When friends asked Angie Valerie to help them with a project, she never guessed that it would lead to a business. Though she is still in school, Angie is now a partner in Jakarta-based jeans company Vision Mission. That’s fine by her, because she’s been hustling since elementary school.
Today, the 24-year-old Angie shares with us her passion for her jeans and her love-hate relationship with Jakarta, and clues us in on what might be the next big fashion trend.
What made you decide to start your own jeans company?
It all started with my friends’ school project last year. They created a business plan for a jeans company and since I’m studying visual communication design at UPH [Pelita Harapan University], they asked me to help with branding and design. From there the project became serious and they saw my commitment, so they asked me to become a partner. I’ve enjoyed working on this project since day one, even though I wasn’t paid. I’m the only girl in the team, this brand is my baby.
Where do you manufacture the jeans?
Everything is produced and made in Jakarta, from the raw materials to the buttons, even the packaging. While searching for suppliers, I realized that I could find anything I needed in Jakarta.
How did you come up with the name Vision Mission?
We had a few choices for names, but none of them fit our vision and mission. Then we realized that we kept mentioning the words “vision” and “mission” repeatedly, so we decided to go with that name.
So, what’s unique about the jeans?
At the moment they’re only for men. There’s no hype; we just focus on quality, branding and basic needs, so that the boys in the team would want to wear the jeans themselves. We’re just going back to basics because, at the end of the day, that’s what people are looking for.
What’s the price range?
They’re affordable despite the quality materials that we use. The average price is around Rp 390,000 [$43].
Are you competing with any other jeans companies?
There are several brands in Bandung. Last year alone, around 10 new brands came onto the market. Competition is always out there, although each brand has its own market. However, we support each other because we want people to appreciate local products because they contribute to the country.
Who’s your target market?
Anyone looking for comfortable, quality jeans at an affordable price. I have a few pairs of VM at home. Even though they’re for men, girls still buy them to wear as “boyfriend’s jeans.”
What do you do to relax?
I’m a laid-back person. You can find me at a coffee shop or the movies. There’s this place called That’s Life in Senopati; it’s my favorite coffee spot because it’s on the second floor of the owner’s house, so it’s very homey. It’s a good place to chat and spend time with friends.
Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur or an artist?
I’m more of an entrepreneur, but I never label myself. I love art and music, but ultimately, I want to make something that I can be proud of. Like an artist, I want people to see my work. For people to appreciate your work, you have to be able to market it as well, right?
How many tattoos do you have?
Five. A bracelet tattoo that I drew myself of a Native American feather, one on the back of my neck, a tribute to my grandpa on my back, a triangle behind my ears and one on my elbow that has a very deep meaning.
Any hobbies or businesses outside of Vision Mission?
I enjoy photography, design and cooking. I like to try new things. I used to work as an event organizer and I have contributed articles to magazines. Even back in elementary school I used to print off song lyrics and sell them to friends for Rp 1,000. I like to hustle [laughs].
How do you like living in Jakarta?
It’s a love-hate relationship. I hate the congestion, weather and pollution, we all do. The fact that there are high-rise buildings only served by narrow streets shows a lack of planning, but on the other hand, that’s what makes Jakarta different.
Where can we find VM jeans?
Strictly online at www.visionmissionjkt.com. Starting up with a small budget has forced us to be creative and find an alternative solution to opening a boutique. Selling online is more effective because we can control everything better in real time.
Do you see a future for online shopping in Indonesia?
Yeah, I see a really big future, especially in Jakarta. We make use of media such as Facebook and Twitter to build personal relationships with our customers. The key to online business is trust.
So, what’s in? Are skinny jeans still hip?
They’re out, but it’s all personal preference. We have super slim and slim cut. Dry jeans are in at the moment. These are jeans that you never wash, so it adds lines and character to the jeans. And the prediction is that prewashed jeans will be back in style soon.
Angie was talking to Iwan Putuhena
Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe
My Jakarta: Angie Valerie, Jeans Designer
Picture by Iwan Putuhena