I’m Suzette, CEO of OffBeat and living in Thailand. Born in 1982, I’m an 80’s Kid who was surrounded by hair, makeup, color and experimentation – all of which perplexed me. Brought up in Denmark, a small beach town near Perth, Australia, I always knew I was a little less conventional than your average child. I was what the Aussies call a Bogan kid, but even that i couldn't label myself because i was always just me. I did donne black jeans and a t-shirt always looking for the next outdoor physical adventure, whether it be riding jet-skis or boats, cycling, water-skiing, or camping – some would say that I was a typical free-spirited Tomboy.
Never feeling settled and having a sense of constraint within society, the coastline became my home. I find that there is nothing more calming than the sound of the ocean hitting the sandy shores, and nothing more refreshing and revitalizing for the skin and hair than salty water. If you walk around my home today in Thailand, you will find deep shades of sky-blue and yellows, colors in which I am drawn to, and are of nature’s influence - I call them my ‘calming-mood’ colors.
Before settling in Thailand, I have found myself traveling all around the world in Asia, the US, Europe and around Australia. I became especially fond of the Portuguese and their friendly and laid-back culture. I lived in London, UK for several years and gained confidence and experience within corporate life. I am from a working class background, where several family members never shied away from hard work, and eventually created several start-up businesses. Back in Australia I became a small partner in another business – so it was only inevitable that one day I would seek to become an entrepreneur.
In 2012, I travelled around Thailand for several months, and knew instinctively that it was the Country I would eventually live and start my business in. Having time to myself, I first became interested in natural health, healthy eating and body treatments – I have a firm belief in a health body, a health mind. This body-conscious interest seems a far cry from that unconventional 80’s tomboy. However, I started to realize that body-conscious is about feeling good from within-outwards, and not the image society ascribes to you. This core awareness of the self and self-being is to me, the birth of individuality and natural organic fashion.
I gradually became interested in local artistry and tribal history, and began to understand the true artistic value in local Thai textiles. I became captivated by the handmade items found in local markets, and started to appreciate the individuality and story behind each product: from the historic tribal patterns to the crafts of an artisan, and to the consumer interactions at the markets. Due to the one-off designs and the production process, the end-user would end up with a one-of-a-kind product that promotes individuality, true artisan value and keeps culture alive. This was a truly culture-led organic process in which I had never associated with fashion before, and surprisingly a process I identified with.