The fashion industry has evolved gradually while embracing technological advancements and innovations. Today, people use their styles and fashion trends to show their personalities and create a better first impression. In this growing industry, where uniqueness and comfort are becoming a trend, one such prominent personality who is achieving milestones in the industry is Amrin Sachathep, Director of Atlantic Mills Co., Ltd (AMC). AMC is a leading manufacturer of denim and is one of the fastest-growing premium denim mills around the world. Since its inception in 2002, the company has gone from selling 10 fabric styles to one of the largest denim libraries available. Today, with a worldwide distribution and network, AMC has reached over 80 countries.
The Inception Story
In the 1930s, during the British rule in India, Amrin’s grandparents left the country and moved to Thailand to find a better life. Imagine arriving in the country with only a few cents and no friends and sought trading as the family background comes from trading. A few years later, the trading involved sales arms to domestic companies where the fabric was mainly imported from Italy and Japan. Amrin’s family was invested in procurement in Japanese textiles that his uncle had moved during the 1960s when no one spoke a word of English. The family grew fond of denim textiles and soon partnered with other mills in Thailand for research & developments only to realize their limitations and slow response to the fast-paced nature of the industry.
At this point, Atlantic Mills was founded. The company started from primarily second-hand machinery and procured from the last withstanding mill along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. AMC was built from scratch and grew organically slowly replacing the second-hand machinery with first-hand machinery which was both economically and sustainably better for the progression of the company.
A Visionary Leader
“I was fortunate to have access to learning at an International School since my childhood, back in a day when there were very few schools available in Thailand with an English curriculum. This allowed me to gain a global perspective as peers came from all regions of the globe,” shares, Amrin. Later, he completed his further studies in the United States at Duke and graduated with a Biomedical & Electrical Engineering diploma. After his graduation, the United States was in one of its worst recessions of all time and Amrin had no choice but to return to Thailand. He worked on several projects as an intern including banks, IT firms, as well as in the hospitality industry gaining a wider perspective. During these times, his family extended their hand and he started working a few hours a week as an internship, which later became a full-time job. At that time, AMC was still in its infancy stage, and being able to grow a company from scratch inspired the young leader and pushed his limits.
He says, “Before we could know it, Atlantic Mills was expanding its outreach catering to a global customer base, and the company was able to both forward and backward integrate offering a one-spot solution to all of the brands. Entrepreneurship was in my DNA after all.”
A Sustainable Business Approach
AMC has always been focused on providing premium from day one. The company never made sacrifices in the ingredients we put in the product, just as Michelin-star chef would never do in the food he cooks. The company is uniquely highlighted with decade-old experiences of Japanese dyeing, and its indigo is deep and dark. The fabric constructions are dense as the product is made as durable as it is worn by the miners and cowboys in the late 1800s when denim was originally established.
The company continues to push heritage with its shuttle looms, the original way in which fabric was woven, with its signature selvedge products. “Our USP is durability, reliability, and a sustainability-focused product,” asserts Amrin.
For its presence, AMC has taken the organic approach of work-of-mouth. Exhibitions have been very important to the company in the past to meet their customers directly. Although during the outbreak of Covid, the company had to quickly adapt to the changes. Ironically, Covid has helped the company grow quicker and the team has realized that customers need them now more than ever. As customers are not able to travel on-site to various mills around the world, this meant they had to depend on trustworthy suppliers. Secondly, Thailand as a country never also closed its manufacturing during the Covid period so this benefited the industry as an entirety.
AMC’s goal is to grow with its partners, a sustained customer base that values the company as a supply chain and works in partnership with them. Consequently, the team can move forward by coordinating efforts in the right direction towards traceability, transparency, and trust.
The newest generations of consumers are looking at brands that act responsibly for the planet. Referring to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in partnership with the United Nations (UN) is a good guideline as well. AMC’s sustainability goal also includes water-saving and targets to reach carbon neutrality. The company also focuses on people, planet, and profit (PPP), where a percentage of the profit goes to help those in need. The company has also made further investments in blockchain technology. It also focuses on product longevity. Amrin believes that products with added features of biodegradability or even recyclability are further key to success and act as responsible tools to the environment.
“As a business leader, we would like to see our customers thrive, so they come back to us with more. Their success becomes our success, and our combined efforts can then focus on the right objectives of sustainability and responsibility in the products we manufacture in an especially competitive market today,” concludes Amrin.