My Jakarta: Andanu Prasetyo, Toodz Cafe Owner

Andanu Prasetyo is doing something that isn’t on the minds of most 21 year olds — running his own coffee shop.
Located on Jalan Cipete Raya in South Jakarta, Toodz cafe is Andanu’s brainchild, a venture he started when he was — believe it or not — just 15.
In this interview, he shares what it’s like working with friends, gives advice to young people who want to launch their own start-ups and explains why rice carbonara is on the menu.

What’s the story behind Toodz?

Before I started selling coffee and food here, it was just a distro , a T-shirt shop. Then I started selling Komodo coffee with a college friend. At that time, all the distros were moving to Tibet, Jakarta, and this street had a lot of cafes and restaurants. The place already had a homey feel, so I just mixed together the two concepts — the cafe and the distro.

So you still go to school?

Yes, I do. At Prasetiya Mulya Business School in Cilandak. I’m a business management major.

Do you know of other students like you who run their own businesses?

Yes. In fact, one friend supplies my cafe with Tempora ice cream. Plus we only sell Komodo coffee, a venture that I and my friends are part of. It all started when the church my friends were going to started helping families in East Nusa Tenggara. They had good coffee around a village called Koko, but they had a hard time selling it so we helped. They needed a plan and help finding a distributor. To me success isn’t just about making money. That’s why the Rp 1,000 we earn from every Rp 10,000 cup of coffee goes to a kid in the village.

Do you think it’s good to have friends working with you in a business?

In the beginning I didn’t think so, but I have this friend and we sat down and talked about everything before he started working for me. So there would be no questions about our duties, and we both knew what was expected of each other.

What type of advice can you give to a young Jakartan looking to start a business?

I’m still learning, but treat your business like a business and not just an ordinary activity. You have to focus. This is about money. When I had the distro, I wasn’t focused on making a profit or anything like that. Once I went to business school, though, I realized I was doing things wrong.

What’s your favorite thing to eat and drink here?

Rice carbonara and hot chocolate.

Rice carbonara? That’s a lot of serious carbs, don’t you think?

Yeah, but Indonesians love rice. The thing about running a cafe is you have to be smart and find foods that serve two purposes. It’s called business-process efficiency.

How do customers react when they find out that Toodz’s owner is only 21 years old?

Everyone likes to point out how young I am. They see me doing everything — making coffee, food and then cleaning tables one minute. Then I ask customers, ‘How is the service?’ And they’re like ‘Wait, you own this place?’

What’s your opinion about Starbucks?

The coffee is too expensive. Overall it’s a good concept; they’re the ones who exposed everyone around the world to the coffee experience. But it’s like Dunkin’ Donuts saying that Starbucks just sells music and sofas. But then again, that’s what I do [laughs].

How often do you go out and spy on the competition?

Every Sunday I go around the city and see what everyone else is doing. There’s this place in Bandung I really like, Kopi Selasar. It has a gallery in the front and a garden and a coffee shop at the back. I like that.

Jalan Cipete Raya is a pretty popular area. So is your place packed on Saturday nights?

Not really. Our business fluctuates. We get a lot of people that come here to relax and be alone after they hang out and have dinner with their friends.

Actually if you didn’t know where this place was, you’d drive right past it.

It’s definitely a word-of-mouth place. We don’t do much advertising. If a bunch of people started showing up here, I think that would take something away from the place.

Do you rent the space here yourself?

It’s my family’s, but I still need to pay the rent.

I can see some Rubik’s Cubes on the shelf. Are you a fan of those puzzles? Do you think you’re good at solving them?

I think so. There’s a set of algorithms you use to figure the whole thing out. And I know which colors need to butt up against the other so I can complete it. To me it’s not about finishing them; it’s how fast you can [smiles].

 

Andanu was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Andanu Prasetyo, Toodz Cafe Owner

 

Picture by Iwan Putuhena

My Jakarta: Jerry, Online Editor of Provoke! Magazine

If you would have told Jerry five years ago that he would end up becoming a professional writer, he would have laughed. An IT graduate with a dream of becoming a filmmaker, Jerry now works as the online editor at Provoke! magazine. In this interview, the 25-year-old shares his thoughts on his love of movies, the things he dislikes most about Jakarta and how venting on his blog helped him get a job in media.

I’ve been to coffee shops and bookstores, but I don’t see your magazine anywhere. Where can I find it?

We distribute magazines to high schools and distros [local clothing stores]. But Provoke is not solely for high-school students but for all young readers. However, our biggest readership comes from high schools in Jakarta and Bandung. We distribute our magazine to 150 schools in Jakarta and 50 in Bandung. This year our goal is to get into the Yogyakarta and Surabaya markets.

How did the magazine start?

Provoke began as an underground music magazine. It came in a form of a small, folded newspaper that was distributed to people in the underground music scene. Until it was bought by Gundo Susiarjo, who tweaked the business strategy for the magazine but kept the same sense of idealism and vibrant spirit.

How did you come up with the name?

The idea was we wanted to provoke creative thoughts.

What kind of stories does Provoke cover?

Every issue that’s relevant to the youth. We still cover underground music, but we also have a rubric that we use which we call being “indo-pendent .” Every month, we interview people who we consider to be artists. We also have special reports, a column reviewing special events and many more features.

How long have you been working at Provoke?

I’ve been working here since June 2009. I came in as a writer, a photographer and a reporter. Then I started writing more feature articles. Now I’m the editor for Provoke-online.com, which means I’m more focused on the Web site.

How many people are working at the magazine?

Provoke! has around 20 to 25 full-time employees. It’s small, but we’re all close. Our time is flexible so there are times when we don’t have to report to the office to work.

What’s your circulation? How do you make profit from a readership that’s mostly high-school students?

Our circulation is around 30,000. The magazine is actually free, so we depend heavily on the money we get from advertising.

Tell us something about your college days.

I took up information systems. I know it has nothing to do with what my present career is. I just took it up because my family wouldn’t let me go to film school. So I picked out anything as long as I could graduate and the school was not far from my home.

Do you enjoy writing?

Yes I do. The funny thing is, I began to like writing only when I joined Provoke During my days in elementary and high school I used to contribute stuff to our school magazine, so I had that experience. In college I had a blog, which I used as part of my portfolio to apply for this job.

What kind of blog?

It’s a blog where I share some sarcastic ideas, because I used to be angry all the time [laughs], mad about everything. But lately, I haven’t had the time to blog anymore.

What do you think about the younger readers today?

I think they’re more informed, not only because of magazines like Provoke but also technology like the Blackberry, Twitter and Facebook. Nowadays with the youth’s knowledge of current events, it’s hard to tell if they are in high school, college or working.

What do you like most about Jakarta?

I’ve been living here since I was born so this is my home and I love it. Since I’m a movie buff, I like the fact that I can find or watch any movie that I want. Morally speaking, it’s wrong to buy pirated DVDs, but I can’t deny that I buy them. If I had to buy an original DVD every month, I would be left with no money. It’s a bad thing, but I need it [laughs]. I hope someday when I make more money I can buy original movies.

What don’t you like about Jakarta?

I don’t like the Metromini, the Kopaja and similar vehicles. Even motorcycles. I think there’s too many of them. It has come to the point where they annoy me.

What are your career plans?

I enjoy what I’m doing now and I love my job. It’s fun to write about people and get to know them and obtain experience, but what I really want to do is become a filmmaker.

What’s your favorite thing about Provoke?

The reason I wanted to join Provoke was because of its comic treatment of issues. It’s not really a humor magazine per se, but the first time I read it I thought it was really funny. Since then, I’ve always wanted to write humorous stories.

What do you think makes Provoke unique?

Artwork for the cover is one thing that makes it unique. We feature a different artist every month who comes up with a piece that basically sums up the theme of one particular issue.

 

Jerry was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Jerry, Online Editor of Provoke! Magazine

 

Picture by Iwan Putuhena