it can last up to 100 hours), no smoke, no flames, no fumes, and no wax mess.
The company has recently introduced the classy looking ‘candle holder,” With its fashionable design, Mr. Lars believes that it will be popular.
Where to buy?
The products from Paradox are available in all leading department stores such as Central, The Mall Group, Villa Supermarket, Makro and Big C. “We offer a wide range of products for all price ranges so our clients can always find what they want. Also, we have new products every 2-3 months. We offer different products with nice designs and nice packages,” Mr. Lars says.
The company currently exports its products to Vietnam and Laos. While the company has a plan to expand the export market to other countries in the region, Mr. Lars reveals that he also wants to open a restaurant in the future. “I’d like to have my own restaurant in 3-5 years. I love cooking,” says Mr. Lars.
For more information, contact PARADOX TRADING CO. LTD.
315, 317 Viphavadee Rangsit Road, Samsen Nai, Phyathai, Bangkok 10400
Tel. +66 (0) 26163441, +66 (0) 26163448 or E-mail: [email protected]