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What is you Koh Phangan story?
My Koh Phangan story, well, the first time I came here was when I was fifteen years old for the Full Moon party. It was my first time on the island and of course when you are that age, it can be the best spot in the world…then you grow up and think differently!
After that I began to travel in Asia for around twenty years, I went to Bali, Myanmar etc but always put a stamp in Thailand. I spent ten years of holidays in Phuket but left when it started to not be Thailand anymore.
I decided to move to Samui and after ten years of this I knew I wanted to establish myself and live here.
From the first day I put my feet down in Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok I knew that I was going to one day finish my old life here.
I met Mumu a year and a half ago in Geneva and I told her it was not the right time to fall in love at that moment as I was going to move to Thailand but she told me “I will follow you”.
So what made you decide that you wanted to open a shop?
We came here with the idea to sell leather boots, when you decide to move to another country it’s an opportunity to change your life so we thought ‘why not open a shop’!
The time has passed and now we are selling helmets, ha-ha!
So, Lilawadee is more than just helmets, what is the concept behind it?
The concept was to not have one, it is a store where you can find many things from all the travels we make.
Talk us through some of the key items in the shop?
The paintings come from a gallery in Bangkok, the clothing comes from Africa, dresses from Bali, accessories from Cambodia and tunics from India..
The helmets are handmade in Bangkok.
Regarding the paintings we just ordered some to decorate the shop initially but after a couple of customers asked if we sold them we finally decided to start selling them.
The helmets are stunning and very unique, was this a conscious decision to stock helmets?
The idea was to sell unique, handmade versions of helmets, some even have gold leaves on them and they are super comfortable.
We want and are happy to promote safety on the island without compromising style.
It seems a nice social space also...
It is nice that people feel well here, at home. I think in the future we will maybe make a kind of gallery cafe.
We wanted to do something different, when we were sure about having a shop on Koh Phangan we knew we wouldn’t be selling full moon party t shirts so we decided to make a different, chic and elegant place. We are glad to hear when customers say it’s different from others on the island.
Krung Thai Bank Street has some lovely shops and you seem to fit in well…
This is the street where I wanted to have the shop as it is the centre of Thong Sala, this street is a creative place because of the tattoo shops.
So what do you enjoy about Phangan when you have free time?
We don’t go out so much, we open the shop from 11am - 2pm and then at 6pm - 10pm so we take time in the morning to have a nice long breakfast and enjoy our time in the morning on the island.
We then have lunch together and take a long, long rest to begin the night time opening and as Mumu is pregnant we don’t go out late anymore but this island is beautiful by daytime too. We enjoy the beaches and time away in Chaloklum most of the time.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I am enjoying every moment, every morning I tell myself that I made the right decision to move from Europe and it won’t be for a short time.
We are going to have a baby on this island and I want my child to grow here and not in a big, busy european city.
We are always looking for something new to put in the shop and the shop will grow by the products. We will still have exclusive products but we have time, we take it easy as world residents and are here not to make money (although it will be nice if we do!) but to enjoy life and to make everything grow.
Marco, you seem like good people to give us your life philosophies…
I’m enjoying every moment, all of which life gives me now.
It is not about being rich in your wallet but being rich in your heart. Enjoying the relationship with people from all around the world and from all the different cultures.