My Jakarta: Angelina, Hairstylist

It takes skill and courage to give a woman a short haircut. Just ask Angelina, the owner and master hairstylist at D’Satine in Dharmawangsa Square, because short hair is her signature cut. Born and raised in South Jakarta, Angelina tells us why she is comfortable living in the suburbs, explains how her previous work experience helped pave the way for her to become a hairstylist and chats about her customers.

How long have you had the salon?

About two years. Before moving here we were at Pasaraya [in Blok M], but because it was undergoing lengthy renovation work, I decided to move.

How does your salon differ from your competitors?

We can fulfill the needs of our customers. By understanding their style, their line of work and so on, we can then suggest a style that will suit their character, their age. Basically we do hair consulting.

What’s your specialty or signature cut?

My clients would say that the short cut is my signature. I can cut any style, but people seem to think that I’m really good at styling and coloring short hair. I guess when I do a short cut I can be brave and take a risk, but the clients always seem happy with the end result. Look around you. You can see that all my friends in here right now have short hair [laughs].

You studied architecture in university and you used to be an architect?

Yeah, I studied at Tarumanegara University in Jakarta and worked as an architect and interior designer for four years. I did the interior design for a well-known advertising office in Jakarta and designed the office for Kompas Cyber Media.

Did you design this salon?

Yeah, I designed some of the furniture in here, and the rest of the interior I created together with friends.

Have you always been passionate about cutting hair?

Actually, no. In high school I was doing makeup and fashion for fun, but not cutting hair.

When my father passed away, my mom wanted to open a salon so that way the house would always be busy with people coming and going and she wouldn’t be sad all the time. Later, she asked me to take over. I asked her to give me a week to think about it, then I decided to go for it and went to hairstyling school.

So, you only discovered this talent recently?

Yeah, in 2002. My teacher said I had an aptitude for it. When I was studying, I knew the techniques but I didn’t have the feel. Then I became an assistant to a hairstyling teacher and grew more comfortable with it.

Do you think your background in architecture helps you to style hair?

As an architect, it’s important to understand three-dimensional forms. When I see a client’s head, I can already see the hairstyle as a three-dimensional image. Also, because I studied colors, that makes it easy when choosing hair colors.

What was the craziest cut you have ever done?

Every person is unique, but one girl asked me for an extremely short, asymmetric hairstyle, heavy on one side and a buzz cut on the other. So the style looked like a man on one side and a woman on the other, yin and yang style [laughs].

Do you have any celebrity clients?

Yeah, but I never think of them as celebrities. We treat them like normal clients. It’s just more comfortable that way.

Which part of Jakarta do you like the most?

It has to be South Jakarta because I’ve been living here all my life and it fits my lifestyle. The people are friendly and all my friends are here. I’m comfortable in this area and I can find everything here. I rarely venture into Central Jakarta.

What do you do in your spare time?

I go bowling, hang out at coffee shops, watch movies or rent DVDs. My hands are still sore after I went bowling recently.

What style would you say is in at the moment?

For women, it’s spiky and flat with no layering.

And what’s out of style?

I would say big hair, “rambut sasak,” like housewives who are stuck in the ’80s. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s just not our style.

What kind of clients do you have?

They are people who know what they want and they expect the “wow” factor. Our clients want to make people’s heads turn. They are people who have the courage to change their style, to reinvent themselves. Most of our clients get asked by others where they got their hair cut.

Who make better hairstylists: men or women?

As a woman, of course I’m going to say women are much better because I think that we pay more attention to detail and are better able to multitask [laughs].

How do you see this salon in five years? Are you going to franchise it?

Definitely not franchise, but I hope I can add a few more outlets — as long as my friends and I still can handle it on our own. That way we can still maintain the quality and fill a niche for a home salon feel.


Angelina was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Angelina, Hairstylist

Pictures by Iwan Putuhena



My Jakarta: Rizki Firdaus, Custom Bike Shop Owner

Pimping out rides is Rizki’s business. He’s been breaking down and building bicycles since he was old enough to reach the pedals and mastered the art of customization while studying in London.
Today, Rizki, whose shop is located in Panglima Polim, South Jakarta, shares his passion for bikes and asks why it costs as much to park one of his custom creations in the city as it does a Mercedes-Benz.

How did you come up with the name of your store, Velodome?

Basically, velo is French for bicycle and dome is shelter, so our store is a bicycle shelter.

How did you get into the bicycle business?

A while back, I broke up with my girlfriend. I felt this kind of freedom, like I’d just been released from jail. So I decided to get back into building bikes.

But I’ve actually been interested in breaking down and rebuilding bikes since I was in elementary school.

When did you start getting back into bikes again?

It was January 2007. I started all this in London, while I was attending college at London Metropolitan University. That’s when I started customizing bikes.

I got back here in December 2009. It was a perfect time because bikes are starting to make a comeback, especially around Jakarta.

Where do you get your bikes?

All of our stuff comes either from a consignment shop here in Jakarta or from people around the city, but the stuff we pick up at secondhand places actually comes from Thailand, Japan and other Southeast Asian countries.

And all of our parts and accessories come from Britain and other European countries, and we like to keep it that way.

What was the sickest custom bike you ever built?

The sickest bike I ever built was an all-black bike that we called the “stealth” bike. It had carbon wheels. I built it when I was in London for a friend in college. He wanted to bring it back to his home country, India.

But two weeks before he was about to go back, somebody stole it. The bike cost around $3,000 to build, but my friend wasn’t bitter about the whole thing. He just looked at me and said, “Hey, the reason it got stolen was because it was a really good bike.”

Do you have friends that you go biking with here in the city?

I go out with a bike community. We hang out every Wednesday and Sunday and ride around Jakarta from the south up to the center of the city. We go around taking pictures and eating around Menteng.

We just ride and have fun. The club is growing. Every week we have more and more members. Today we have around 50 or 60 riders.

Is riding a bike a way of life? What are you guys trying to tell the people of Jakarta?

Well, everyone knows about global warming, so that’s the big thing right now. We want to bring back the bike culture. It was slowly disappearing, but now it’s coming back. We try to raise awareness about the condition of the earth.

How is business then?

So far, business is really good. Most of our customers are from around Jakarta and Bandung.

What segment of the market are you aiming at?

All kinds of people, from people who are really into bikes and looking to purchase their sixth or seventh bike, to someone who works near their office and just wants to avoid traffic.

Or people who just want to lose weight. They all have different reasons to ride and buy a bike. But obviously — if they buy from me — they have style [laughs].

And you guys customize everything?

Everything. Everything from the color to the wheels, to the size and shape of the frame. We deliver a personal touch to your bike, something that fits your character.

Can you explain the process?

It’s kind of like getting a tattoo. You really have to give it some thought. You consult with us and tell us about yourself; what do you like and what you don’t like … kind of like a bonding session.

Then we build mock-up, and if you don’t like it we can redo everything. It’s very detail-oriented, and sometimes it ends up being a long process.

How much does it cost to customize a bike?

It starts at around Rp 8 million [$880] and there’s really no ceiling. There’s bike frames out there that cost $90,000 alone, so it depends on your buying power.

Do you ride a bike to work?

I live near Blok M and I ride a bike every day to the store at Panglima Polim. I try to ride my bike whenever I can.

Do you think there will be more or less people cycling in the next five years?

I’d like to see more people cycling and being comfortable about it. Not refusing to try biking just because it’s hot or because of the pollution. They have to act to make it better.

Where do you park your bike around the city?

Just like a car. I park it and tell the parking attendant to watch over it. I don’t have to lock it up with a chain or anything. Then on my way out, I pay the guy who watched over it Rp 2,000.


Rizki Firdaus was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Oni, Rizki Firdaus, Custom Bike Shop Owner


Picture by Iwan Putuhena