For our second edition of Women in Amal Al Mulla we introduce to you our lovely friend Christina Santichatsak, a fashion girl at heart who now wears many hats as your modern day entrepreneur.
Having had roles in namesake retailers such as Net a Porter, Harrods and Thread Styling, Christina decided a few years back to not only start a new chapter in life as an entrepreneur in the hospitality industry but to also embark on this journey in a whole different country. A very bold and courageous move we must add!
We talk to her about her life, career move and her second life in Thailand.
Tell us about a time in your life when you had to dramatically change course. What did you learn about yourself
For my 30th birthday, we went on a family trip to Turkey, a trip that would be life changing for me. It was on this trip that my husband and I decided to relocate to Thailand and run our resort. I never thought I would leave the fashion industry, I never thought I would live in Thailand and I’m not sure if it was needing a new challenge or if it was my Saturn returning but I did it, something that was terrifying to me. In September 2019, we packed up and left our home, our friends and the life we knew for a new chapter on island that was a total of 4km.
How different is working in hospitality as opposed to fashion?
The basis of both industries is service, you are providing a memorable service for the customer; whether it is selling a designer dress, working with a brand on their media strategy or providing the best experience for some honeymooners. But the biggest difference for me is the pace, the pace of life and the pace of the industries. Fashion is fast-paced, the seasons change, trends change, brands come and go but the hospitality industry seems to be generally more sustainable, in terms of working. You are not dictated by trends, having a unique point of view is promoted and you’re providing a wholesome experience that is shared between couples, family and friends.
How did the year 2020 change your perception to life and business?
2020 was a difficult year for us being in the hospitality industry but we were not the only ones, worrying about it would only create negativity around us. We used this time as an opportunity; an opportunity to renovate areas of the resort that would have taken a couple of years, repainted all the rooms and actually reaped the benefits of living on an island when the rest of the world was in lockdown. After 4 months on the island, we moved to the mainland where the rest of my family lived and opened a café, although this was something we hadn’t planned but I appreciated that for the first time in years I could spend time with my family, something you cherish even more when the world goes through a pandemic. I think my perception of life and business is to embrace change and take advantage of every opportunity you are given, you never know where that will lead you!
When do you feel most empowered?
I am constantly feeling empowered. Sometimes I read an article or a quote or I see that someone has achieved something great. And when I feel uninspired the universe seems to send you something at just the right time!
Which environmental issue are you most passionate about?
One of the main reasons for us moving to Thailand was to try and make our resort more environmentally friendly. This was something both my husband and I were passionate about when living in London, always trying to be self-aware and conscious about our living habits. For the past few years, every time we visited our resort I would always spend my evenings picking up litter from the beach; it was a cycle of rubbish every time the tides came in. From seeing it first hand and seeing how it had ruined our beach, reducing plastic waste and cleaning up our Oceans is something I’m very passionate about.
How have your ideas about success and failure evolved?
The meaning of success is different for everyone but mine has always been about loving what I do and knowing that I would be bringing the best of me to the table, this has always been the deciding factor in my career. I once declined a job offering me double the current salary knowing that they wouldn’t get the best from me. A decision I still stand by.
During a year that upended our “normal” lives, what routines/rituals have remained as a form of self-care?
I actually only learnt this a few months ago but you have to care for yourself mentally. Even though we have been through a pandemic, I hadn’t stopped, I worked constantly throughout the past 2 years, on new projects, taking on new clients, buying a house and at a point where I stopped and took a couple of weeks off – I felt like I was being lazy, I was disappointed that I wasn’t feeling inspired and then felt bad that I wasn’t doing anything to change that. After speaking to my parents they reminded me of what I had already achieved and that every day I was doing my best. I had to stop making excuses to relax and look after me, if you need it, you need it.
An accessory that would complement my Amal Al Mulla look
All Amal Al Mulla pieces are made to be timeless so I think the perfect accessory is a classic pump.
Shop the items
The Thalia Knot Dress in Off White