Couple thrives in glove manufacturing despite tough competition

GLOVE manufacturing is a tough business and many players in the industry have fallen from grace over the years but a husband and wife team has managed to not only survive, but thrived to become one of the top five glove manufacturers in the country.  

Supermax Corp Bhd managing director Stanley Thai Kim Sim attributes much of the company's on-going success to the support of his wife and the proper management of the company. 

“I guess we have a different relationship to most couples but this has been good for the company,” Thai told StarBiz

Workers at the Supermax factory packing gloves.

He said many company directors had difficulty getting honest suggestions or appraisals of their performance by their fellow peers but having a wife as a business partner and director has its advantages. 

“It can provide the balance you need to make important decisions on the company's direction,” he said. 

Thai also adding that he relied on his wife Cheryl Tan Bee Geok, an executive director of the company, for opinions and suggestions on company matters. 

“She's in charge of financial matters, while I head the marketing and sales,” said Thai, adding that she would inform him of any problems at the operational level. 

Thai, 42, and Cheryl Tan, 41, are strong believers in a systematic and hands-on approach to doing business with emphasis on quality and reliability. “We never compromise on these,” said Thai. 

The couple has three children aged between 15 and 8 (two daughters and a son) and are both Canadian business graduates.  

The gloves manufactured by his company are named after his son Maxter and daughter Aurelia. 

Thai has a passion for luxury cars and aims to take up a flying course soon.  

He also claims to be a better cook than his wife, saying that he learnt to cook during their university days in Toronto, Canada. 

His love for travelling fits well into his present business.  

“When overseas, it's nice to work during weekdays, and go sight-seeing on weekends,” he said, adding that his generation of entrepreneurs knew how to mix work with leisure, at the right time. Travelling also enables him to meet people from all parts of the world. 

On his success at a fairly early stage in life, he said: “The main ingredient is to have passion in life and work hard at a job that you enjoy. 

“If you enjoy what you do as a career, it is more likely that you will succeed in life,” he said, adding that it was also important to be focussed and committed to one's goals. 

Asked if he would insist on his children taking over the business, he said he would guide them and provide the best education for them, based on what he is able to give them, but they would have to decide on their careers. 

“The world is always changing, what is in demand now may not be fashionable tomorrow,” he said.  

But he would advise his children to learn as many languages as possible.  

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