The Cosmetics Cottage Industry in Thailand


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The Cosmetics Cottage Industry in Thailand, Personal Care Asia, Sept, 2012

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The Cosmetics Cottage Industry in Thailand

  1. 1. Murray Hunter – University Malaysia Perlis IN-COSMETICS ASIA Kittirat Yothangrong The cosmetics cottage industry in ThailandThe Thai people have always been aboveaverage per capita users of cosmetics andpersonal care products in the Asian region.1Cosmetic, personal care and toiletrymarket segments are very competitive, witha lot of local innovation, not always seen inother countries of the region. Over the lastfew years, consumers in Thailand has alsoshown a tremendous interest in ‘greenproducts’, as can be seen in the varioushandicraft markets around Bangkok.Thailand is perhaps a unique country dueto the way Buddhism is practiced, whichhas promoted a deep awareness of theenvironment on the part of consumers. Thai farming has also undergone quickevolution from chemical dependentpractices to chemical free practices overthe last decade. Organic and sustainablefarming practices have been introducedto the point where all rice padi production An organic farm in Songkhla the country will soon be organic. Unlikeorganic farming in Western countries, to promote regional revitalisation and The OTOP programme in Thailand haswhere it is considered a premium activity autonomy. Each community identified one developed into an umbrella platform, alongin agriculture, organic farming is developing or more products or industry that was the same lines as the Japanese model,its strong base in Thailand as a method locally specific and distinct. Resources where multiple programmes have been setto lower input costs in agriculture. were then concentrated on the production up to enhance product development, skill, Another change to Thailand which is of these products, establishing them as technology and marketing. Marketing isbeginning to have great impact on daily local brands, and marketing them to the undertaken through multiple marketingconsumer habits is the development of entire country or beyond. The programme channels, including;the ‘One Tambon One Product’ (tambon is based on the following principles: ɀ Regional retail outlets.meaning village sub-district) or OTOP ɀ Local yet global –the development of ɀ Retail outlets in tourist precincts.program for short. Initiated nationwide globally accepted products that reflect ɀ Exhibitions (regional, domestic andby the government in 2001, the original pride in the local culture. international).objective of the programme was to ɀ Self-reliance and creativity. ɀ Road-shows (domestic andenhance social protection through; ɀ Human resource development – international).the development of local handicrafts, rewarding creativity and industry. ɀ Internet marketing.development of collaboration between ɀ Catalogue marketing.public agencies, local government and Villagers found that their local products ɀ Permanent central exhibition centrethe people in developing micro- turned into national brands, which in Bangkok.entrepreneurship, to promote human self- encouraged interest in their local traditions ɀ Through hypermarkets like MAKRO,sufficiency at the village level, to develop and products – leading at times to an Carrefour, Tops and practices and quality products at increase in tourism. Publicised through ɀ Direct marketing.village level, to cluster this development mass media, research and guidance ɀ International OTOP trade regions, to link agriculture and tourism, facilities were established to provideand to link micro-enterprises to the local, technical support to varying industries; OTOP now covers all product areasregional, national and international a sales and distribution mechanism for including handicrafts, cosmetics, herbs,markets.2 OVOP products was organised, and essential oils, foods, beverages, wine, The Thailand OTOP programme is based education and training was offered to produce, textiles and clothing, and manyon the Japanese One Village One Product industrial and regional leaders. A reward other categories. The OTOP program is nowmovement (OVOP). The OVOP movement system was also set up for those who in its third strategy phase of developingstarted 1979 in Oita, Japan, as a means successfully implemented the programme.3 international markets. Marketing September 2012 P E R S O N A L C A R E 1
  2. 2. IN-COSMETICS ASIAA farmer in Petani Thailand making his own products for A group from Kelantan Malaysia learning how to produce enzymespersonal consumption and sale. and personal care products.agreements are being made with cheaper to produce than purchasing mixture, and fermentation will take place ininternational companies and department cosmetic raw materials and enzyme around 3-4 days, without generating muchstores to carry OTOP products in Europe cleaning efficacy quite acceptable, many heat above 35˚C-40˚C,5 Neem leavesand Japan.4 products produced in rural areas of and/or fruits (Azadirachta indica) can be The culmination of factors discussed Thailand are enzyme-based. This is added during fermentation to produce aabove has assisted in creating a growing encouraged by the urban consumers who dual fertiliser/pesticide or a number ofcottage industry of enterprises have a favourable disposition to natural other additives utilised to produce anmanufacturing herbal products, essential products, which is spurring on the growth organic herbicide. Pseudo hormones areoils, cosmetics, personal care products and in production and innovations in new also made using another variation of thehousehold cleaning products. The OTOP products, at the micro-enterprise level. basic enzyme formula to promote floweringprogramme has provided both the Enzymes are primarily produced at farm and the production of fruit.knowledge and marketing channels so level as a catalyst to trigger compost and Usually, the ‘EM’ (a generic name giventhat people in remote villages are able to fertiliser fermentation. Imported bokashi to enzymes locally) is produced in excessdevelop products and sell them. Even the (photosynthetic organisms, lactobacillus) quantities to what is needed for agriculture.Thai Farmers Bank is conducting classes are too expensive to purchase, so local A general formula is used and someon how to manufacture cosmetics and formulae were developed to produce a variances of it are made, so they can betoiletries on a nationwide basis and also useful and practical version of effective utilised in the production of cleaners andselling the raw materials to village people in microorganisms (EM), which has the same other products for home consumption.the most remote towns. Thus, this people catalystic effects. These are used in both Experimentation has lead to tailor madeempowerment strategy is beginning to dry and wet composts (rice bran, oil cake, enzyme production for specific purposes.reverse the concentration of the cosmetic fish meal, etc.), mixed with molasses. Fruits are rich in natural enzymes, whichand personal care industries and creating Water is added to around 60%-70% of the act as a catalyst to ripen and thena ‘new’ local cluster of micro-industries, disintegrate the same, through over-where products are growing in popularity. ripening, where the fruit becomes softer Thais seem to be different from many an inedible. Different fruits will produceother Asian cultures, where they are deeply different enzymes (i.e., citrus fruits –proud of their own nation’s products and ascorbic acid oxidase, pineapple –will buy them, if they are easily available. bromelase, tomatoes – pectinase, andThis is in stark contrast to some other papaya – papain). Vegetables will producecountries in the region, where imported other enzymes, like in fruits catalyse theproducts are considered of higher quality leaves to crispness and later softness andto the local products, a hangover from the disintegration (i.e., sweet potatoes – beta-colonial days. Perhaps Thailand’s unique amylase, leafy vegetables – chlorophyllaseposition as the only country in South East and phenolase). Animal waste will produceAsia never to be occupied by a colonial yet other enzymes (i.e., peroxidase,power has something to do with this. elastase, lactase, etc). These are the basic ingredients in the production of the ‘EM’.Village production of Thus the specific production of enzymes forenzyme based products cosmetic and other product applications atThe development of organic agriculture in village level has been developed withThailand has provided knowledge to village experience and trial and error, rather thanpeople about the value of enzymes. Most scientifically. Different people will havefarmers have the skills to produce their come up with their own fermentationown enzymes from local fruits through Preparing an enzyme based tamarind formula, which suits their particularnatural fermentation. As enzymes are face cleaner purposes. This of course means that the2 P E R S O N A L C A R E September 2012
  3. 3. IN-COSMETICS ASIAPreparing a batch of enzymes in a community class. Fruit prepared for enzyme production.relative activity of different products will enzymes. Papain is also good at breaking tamarind (Tamarindus indica), whichvary greatly depending on the skill and down fibrous substances. The panel below was used as a soap substitute by manyknowledge of the producer. shows a general formula for enzymes indigenous peoples of South East Asia The primary enzymes that are produced produced at village level, although as for centuries.6are proteases in the form of bromelase mentioned previously, most people will Once the basic enzyme is produced,from pineapples (Ananas comosus) and have their own proprietary methods and it is separated and removed from the scumpapain from papaya (Carica papaya). ingredients. Some of these enzymes exhibit and cellulose material left at the bottom ofBromelain is really a collection of similar mild detergency properties, which can the fermentation bins. The enzyme will beprotease, which are good protein digesting be further enhanced with ingredients like used as a base to produce a number of products, including: facial and body scrubs, Formula 1: A general enzyme base for cosmetic products. body lotions, shampoo, cleansers and face tonics, make up removers, acne treatment Banana, grape, pineapple, apple, orange, papaya, mango stein 6 kilograms products, detergents, all purpose cleaners, (in various proportions according to person’s own formula) window cleaners, laundry detergents, liquid Honey 2 litres soaps and health tonics. People in the Water 20 litres villages tend not to use compounded Procedure fragrances, as they are difficult to purchase Place all ingredients together in a sealed tank and mix. Leave for at least one year. in small quantities and expensive. Usually This process can be sped up by placing an existing enzyme in the mixture. plants like lemongrass, lime, pandan, and cinnamon will be used, ground up into Formula 2: Facial scrub. a powder and added into the product. Some basic examples of formulary are Tamarind pulp 1 kilogram illustrated left Enzyme (base) 1 kilogram In face scrubs, the enzymes have the Turmeric 50 grams properties of assisting in the removal of Honey 20 grams dried and dead skin. In mouthwashes, Procedure enzymes help breakdown food substances Mix all ingredients together uniformly. and maybe assist in teeth whitening. Talc can be added and ground leaves to create a pumice effect. In shampoos, enzymes perform the same process as in the face scrub for dandruff Formula 3: Mouthwash. removal. Most villagers do not use any preservatives, believing that the enzyme Enzyme (base) 50 grams has preservative qualities in its own right. Water 1 kilogram The beauty in these products are in their Menthol To taste simplicity and naturalness, which makes Salt Qs them popular with consumers who appreciate them for their basic efficacy, Formula 4: Hair shampoo. ‘greenness’ and the assistance their purchase gives low income, rural groups Chopped Lemongrass 5 kilograms in Thai society. These products under the Enzyme 1 kilogram OTOP program are exempt from registration Honey 1 kilogram under the Food and Drug Administration Water 10 Kilograms of Thailand. The literature points out the dangers Procedure and toxicity of enzymes. Bromelase and Keep for one month and then mix 1 part to 20 parts of ash water until pH 5-6. papain were examined in powder forms September 2012 P E R S O N A L C A R E 3
  4. 4. IN-COSMETICS ASIAPreparing a batch of fruit to produce enzymes. Some enzyme based body cleaners made by and used in a local spa.during the manufacturing process of surfactant bases, exploiting this niche Referencesdetergents, which in the form of dust could quite successfully. The problem however is 1 Hunter M. The challenge of South East Asiaeasily find its way into human respiratory that the cost of production is very high in for the Australian cosmetic,8 Probably in the form of a liquid, Western countries, making these very Cosmetics, Aerosols and Toiletries in Australiahealth risks9 are greatly reduced, and they premium products, in terms of pricing. 1993; 8 (1).are acceptable to the US FDA for use in With some of these products, efficacy 2 number of products, including meat compared to conventional products is and health tonics. Local folklore also an issue. A large barrier to entry also 251104integrated2006.pdf+otop+strategiesespouses the benefits of these enzymes exists to the large players in the industry, &hl=en&gl=my&ct=clnk&cd=9for arthritis, swelling bruising and as a because of the complex logistics in (accessed March 2006)digestive aid.10 gathering and standardising the raw 3 Although, this emerging trend is still materials. It would require a completely Microfinance%20Communications%20andin its infancy and utilising very basic different way of operating a company in %20Empowerment%20Campaigns.pdftechnology, without rigorous scientific sourcing, purchasing, manufacturing and (accessed March 2006)research in Thailand to support and marketing. Thus, at this point of time, it 4 Annon., Japanese firm to Assist in Setting updevelop them further, they do represent will remain one of the many curiosities and OTOP distribution centre in Japan, Thai Newsan almost absolute natural product, fully specialised market ‘niches’ of the cosmetic Agency, MCOT, Bangkok, 16th February 2006,manufactured without any synthetic industry. One thing this trend has achieved commercially available materials in conjunction with the opportunities the 5 Zakaria A. Compost and compositing. In: Aini Z,whatsoever. A great number of difficulties OTOP programme has provided is the Sivapragasm P Vimala MN, Mohamad Roff eds. ,still exist in the production of natural development of micro-enterprises in Organic and vegetable cultivation in Malaysia.products, such as the difficulties of rural Thailand, where many people have Kuala Lumpur: MARDI,2005: 86.obtaining consistent quality of natural raw developed a sense of self esteem and 6 Burkill IH. A dictionary of the economic productsmaterials (standardisation), the limited self reliance. PC of the Malay Peninsula. London: Governmentavailability of these raw materials for of the Straits Settlements, Vol. 2. 1934:production on a mass scale, the limited 2160-2.number of suitable raw materials and 7 Lewis RJ. Hazardous Chemicals Desk Reference,technical problems, like viscosity, stability, 2nd edn. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold,preservation, discoloration, polymerisation, 1991.etc.11 This is indeed another step towards 8 Selinger B. Chemistry in the Marketplace,creating a truly natural product, there is 3rd edn. Sydney: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,definitely a story to tell the consumer,12 1986: 38.if an opportunistic company seizes this 9 Davidson AS, Milwidsky B. Synthetic detergents,marketing line, as has been demonstrated 7th edn. Burnt Hill, Harlow: Longman Scientific &and proven in the Thai scenario. Technical, 1987: 101. Whether one of the local players in 10 Ponglux D, Wongseripipatana S, Phadungcharoenthe cosmetic, personal care and toiletry T, Ruangrungsri N, Likhitwitayawuid K eds.industry, or even one of the multinationals Medicinal Plants. Bangkok: Medicinal Plantstakes up this concept to the same extent Exhibition Committee, International Congress onthat these village producers have, is Natural Products, 1987something we will have to wait to see. 11 Hunter M. The use of natural fragrancesThere are a number of companies from in cosmetics – should it be considered?the US and Europe, that are using enzymes Cosmetics, Aerosols and Toiletries in Australiain the production of personal care Some enzyme based products from various 1996; 10 (3): 43-4.products, but still utilising conventional districts for sale in a shop 12 Ibid., P 45 .4 P E R S O N A L C A R E September 2012