Sindsord, literally a tale as old as time tradition in Thailand where the groom’s family offers gifts to the bride and her family as a sign of respect, promise and generally to show that he’s capable of asking for her hand in marriage.
In the west, a dowry is actually a reverse on the Thai concept. In the days of Jane Austen, the bride’s family is supposed to compensate the groom for their daughter’s lifelong upkeep.
Think back to the last Thai wedding ceremony you attended. It’s more likely than not that stacks of money and gold were presented, and in some cases, sports cars parked in front of the hotel entrance.
The multi-generational tradition has given way to stress for a lot of families, fueled by social pressure and the demands of keeping up. Whilst some may be able to present truckloads of Thai baht on their wedding day-others may be looking for alternatives to presenting their networth to guests.
Enter Sindsordforrent, a Bangkok based sindsord rental platform that offers its services nationwide to grooms that may want to rent assets instead of showing their own. We sit down with founder Thanawut “Nicky” Kiatchoedsaengsuk to discuss the ins and outs of this unique business.
“The idea for Sindsordforrent began when a friend got married and I was asked to rent gold from my family business, Sosengheng. It started with helping out friends, and then I realized that it could become a proper business on its own,” says Thanawut.
The concept is straightforward. Potential customers can head over to Sindsordforrent’s website, submit their enquiry and wait to hear back or simply add the shop via LINE.
The website has all the details you need. Interested in a package? THB10,000 can get you THB100,000 in cash, THB5 worth of gold and THB2 worth of gold ornaments. That certainly looks better already, right?
The most expensive package costs THB150,000, which would give you THB10 million in cash to display, THB10 worth of gold and any vehicle of your choosing, from a Mercedes GLC 43 to an E200 Coupe.
“For some people, they may have THB10 million to give the bride, but they don’t want to take it out from their fixed account or stocks. Sindsord for rent service doesn’t just help to manage your portfolio by giving flexibility for families, but actually mitigate risk from thrives.” says Thanawut.
Simply speaking, Sindsord can only be used for a very short period of time on one specific day. The value that sindsord for rent is providing then, is convenience and flexibility.
Once agreed, the customer can complete the transaction online. On their wedding day, the Sindsordforrent team will be on standby with the valuables, and the beautiful ceremony may begin.
The social stigma
Because sindsordforrent service requires both sides to be transparent with what’s been paid for and borrowed, it shows that in today’s world, the bride and her family are also more accepting, and understanding.
More often than not, the sindsord money given to the bride’s family is returned back to the newlyweds, and this is often agreed on by both families prior to the ceremony. Therefore, it reinforces the fact that the extra money and jewels and whatnot, is merely for show.
“Sindsord is a longstanding Thai tradition that will always remain. The rented amount, whatever they agreed on is kept private.”says Thanawut.
The family business
“I launched this business three years ago, we are one of the first in the industry and now there are many competitors in the market. Yet, we still remain the lead as with our brand and trust we have built over the years.” says Thanawut.
You know what they say, competition acts as the key validator for your business model.
“However, we’re able to still maintain our position in the market, because we were one of the early adopters, with a legitimate family business as a trusted partner.”
Thanawut’s family business, Sosengheng, is one of chinatown’s long standing goldsmiths, which creates an element of trust and credibility for his clients.
“When I approached my parents and said I wanted to launch sindsordforrent as a business, they were supportive and thought it was a good way to further expand the family business,” says Thanawut. “The cash I supply to my clients are my own, and the gold is certifiable from Sosengheng.”
The current landscape and beyond
It’s no surprise that the biggest challenge to this business is trust. When the customer is required to hand over personal details and transact online, there’s bound to be that trust element that needs reinforcing.
“We try to tackle concerns by offering as much validation as possible,” says Thanawut. “The affiliation with the family business helps, and they know we have a physical store in Yaowarat. I also try to publish anonymous online reviews from real customers to ease concerns.
Currently, sindsordforrent is facing another, less controllable challenge; Covid-19. The pandemic has essentially pressed pause on the wedding industry. However, Thanawut is confident that festivities will resume, considering Thailand’s manageable cases and when they do, the fundamental issue that sindsordforrent can solve will remain.
“In my opinion. Thai weddings and sindsord goes hand in hand. We’ve disrupted the tradition by offering a more flexible and affordable alternative, and there will always be a market for this service, especially as mindsets evolve.”
“Although mindsets are changing, it’s still considered a niche business. My goal is to maintain sindsordforrent at its current level and meet customers’ needs and demands.”
He has a point. A lot of businesses are to do with more than just affordability or accessibility. A niche service like sindsordforrent fills a very specific demand. But, sometimes-that’s all you need to build something and get it off the ground.