Katarina Bonér, the designer who has chosen Thaliandia

Good morning Katarina! Il Metropolitano is very happy to have the chance to interview you.

Katarina Bonér

Here’s few questions to know you and your fashion house more:

1. Why did you choose Thailand as headquarter for your company? When you started, did you expect to have such a successful run?

I’m a wife and mother also, and our family fled the cold and dark winter in Sweden for a life in the tropics – Thailand is truly the country of the smiling people! – after we sold our hotel business some 5 years ago. I used to be in television (as a buyer) when I met my husband who was hotellier with 2 Relais & Chateaux hotels outside Stockholm.

After about one year of sabbatical I was looking for something to do, and stumbled over the opportunity of the swimwear business. Amazingly Thailand has season for swimwear 12 months/year…!

2. How long did it take to create a famous brand?

We started with importing another well known brand – Sunseeekr Australia, and shortly after we took on other brands too. It is only last year we have developed our own brand, and it is very well received. At the premier showing – a catwalk on a 5 star resort in Phuket we did get a the attached review in Harperz Bazaar*.

All in all we are a very young company only 2,5 years and it has all been happening very fast. We sell in 15 departmentores and 30 resorts.

3. Please tell us about your typical day at work: how much “creative” and how much “managerial” work

As we run an import company and I have 30 emplyees, office in Phuket and Bkk, it is alot of managment and monitoring that needs to be done. We have sales conference calls, we need to train the sales staff, we discuss stock and import problems, make the budget, talk with the buyers etc. Normal office work…! But I like that part too, as it is creative as well and we are a very fun company to work in; we have the best events in the industry and get alot of feedback on them which is great for all my team! Everyone is proud to be part of Katalina team, I am very lucky to have the best and most loyal coworkers!

Most of the creative work on the collections and our brand is done in the evenings at home or on airports and when I go for a walk on the beach, or in a discussion around the conference table at work ad-hoc.

4. What about your very first collection? Which is the most unforgettable or your preferred one?

Well, like I said is is all new to me… the most feedback I ever get however is from a piece that people from all over the world seems to love; it is the snakeprinted onepiece with a moulded balconette and marked waistline. Very feminine and sophisticated and yet young and sassy. Picture attached.

[nggallery id=181]

5. What do you think about the prospects of fashion companies in thailand? Which tendencies and trends do you foresee in Asian fashion?

Well being an expat I never really get the full picture of the local fashion industry. Most of the consumers here are Asians of course and large amounts of tourists coming here are from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China etc. They have their taste and sizeing, and we can touch it, but it is hard to compete with the prices. However when it comes to international fashion brands Thailand is a huge potential and every month we see new brands getting established in the stores here, as all over the world there is a demand for “brands”, and the Thai economy is going very well, and thai consumers are interested in expressing themselves with fashion and consumption.

6. Which are your usual location for catwalks and exhibitions? Do you usually prefer Thai models?

I’m lucky to be based in Phuket, there are great locations in every corner here. We ususlly do our shows in 5 star resorts or beachclubs if in Phuket. In Bangkok it is different and of course more urban. Some time we have done shows inside the departmentores, but we are looking into doing one this year in one of the big hotel sto get a more glamorous feeling. However departmentores is fun too as you catch people walking by!

Regarding models I really have no ethnic preference; I like models with personality and curves. We use Thai, mixed, Russian, English, Polish, Jamaican etc…

Link to Siam Paragon show http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVcu7v14eiI

Link to Bliss Beachclub show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3nEz4Be6-8&feature=player_embedded

7. Can you please tell us something about your next collection? We know it is usually a secret, but Is there any detail you can share with our readers?

Ha ha, that’s naught to ask…!! Well I guess I have to say something 😉 We are going to put alot of effort into the accessories, to make every piece special and interesting, and also we want to make the comfort and fit great so all women are comfortable to wear the swimwear under their normal clothes too, a bit like underwear with an accessory. If you live in Phuket it certainly makes sense to always be prepared for a little swim or sunbathe!

Katarina Bonér – Showgirls in town

8. Which are your future plans? Expand abroad? Diversificate in other fashion niches or launch new brands?

We are already in Malaysia and will launch in Singapore within shortly. We also export to Maldives but of course we want to expand more and grow. Indonesia is very interesting and China too. You wouldn’t belevie how many inquiries I get from India, Cambodja, Vietnam, Zanzibar, Dubai etc.. Of course I want to sell in my country Sweden and other European countries as well, however economy in Europe is what it is now… But Thai company Central has bought the Italian Rinacente so perhaps we can start selling in your country soon!

However for my brand I really hope we can grow enough to develop the brand and include more coverups, accessories and lifestyle clothing that goes along with swimwear. We already do some, but would be great fun to do more!

I would also love to do something for the world and the ocean, I am very passionate about keeping the balance in the sea and hope to create a brand to support the sharks and stop them from being finned. Being in the top of the foodchain it is very serious if they would deminish!

Many thanks mrs Katalina, the staff of Il Metropolitano wish you even more success to you and your beautiful company!

www.katalinacollection.com

katarina@katalinacollection.com

39/4-5 MOO.2 THEPKASATRI RD., KOW KAEW, MUANG,PHUKET 83000,THAILAND

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About the Author: Hanh Tran Thi Hong