The Bangkokian Journey: ITW with Maryse Kraatz

5 years of story telling, 5 years of story sharing, 5 years of pure Bangkokian love! Since 2015, ANOTHER_STORY teams never ceased to look for inspiring artisans, international brands and local labels to develop unique collaborations and serve clients with the very best of Thailand design collections, South East Asia creative gems and worldwide hot items. Quick flashback to our Bangkokian memories along the way and exclusive interview with A_S founder: k.Maryse Kraatz. Happy anniversary ANOTHER_STORY!

What a journey...

Khun Pa Tuek (Phoosik Pattanapragan) at the event.

Khun Kit Bencharongkul at the event.

The atmosphere of opening day party at Another Story, 4th floor, The Emquartier.

Decorated entrance of the store

The front display at the store regarding "ich bin ein Bangkokian" theme.

The Another Story thai food cart at the event.

The product assortments on the wall of "ich bin ein Bangkokian".

The front display at the store regarding "ich bin ein Bangkokian" theme.

The product assortments on the wall of "ich bin ein Bangkokian".

Thai chocolate from Kad_kokoa and Bangkokian special blend exclusively at Another Story only.

The Bangkokian helmet from special collaboration with Bum Shaker

The Bangkokian assortment table at Another Story.

Q: Could you please give a little introduction of yourself?

A: Hello! So, I’m Maryse the globe trotter. I’m half French and half Lebanese, and I’ve lived in Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore and now Bangkok. But, although I only lived there for my first 10 years, I’d say my heart really belongs to Lebanon. What else? I’m also an ex-banker and a proud grandmother of two. And now, of course, I’m the founder of Another Story! I created A_S five years ago to promote brands that have stories to tell. I wanted to help to promote slow retail over mass consumption and was interested in helping great local brands to develop themselves, to help making them accessible while still offering excellent quality. It’s really important to me that people can have fun and enjoy products that have a meaning and that they can keep for a long time.

Q: How and when did you visit Bangkok for the first time?

A: I felt in love with Bangkok while I was living in Hong Kong and then in Singapore. We used to visit Bangkok from there quite often. My first visit was more than 20 years ago, around 1988, for a seminar while I was an investment banker.

Q: Can you remember your first day as an expat in the city and the impression you got from this energetic megalopolis?

A: I had quite mixed feelings, I think. There was incredible energy everywhere. And beautiful creativity - like nowhere else in Asia I’ve seen. But at the same time I had that kind of “lost in translation” feeling, both culturally and physically. Even though I’d already spent 20 years in Asia, I felt, and still feel to some extent now, a little lost in such a huge city. I just couldn’t understand where the heart of the city was. I have to confess that after 6 years here there are still loads of places I don’t know so well here. And my sense of direction being really bad, it doesn't help!

Q: After more than 5 years in Bangkok, what are your 5 secret favorite things to do in Bangkok?

A: Well, first of all - who doesn’t love the food here?

My favourite things to do has got to include Sunday lunches at Lad Mayom, the local floating market where I somehow discover a new Thai dish every single time. I also love a good Saturday brunch at the Siam Hotel, but the dinner there is also spectacular. I’d happily dine there any day of the week! The spa at the Siam Hotel is also amazing. Ok, you can probably tell what my favourite hotel is… But, some of my other favourite things to do in Bangkok are cycling around Bang Kachao, having a nice lunch at Roast, walking around Chinatown. Oh, and of course, shopping at Another Story! I love getting gifts for my grandchildren, my household, and, well, for myself too!

Lad Mayom floating market, Bangkok

Siam Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Bang Kachao, Samut prakarn

Q: When not in Bangkok, where do you like to escape for a weekend in Thailand?

A: One of the biggest differences between Bangkok and the other two Asian cities I’ve lived in is that here you can just take a drive out on a Friday night and head to the beach, like Hua Hin, or the mountains and countryside. If it’s a long weekend, then you can head north to Chiang Mai, which is a region I’ve felt that the more you go the more you love it. It’s pretty cool that you can enjoy everything from cities to villages to beaches and mountains. Thailand has it all.

Q: While travelling the country, what are your 5 favourite artisans, brands, or artists you’ve discovered along the way?

A: Wow, there’s a lot to choose from! I discovered these gorgeous handmade plates (Prempracha) by Khun Aumporn Kunchaitis in Chiang Mai that I love. There are also these crazy African-like sculptures made of recycled materials (Wit's collection) by Prakit Seehawong I also discovered in Chiang Mai. That region is honestly so good for discovering great artisan products. I also love Kenneth Rimdahl’s Monsoon tea that are produced there.

There are fabulous things all over the country, though. Like this incredibly good black chocolate made (Kad Kokoa) by Nuttaya and Panitchin Chunhasawatikul which you can find in many parts of Thailand. And right here in Bangkok, I’ve recently discovered these Tiny trees made by Natjalin Phruksatanonkul (Khun Nam Kang) which make for the cutest indoor and hassle-free plants.

Q: 9. What was the intention behind the creation of BANGKOKIAN collection?

The “Bangkokian” theme was actually the first introduction to our story-telling concept. It was the theme we used to celebrate our first anniversary four years ago. It was the foundation for our sense of belonging to this city, and we also wanted to highlight the fact that both Thais and foreigners can feel “Bangkokian”. All global travellers like me can fall in love with this city and come to feel “Bangkokian”. It’s a feeling that’s quite hard to explain - you have to be one to understand it. That first collection was a huge success, so we decided to keep it as one of our permanent basic collections. Then, for the fifth anniversary, we expanded the collection with some “basic twisted” items, asking all our main brands to create exclusive limited edition items under the “Bangkokian” theme.

1st year anniversary with Bangkokian theme

Q: The current “BANGKOKIAN” collection has more than 50 exclusive and unique collaborations! What are your top 5 picks you would gift to your loved ones?

A: Yes, there’s too many too choose from! You would definitely need to buy at least five things. For me, I’d go for the special helmet, the Bangkokian baby onesie, all the colourful t-shirts (one for each day of the week, of course!), the super cool Izipizi sunglasses, and some of the new Bangkokian prints.

Bangkokian helmet exclusively at Another Story

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Bangkokian baby jumpsuit Multicolor

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Bangkokian Tee - Green

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Izipizi #D sunglasses bangkokian collection 2020

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Bangkokian print Toy vol1 exclusive collection

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Q: It’s time to blow Another Story’s fifth birthday candle! What would you like to wish to A_S?

A: I’ll give five wishes for five candles.

1) Stay inventive.

2) Dare to be different.

3) Continue to amaze and surprise.

4) Stay true to ourselves, even despite economic or any other crises.

5) Become more and more sustainable.

Q: Finally, would you be willing to share any upcoming secret project happening in the AS community?

A: Well, it’s no secret anymore! We’ve just launched our very own baby: the Another Story website! We waited a long time to launch it because we wanted to do it right. Our biggest challenge was to convey our unique atmosphere through digital. Also, we are very eclectic and subjective, which customers can definitely feel in our physical store. But how do we create that with an e-shop? How do we show so many categories of products (I mean, we have everything from chocolate, to fashion, to sofas!) while not necessarily offering that many pieces per category? Our solution was to use our “stories” - whether on our website or through our newsletters. This also really helped us to continue to be first and foremost a storyteller. And we’ve already seen the magic of digital. We’re really happy to be getting new customers that have never had the in-store experience, but discovered us online. It’s a really fantastic new way to help people understand who we are.

Happy 5th anniversary ANOTHER_STORY!