Thai’d up in business

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After a long-time family desire to travel to the other side of the world, senior Mia Bromberg and her family embarked on a trip to Thailand. Strolling through the hundreds of street markets in Bangkok, Bromberg stumbled across two men selling wallets and passport covers. However, for her, this encounter would come to represent much more than just a simple transaction.

“Initially, I was just looking around, but then I realized how original and cute the items were,” Bromberg said. Upon asking one of the men how much one item cost in baht (Thai currency), she realized that she wanted to purchase them to give as gifts and souvenirs to her friends and family at home. They conversed about the wide range of colors, designs and customizations, and the more Bromberg discovered about these items, the more interest she gained in purchasing several, rather than one.

Bromberg soon realized that she could make a profit by selling the items, especially upon customizing them.

“I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit my whole life, so this was just another step in my learning process,” she said. She asked how many wallets the vendors had on hand at the moment, because she was prepared to buy them all in bulk. The men brought out boxes with at least ten of each color wallet and passport cover. Bromberg sorted through the letters and jewels that adorned the items and found three sets of pencils used to engrave names and numbers onto the material. Quickly realizing the business venture lying before her eyes, Bromberg inquired as to how much they would sell it all to her for. The wholesale price began at 100 baht per wallet or passport cover, totaling about $3.02. However, she did not plan on settling; after negotiating, she brought the prices down to 50 baht per item, the equivalent of $1.51. After exchanging WhatsApp contacts in case they needed any further contact, the men packaged about 200 wallets and passport covers for her to purchase. Her final expenditure totaled 10,600 baht, the equivalent of roughly $320.

“They greatly appreciated the deal we made and were happy to see someone as interested in their product as I was,” she said. Rather than just a purchase, Bromberg categorizes this exchange as a learning experience that opens her eyes to the world of international business. Since her return from Thailand, she has sold approximately 100 of the 200 pieces of inventory she purchased and hopes to continue selling as she has made a profit off of each item. She has also sold some to buyers who seek to resell the items.

Although Bromberg cannot expand on the project due to financial and logistical factors limiting the Thai vendors from continuing to conduct business, she described her experience as a success.

“I was able to see what it’s like to make business deals up front and how to pursue them successfully. I was glad to do the deal up front and give them the money they well deserved,” she said. “It allowed me to do as much as I could with what I was given. Although this may be just the beginning of my learning in action, I found it to be a very good start and I’m eager to see what else the future of my business endeavors holds.”

Senior Mia Bromberg sits on the steps in front of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo submitted/Mia Bromberg)

Sloane is the former assistant editor-in-chief of the 2018-2019 Patriot Post news magazine. She is currently a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania.

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