Kris Schoonmaker, Owner of Pig In Wings Guesthouse
One of the major advantages of Thailand over countries in the west is that generally, age is nothing but a number. In fact, the majority of successful business owners that you will meet are mature enough for age to never come up in the circles until after business has been discussed. When it does come up it is more out of curiosity, and is never looked down upon.
With that being said, there are a number of young entrepreneurs in their 20’s and 30’s that have chosen Thailand to invest their futures. We decided to go out, find these young CEO’s and Managing Directors and bring you their tips. Just because you are a certain age, does not mean that you cannot be successful in Thailand.
Our ultimate advice to you is that if you are even thinking that Thailand may be the place for you to start a life, drop what you are doing, quit your job, ensure you have enough savings, and Go! Don’t just take the Post’s word for it.
The Neverland Post interviewed Kris Schoonmaker, the owner of Pig In Wings Restaurant and Guesthouse in Pattaya:
NLP: Out of all the places in the world to settle, why Pattaya?
KS: I just kept getting opportunities offered to me, and kept taking them. Seize the day, don’t look back, YOLO, or whatever they say these days.
NLP: How old were you when you made your first trip to Thailand?
KS: I was 21 years old.
NLP: How many years have you lived here now?
KS: I am coming up on 13 years in March.
NLP: Do you have a business or are you employed?
KS: I founded Pattaya Channel seven years ago and I operate the Pig In Wings Guesthouse with my wife.
NLP: What makes customers choose you over your competition?
KS: I will speak on the guesthouse, as it is my day to day operations and income at the moment. At the Pig In Wings we offer excellent value for your money. Our rooms are really spacious, and we have a family atmosphere. So a certain group of people like to stay here, younger travellers mostly, people that are not fully invested in the nightlife scene.
NLP: How has Thailand changed since your first trip?
KS: Thailand as a whole has changed so much but in different ways in different locations. Bangkok for instance, has such a vibrant young nightlife scene now. All of the upper class kids who are out spending their parent’s money at high end establishments. It is almost as if there is no longer a youthful working class to be seen for the most part, maybe flight attendants?
The south is like a machine turning tourists over, but when I first arrived, it still had that awesome secret journey vibe and appeal going on. Now it’s Koh Lipe and Koh Lanta for the party and most people never venture farther south because, erm….Assholes.
Pattaya has such a strong hustle, it was a funnier place before, but I respect the changes actually. It is still way cheaper than other places and it has everything that you could want. Would only be nicer if the Pattaya Beach water was a little cleaner, it’s so dirty. All in all, the fact remains in Thailand, you have to have some balls and learn how to hustle yourself, or the city will eat you alive.
NLP: What would you say to the people believing the media hype that Thailand is a dangerous destination at the moment?
KS: I would look at them and say, “You believe the media?”
NLP: What three pieces of advice would you give to young entrepreneurs that have their sights set on Thailand?
KS: Come here to visit and live here for a while before just moving here and setting up shop. Come for 5 years first. Second, during that five years, make contacts, Thai contacts. Lastly, learn to speak Thai and school yourself on the Thai culture.
NLP: How hard is it to find a job that will pay enough to stay in Thailand?
KS: You don’t need a lot of money to live in Thailand. It depends on how you exist. So finding a job to support a life here wouldn’t be too hard. Getting a work permit, Visa and not feeling like you are being taken advantage of by your employer when you accept a low salary are the most difficult parts.
NLP: What would you say has been your most satisfying moment since arriving in Thailand?
KS: Meeting my wife, starting a family and having a REAL life.
NLP: What are your hobbies?
KS: I play music whenever I’m alone. I watch every decent film that comes out and have a group of television shows that I follow. I have a big family here who I spend a ton of time with. We cook and eat a lot. I have a good old group of friends that I like to chill out and get wrecked with every once in awhile. I like to read quick stuff when I’m doing all of this, articles, editorials and short stories. When I travel though, I like to read long stuff, mostly non fiction, psychology, but more recently novels.
NLP: Who has been your greatest inspiration? Why?
KS: Kurt Cobain. I listened to music since I was born because my parents love music. My dad was a musician and my mom knows every song and all the lyrics. She has a song for every situation. Nirvana was the first music that I heard that spoke to me personally, and I started playing as soon as I heard it.
NLP: How important is learning Thai?
KS: Answer these questions and decide for yourself. What sort of life do you want out of Thailand? Do you want to be friends with only foreign people and miss out on interacting with a population who sees life as a time for enjoyment with your friends and family? Do you want to be generally disrespected by the local population? If so, don’t bother learning Thai, but don’t then sit and complain about the current immigration happening in your home country and the people who practice their own religions, eat their own food, and observe their own customs because that is as hypocritical as it gets.
NLP: What motivates you?
KS: Taking care of my family.
NLP: Do you read books? What Genre?
KS: Mostly Non-Fiction, but recently I took a really long trip and had time to start reading some fiction stuff. Actually, I read “The Girl on The Train” and in the beginning was like “Oh shit, I’m just like this girl, I need to stop drinking.” In hindsight however, she was WAY worse and that was not a cry for help.
NLP: Do you support any charities?
KS: Pattaya Channel 7 does.
NLP: Do you still participate in the party?
KS: Not “the party”, just hanging out with my circle of friends at the house.
NLP: What is your biggest “Pet Peeve”?
KS: The word “Irk”, it truly irks me.
NLP: What is the most memorable place or establishment in Thailand for you so far? Why?
KS: I have so many memories on Walking Street. I have had the craziest times there, I met my wife there, I worked there, I have seen so many good and bad things. It really is a crazy place, and I like that. Ultimately I want to remember the southern island atmosphere the most, I love the beauty of it.
NLP: If you had to start over, would you do it any differently?
KS: No way, I have the most beautiful wife and amazing daughter and I would never dare imagine a world without them.
What You Can Achieve as a Young Entrepreneur In Thailand
There you have it everyone, do your research, make the right connections and get out of the mindset that your home country is better and anyone can make it here in Pattaya. For readers interested in Pattaya, we strongly suggest you check the Pig In Wings Guesthouse for availability. Contact Kris and staff via the Pig In Wings Facebook HERE!
The Pig In Wings Guesthouse is located on Soi Rungland Village in Pattaya and is always open! They specialize in pork dishes and American style chicken wings but also have a wide assortment of other dishes available on their menu.
The guestrooms at Pig In Wings are all newly renovated for your comfort and are offered at a low price of 660 baht per night. Better to book in advance however, as in high season, the Pig is in full flight.