Mobile phones are a device we cannot seem to live without—and such is their importance that some of us are willing to pay 149,000 baht for one. That’s the starting price at Gold Elite Paris, a niche luxury company known for its collection of 24K gold-plated iPhones, Samsungs and accessories. “People look at their phones more than they look at television these days. It has become a daily necessity,” says Sutikiat Kittipatrakul, or Mark, the energetic chairman of the company.
University degrees, while an asset, do not always guarantee a dream job or a successful life and Mark is living proof of that. “I actually wanted to be a pilot when I was very little,” he laughs. As he warmly welcomes us at his store at Central Embassy, Mark speaks enthusiastically about his career path. After spending three years at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, he decided it was time to gain work experience and he hasn’t been a student since. “I have been working in the phone trade business for 12 years now,” he says. In 2004, Mark established Sure Life Telecom, a mobile phone trade company that subsequently enabled him to bring in Gold Elite Paris from France, making him the first to launch it in Asia in 2015.
These phones are sold for extravagant prices but, as he explains, they come with a plus. “When you purchase a Gold Elite phone, you don’t only receive a phone but you also gain access to certain privileges,” he explains. So far, Mark has inked Gold Elite collaborations with Rolls Royce, Bumrungrad Hospital and Siam Paragon, among other topflight companies. “I like to think of myself as a creative person. I enjoy turning a dream into reality,” says Mark. “Who would have thought that a phone can be linked with access to antiageing treatments or that simply because you own a specific phone, you can freely walk into Paragon Lounge while others have to be top spenders to enter?”
Mark is not only an accomplished man work-wise but also on the family front. Turning 34 this year, Mark is already father to four daughters. “I got married about 10 years ago,” he smiles while reminiscing. Running the company takes up much of his time and entails constant travelling. Though he is kept busy, balancing time between work and personal life does not seem to be a problem. “I always try to make sure that 10 days out of each month is dedicated to my family,” he says. “I don’t want to miss seeing my kids grow up.”
Work aside, Mark crams a gym session and at least an hour of running into his busy daily schedule. He is also quite the foodie, and particularly enjoys wine, shabu and sukiyaki. Also, when he isn’t swamped with work, he likes to seek out new restaurants and food. “I really enjoy eating,” he smiles. “I don’t like to just take people’s word for it so I have to go out and try all these new places myself.”
Achieving success boils down to three factors for Mark: rew, raeng and ruay (speed, strength, wealth). As he explains, timing is a crucial factor for any business. And then there’s strength. “Everybody can come up with great ideas,” he says. “But how many people actually do something about it. When you talk about a hundred per cent of your life, how much of your effort and time is really dedicated to this?” Finally, there’s wealth— this, according to him, will follow if you accomplish the first two.