Third generation entrepreneur looking for the ultimate life and business challenge in Thailand…

What’s your story?
Putting everything I had built at risk, I moved to Thailand where I could not read or speak the language, did not know anyone, and had to start life from scratch.  I had 2 bags, my experience, a vision, and a business plan to get into distribution and marketing.  That was 2007, since then I have successfully launched 8 brands and built a marketing and distribution business selling the world’s leading professional hair care brands to the top salons across Thailand, and soon other cities around Asia.  

What excites you most about your industry?
Along the leading edge of the Professional Hair Care Industry, it’s technology driven and very creative.  There are 1000s of new brands each year, so one has to be on top of the technology and trends to be able to pick the diamond to bring to market.  I have always been able to pick the diamond, it’s just one of my natural abilities.  

What’s your connection to Asia?
Originally, I came to Asia for a long holiday after suddenly losing my father.  It was the first time since losing him that I felt like myself again.  The feelings I had here left me with a deep connection to Thailand.  It was in and around this time that I first thought that I could leave the comfort of my hometown and move to Thailand.    

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I love Bangkok, Thais are wonderful people and this is an amazing country.  Everyday is a challenge and I am constantly learning something new which keeps one young in so many ways.  Then there is the food, a never ending barrage of new restaurants, food trucks, street food, and home cooking that leaves one dreaming about the next meal.  

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“The best way to succeed is to fail.”  My dad told me that, and we had endless battles when I was a teen because “I was too good to fail”.  Like many of the things my father taught me growing up, they make more sense with experience.

Who inspires you?
The teaching from my father still resonates with me. Even though he is gone I still feel like he is watching and hopefully cheering me on.  He was such a great man, filled with love, passion for life, and business.   

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That hair can now be repaired at the molecular level with the latest technology from a brand called Olaplex.  So many brands offer and promise to repair hair, but I have never actually seen it work until now.  The brand is selling so fast, it’s like a dream come true for everyone involved.   

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
University.  When I first got to school, I was a total party animal at a big party school and going to class… Well, there was very little time for that.  I was much more interested in getting to know everyone and throwing the biggest parties in the school.  Of course, I can see now the skills that would bring me success later in life, but I should have studied as hard as I partied in those first few years.  

How do you unwind?
Day to day I usually start with a swim in the pool, hit the weights, and then do some reading.  Cooking has also become a very relaxing process for me, and I enjoy making all sorts of meals from scratch.  Travel photography is my real love when I can get out of town, it’s incredibly relaxing to get up before the sun rises, find a great spot, and then watch the world come to life.  

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I don’t want to say, because then it won’t be relaxing anymore.  With that said, DO NOT go to Luang Prabang, Laos.  It’s not relaxing, the food is not so great, and the scenery is really hard on the eyes.  Especially advise against renting a bicycle for the day and riding around the town, you might fall in love with the place.

Everyone in business should read this book:
I prefer to read Sci-Fi when I open a book, but the last book I really enjoyed related to business was Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell.

Shameless plug for your business:
If you are a salon owner in Thailand or Singapore and want to carry the standards in global professional hair care, then contact us for more information. [email protected]

How can people connect with you?
LinkedIn

Twitter handle?
@Dresner (need to use this more often)

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnects

Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Laing
Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is a partner in the Private Equity firm Unity-Group. Co-founder and non-exec director of The Marketing Group PLC and is CEO of Key Person of Influence (Asia). He is author of 'Progressive Partnerships'.

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