Lio Collection Comes to Kemang

Bali-based furniture maker brings classic and contemporary designs to the capital | Featuring Indonesian-made wood, rattan and bamboo furniture that has won the company international praise and recognition, the Bali-based Lio Collection will soon open its first Jakarta store in Kemang

Lio Collection is especially popular among furniture enthusiasts in Scandinavia, where it is recognized as the rattan and bamboo king. Known for producing top-quality furniture that is durable, waterproof and environmentally friendly, the company is looking to expand its domain within Indonesia and to earn the same credit in the Asian furniture market.

“Everything is made in Indonesia. Our quality is very high; we are not in the cheap business,” said Lio Collection President Director Michel Liokouras. “One of the keys to our success is to maintain quality control in our factories, and we are really serious about that part.”

Designed and produced in Lio’s factory in Java, the furniture collection is complemented by classic and contemporary designs for both indoor and outdoor furniture, top quality handicrafts and house wares, including intricate glass art, carpets and stone carvings, along with a wide selection of original paintings created by local and expatriate residents of Bali.

Lio’s father, Greek entrepreneur Christos Vassilios Liokouras, moved the company headquarters to Bali around five years ago after more than 35 years in the furniture business in Denmark, where he founded Lio Collection. “It was the best move for my father to move the company to Bali. The opportunities here are endless,” said Michel.

Lio Collection has 13 showrooms in various Bali locations, including Kerobokan, Seminyak, Oberoi, Jimbaran, Tuban, ubud and Ngurah Rai. The company has family-owned and franchised enterprises in Greece, Denmark, Australia, Germany, Egypt, Cyprus, Mauritius and the US.

There are more than 6,000 products in the Lio Collection catalog, according to Michel. “It’s thicker than a Bible,” he said. “Each year we export thousands of containers from Indonesia to hotels, restaurants, businesses and to our shops abroad.”

Lio Collection offers a complete customized service to clients looking to create a concept and character for their businesses— realizing design ideas for furniture, as well as interior design concepts for corporate identity. Some of their well-known clients include The Hyatt, Marriott and many other boutique hotels.

“We partner up with hotels, restaurant, businesses, or private residence, and work together with their designers to build one-of-a-kind products for their venues,” Michel said. “We can approach all kinds of people, for any model and design.”

Welcome to Kemang
Lio Collection expects to make its first appearance in Jakarta before the end of the year. “The opportunity is here. We have the network to develop the market,” said Bams Samsons, co-owner of the new Lio Collection store in Kemang (and a musician with the band Samsons). “I love the designs, and this is the first time for me to be in the furniture business. I’m very excited.”

Bams and his partner Lola began considering investing in the furniture business after Lola stumbled upon a Lio Collection showroom while shopping for furniture in Bali.

“I recently built a house in Bali, and one day I was furniture shopping in the Kerobokan area when I spotted a very unique table. The next thing I knew, all the furniture in my new home was from Lio,” said Lola. “I love all Lio models and styles. Everyone who comes to my house always compliments my furniture.”

At Lio you can mix and match furniture pieces or order anything custom-made to fit your specifications. “We can provide everything from the dining table to the spoon,” said Bams.

The new Lio Collection showroom on Jl Kemang Timur is currently under construction and has already begun shipping many containers of furniture to Jakarta.

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Lio Collection Comes to Kemang

Pictures by Dissy for Kemang Buzz

Lio Gallery, Bar & Resto
Jl. Kemang Timur No. 50, Tel: 021 7179 4409
info@liojakarta.com, http://www.liocollection.com

Advertisements

So Fresh, So Clean: AutoBridal Prioritas 9

With an estimated 12 million vehicles, a car wash service in this capital city is a business always in demand. To meet the needs of busy customers who never have time to bring in their car, or just simply don’t want to waste an hour in a waiting room, some car wash services are reinventing themselves.

At AutoBridal Prioritas 9 in Kemang, a car wash is more than just a car wash. With a service concept based on the simple idea that it’s not just your car that needs pampering. So while your car is given a New and Wet Look, you, too, can spoil yourself.

At AutoBridal you no longer have to wait in boredom, or sit in an uncomfortable chair, reading last year’s magazines. There are air-conditioned lounges with comfortable couches, TV, Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, massage services and a children’s playground. The Strudels Factory House & Cake café serves a selection of Indonesian food, Italian pastas, coffee and other beverages.

“We’re in the service industry business, so besides focusing on car care, we provide a place that is comfortable,” says Bismel, shop manager at AutoBridal Kemang. “We want you to leave here feeling rested with a clean car and a full stomach.”

AutoBridal started as franchise in 2009, with its first shop in Bandung. Since then, it has expanded to more than 90 outlets nationwide, and one in Malaysia. The Kemang outlet was opened in September 2010.

In addition to the extra facilities and the conveniences AutoBridal offers, washing your car here offers satisfying results for the best price. The price range for Ice Cream car wash with hydraulic system starts at Rp 40,000, with extra charges for additional services such as Exotic Exterior, Interior, Paint Protection, Anti-Rust, or Total Salon Service.

When it comes to car care products, selecting the right soap is critical for preventing damage on the body paint. AutoBridal uses a PH balance 7 to clean your car, just the appropriate level to protect the paint and maintain the right shine on your car. “If you or your driver at home washes with regular soap, it will be dull and can damage the paint within three months,” says Bismel.

AutoBridal offers memberships that features benefits, including discounted prices for year-round car wash services, free vouchers and other promotions. Membership price at AutoBridal range from Rp 1.5 million, and certain plans can be used at any AutoBridal outlets. Currently there are more than 400 members at AutoBridal Prioritas 9 in Kemang, and new customers are joining every day.

In such a busy place, the average waiting time for a car wash is approximately one hour. With eight hydraulics systems, AutoBridal manages to wash and rotate cars faster than any other car wash in the area.

The shop is open until midnight on weekdays and until 1 am on weekends. “We are really busy on weekends, in the morning and afternoon usually there are a lot of families. At night young people come in to wash their cars before they go out and party,” says Bismel.

It is not unusual to spot exotic cars at the shop; in fact, those cars regularly need care more than the average cars. In addition to servicing cars, AutoBridal Prioritas 9 also washes Harley Davidson motorcycles. And as more celebrity customers join as members, the shop often looks more like a car show than a car wash, according to Bismel. “I have seen Ferrari California, Maserati, Mercedes Benz, BMW and countless of Hummer cars,” he says.

With AutoBridal Prioritas 9 in Kemang, there is no excuse to be driving a dirty car. So step out of the ordinary, spoil yourself and treat your car to a five-star wash.

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

So Fresh, So Clean: AutoBridal Prioritas 9

Pictures by Dissy for Kemang Buzz

AutoBridal Prioritas 9

Jl. Kemang Raya No. 41
Tel: 021 7181560
www.autobridal.com

Opening Hours
Weekdays 09.00 am – 12.00am
Weekend 09.00 am – 10.00 am

Focus Point: Oktagon

Photography is an expensive hobby and profession, so when you’re purchasing a camera or other necessary supplies, you want a store that provides quality products, knowledgeable guidance and reliable service. Oktagon in Kemang offers all of the above for amateur and professional photographers alike.

Oktagon first opened for business in 2002 at Gunung Sahari in Central Jakarta. Owner Wiryadi Lorens says he wanted to contribute to the development of photography in Indonesia. A young and creative entrepreneur, he saw an opportunity to offer camera retail sales, service repairs, rentals, gallery and photography school, all under one roof. In 2007, to meet the rapid development of the photography industry, Oktagon opened its second store in Kemang.

Oktagon client Andreas bought his Canon 50D at the store in Kemang three years ago, and has been a regular ever since. “I’m comfortable with the professionalism of the staff. They always have good advice when I purchase lenses or other products, and more importantly I can return for repairs if there are ever any problems,” he says.

Oktagon sets reasonable prices, which other stores often use as a reference. “They call frequently; I already recognize their voices,” says Zakaria, a camera expert at Oktagon who learned the trade from Oktagon’s training program when he began working at the store three years ago. As a new employee he was required to attend classes at Neumatt, Oktagon’s photography school. “Eventually I bought my own Canon 450D,” he says.

Photography is an expensive hobby and profession; the price range for an SLR (single-lens reflex) camera runs anywhere from Rp 5 to 80 million rupiah, and as much as Rp 300 million rupiah for a commercial or billboard camera, not including accessories, lights and lenses. Oktagon offers a credit installment option for serious buyers or professionals.

For beginners, Zakaria recommends Oktagon’s newest product and current best seller, the Canon 1100D, priced at about Rp 5 million for a complete kit. For most customers, looking for the best price is a priority. But at the end of the day, according to Zakaria, it is worth paying the extra money for the product service guarantee just to be on the safe side.

Choosing between Canon and Nikon is every beginner’s biggest decision, he adds, noting that both brands are great cameras. Whichever one you choose, it’s best to stick with lenses and other accessories that are compatible. Oktagon’s advice: pick a brand used by most of your friends or photography community; this way you can trade and borrow lenses from each other.

With the growing interest in photography, the market for professional cameras is no longer just for those who work as photographers, but for anyone with an interest. Many photography-related activities are held almost every weekend in Jakarta. Websites such as http://www.fotografer.net and http://www.ayofoto.com bring together amateur and professional photographers for exhibits, workshops and other events. Oktagon, too, often sponsors events and gatherings and provides free rentals for lighting and other accessories.

An industry that used to be dominated by men now attracts more and more women, Zakaria notes. When he first started working at Oktagon, only two out of 10 customers were women; today the number of female clients has doubled. “Just the other day, a housewife bought a Canon 5D to take pictures of her children and for travelling. It’s an expensive camera for a beginner and for that purpose alone. But that’s what she wanted, and she was excited to start.”

Iwan Putuhena Reports

Original article was published in Kemang Buzz

Focus Point: Oktagon

Pictures by Dissy for Kemang Buzz

Oktagon
Kemang Icon
Jl. Kemang Raya No. 1,
Tel: 021 719 2757
oktagon.co.id

Store Hours
Monday – Friday: 09:00 am – 20:30 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 10:30 am – 17:30 pm
CLOSED ON NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

My Kemang: Tongkol, Bartender at 86

Long before drinking outdoors became trendy, the bar Lapan Anem (“86”) was already serving cold beer in the rain. Tongkol is a veteran bartender there. You wouldn’t guess that he’s pushing 40, but he puts his youthfulness down to his balance of work and pleasure. Tongkol sat at the bar with us and shared his stories, favorite drinks and his views on living and working in Kemang.

How long have you been a bartender at Lapan Anem?
I’ve been working here since they opened in 2003. At first, I was a bar back, just helping out the bartenders.

Where do you learn how to bartend?
I taught myself by watching the bartenders over the years. Learning, while drinking, because after all, I have to know the taste, right? (Laughs)

What’s your favorite drink?
I enjoy drinking beer, especially Bintang. For mixed drinks, I just like the simple and classic like Jack and Coke.

Do you have your own specialty drink?
Yeah, I call it Absolut “Tinggal” (Leaving). It’s a combination of Absolut vodka, triple sec, Midori, Cointreau, gin, tequila; pretty much everything! As you can imagine, it’s very strong, so after the drink you’re leaving consciousness. (Laughs)

Where are you from originally and where do you live?
I was born and raised in South Jakarta. Now I live in Wijaya. I’ve been living there forever, and rarely pass the south border.

What else do you do for fun, besides bartending?
I raise Bangkok chicken, and I go fishing.

Do you eat the chickens?
No, it’s for cock fighting.

What do you like about Kemang ?
There are many places to hang out, especially for nightlife. It’s been happening since I remember. Even before I worked at the bar, I would already spend most of my time in this area.

What are the changes that you’ve seen?
There are more bars and restaurants opening. The garden and outdoor concept is the new trend, it’s everywhere now. Places like Beer Garden, Bremer, Rooftop and many more, but we were the first outdoor bar, even before the new part, Splash, was renovated.

This place is like a second home to you. Why are you comfortable here?
We are all friends and my boss is very laid back, so I don’t have to go anywhere else. All of us have been working here for a long time.

Is it hard to handle drunken people?
Well, it’s always fun to take care of our customers. They do stupid things all the time. But it’s difficult to handle fights. I mean, it always happens when alcohol is involved, but we try to keep the peace.

Do you want your own bar someday?
It never crossed my mind. I just want to have a small warung by my house selling snacks and soda. That’s enough for me.

What do you think about the high-rise and construction around the area?
It’s very high; I can see it from here. (Laughs.) But I guess it’s good for the expats and tourists who’ll be staying there; after all, Kemang is their area.

What do you think about Kemang’s problems?
Well, traffic is always a problem everywhere, especially here. I would like to see them expanding the streets, if it’s possible. The roads around here are very small, while entertainment places grow.

How busy is Splash?
It’s consistent, always packed. It’s a good place to listen to music. We have a stage that we share with other outlets in here. On weekdays, you find the locals such as young professionals and students. Then over the weekend, it’s a mixed crowd, but there are many kids from international schools.

Do you guys check ID cards?
We do, but sometimes they come with their parents and they buy the kids drinks. I guess it’s a different culture than us.

What’s the drinking age in Indonesia?
I think it’s 18 (pause) or 21. Who knows? (Laughs) In here it doesn’t matter really.

How do you compete with other bars?
Well, we compete in a good way. There’s always a brotherhood among people that work at the bars, we know each other. Sometimes when the other bar is running out of liquor or beer, they come here to borrow our stock. If we have it, we will give it to them, and help them out if they are busy. And they will do the same for us.

Tongkol was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in Kemang Buzz

My Kemang: Tongkol, Bartender at 86

Picture 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

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: Angie Valerie, Jeans Designer

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

My Jakarta: Irna, DVD Rental Manager

In Jakarta, you can get almost anything delivered to your house, but can you think of another place besides Subtitles, in the basement of Dharmawangsa Square City Walk, that can deliver a copy of “12 Angry Men” to your doorstep?

Today, Irna, the managing director of one of the coolest DVD rental shops in the city, talks about her favorite films, how Subtitles got started and which movies Jakarta film buffs crave.

How often do you watch movies?

I try to watch at least three or four a week.

What’s the best movie you’ve seen recently?

Something from the Oscars, like “Up in the Air” or “The Blind Side.” I watched them more for reference than anything.

How long have you been working here?

I’ve been working here since 2006. My partner, Rico, started this with only 30 DVDs. It used to be just a club; it was like a hobby. Then we got more movies and incorporated more genres, so we thought why don’t we make this hobby into a real business? That was in 2004.

How many titles do you have here? Are there any movies you want but can’t find?

We stock around 4,000 movies; they’re all originals. We hunt them down from all over. We buy them from suppliers, Amazon.com, Kaskus.us. Rico worked in Singapore, where he could find other titles, and now he works in London, so we get movies from there too.

How many new movies do you get a week?

Around 20 or 30 a week. We update the system here [there are six computers for browsing] and the Web site so our members know about the new titles we get in. They are always asking us, “What new titles do you have this week?”

And you deliver?

The premium and platinum members can have their movies delivered to them.

What are some of the most requested titles?

Independent movies. Right now it’s “500 Days of Summer” and a French anime movie called “Fear[s] of the Dark.”

What kind of people rent movies here?

We have two target markets: the rentals rely on adults and the [four] viewing theaters here rely on college students. We also have the “movie freaks” who are always searching for films from certain directors or certain countries and looking for the special features you can’t find on pirated DVDs.

Can you sneak your own popcorn into the viewing theaters?

We provide snacks and drinks.

Provide?

We sell snacks [smiles]. It’s just like a regular movie theater.

The movies shown in cinemas here are cut for censorship reasons. Is the same thing true for the movies you rent here?

Our movies come from either Region 1 [United States, Canada] or 2 [Europe, Middle East, Japan]. If you bought an original here in Indonesia, it would be cut so much that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the movie — but that’s not our aim. Our purpose is not simply to rent out uncut movies. We’re trying to expand the knowledge of people who enjoy films. Most people only watch Hollywood movies, but we want to open their eyes to movies from different countries.

Do you rent out Indonesian movies?

No, not yet. There is a problem with distribution and the quality of the stories in the films themselves. But we do sell them. We have the Jive Collection from Blitzmegaplex for sale.

Indonesia seems obsessed with horror films. Are you?

Sorry, but I’m not a fan. The stories just aren’t really that well thought out.

What local movies do you like? Who are your favorite actors?

Mengejar Mas-Mas (“Chasing Dudes”) and Laskar Pelangi (“Rainbow Troops”). I really like Nicholas Saputra and I like Joko Anwar’s films.

What about international filmmakers?

I like [Martin] Scorsese and I was amazed at Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, “Gone Baby Gone.” I also like the work of Wong Kar-wai.

What’s your favorite place to catch a film here in Jakarta?

I like to watch movies at Premier 21 in Plaza Senayan.

Have you ever caught anyone making out in the rooms?

Well, we provide private rooms, so that’s private [laughs].

Irna was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Irna, DVD Rental Manager

Picture by Iwan Putuhena

My Jakarta: Matt Nye, IT Consultant

Matt Nye is fresh off the boat. The 32-year-old American has been in Jakarta for a month, having moved here to start an IT consulting business. Born in California, Nye has lived in 10 different US states, but this is the first time he has worked overseas.
Nye tells us how he is adjusting to life here and how Indonesia allows him to combine business with pleasure.

Why Indonesia? 

At first it was the beaches. I came here for a visit two years ago and I went to Bali, Lombok and the Gilis. I fell in love with Indonesia and immediately tried to find a way to come back.

So for the past two years you’ve been dreaming about the beaches while sitting in your work cubicle? 

I’ve told my friends that when I die, I want my ashes to be spread on Gili Trawangan.

What was your previous job in the States? 

I was the director of professional services for the business intelligence practice at a consulting firm based out of the New York City metropolitan area.

That’s sounds complicated but also like a good job. Why did you quit your job during a recession? 

Yeah, well, I felt like I had gotten all that I could in that position and that if I was going to progress I would need to look at other opportunities. The recession factor actually encouraged the decision since competition tends to be the lowest during and especially after a recession. Additionally, an increased demand for technology-driven data services, combined with the investment opportunity in Indonesia and the fact that Asia is going to be the dominant global market in the next decade or so, if not quicker, led me to believe this was a great time to start this venture. 

Have you had experience working with Indonesians?

I haven’t, but I have local partners that I’m working with who are getting me acclimatized. Something I’ve noticed in my job and my personal life is that people across the world have a very segmented view of themselves and their country.  The same struggles you find in the US or Europe market, I’ve heard framed as Indonesian-specific traits; lack of motivation, difficulty in corporate politics, etc. There is the thought that because two people speak a different language their worlds are so far apart that their cultures are vastly different. But our world has become so small over the past 30 years with the Internet and other technologies that I feel cultures have been moderately joined in a way.

What do you do for fun? 

Benhil is fun. They have great street food and at the corner, near Sudirman, is that two-story shopping area that has everything you could want. Few people speak English, so it challenges me to use what little Bahasa I do know. Also, it’s way cheaper and the vegetables tend to be fresher and more diverse than the mall grocery stores.

Have you had a bout of food poisoning yet? 

No food poisoning yet, even though I have braved the food vendors, but so far, so good. I think the amount of chili sauce I ingest kills off all the bacteria.

Have you had experience working abroad before? 

No, although when I was young, I traveled a lot. Once I started my career I didn’t leave the States for 11 years. I had an opportunity to start traveling quite a bit in 2007 and have been exploring many different countries. I jumped at the opportunity to live and work here as soon as it presented itself.

Could you explain your job again, because I don’t get it? 

It’s essentially helping companies understand and manage the information within their organization, utilizing a strong technology infrastructure. With the advent of the technological age, you have access to far more information than before. I think the story goes that there is more information in a single issue of The New York Times than a person during the Renaissance would get in their entire lifetime. The companies that learn to control, understand and empower their employees with that information will be the ones to thrive in the post-recession global economy. Our company has several decades of experience in this and is hoping to share that with Indonesian and Southeast Asian companies.

So what’s your plan for the next six months? 

Professionally, I want to build a name in the market. But more importantly, I want to get my diving certification. I’m planning a trip to Karimunjawa in April and want to do some diving.

If you had to survive on $10 a day, how would you spend it? 

On printing a resume and an ojek [motorcycle taxi] to take me to apply for a job so I wouldn’t have to live off $10 a day.

How is your Indonesian? What words have you learned? 

“Tolong saya tolol ” [“Help, I’m stupid”].  I think this phrase can be used in almost every situation. The other essential one is “ satu lagi ” [“one more”].  I’ve started counting in Bahasa when I work out. I’m switching to counting in thousands, which gets some interesting reactions from people in the gym. Either they think I’m amazingly fit or I’m delusional.

Nye was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Matt Nye, IT Consultant

Picture by Iwan Putuhena

For more information visit www.westwind-consulting.com

My Jakarta: Moammar Emka, ‘Jakarta Undercover’ Author

Sex sells. Just ask the author Moammar Emka, whose wildly successful “Jakarta Undercover” trilogy exposed the darker corners of the capital. Here, Emka talks about some of his wilder adventures, the lessons he learned from his foray into moviemaking and his latest book.

JK Rowling was rejected 12 times before someone agreed to publish ‘Harry Potter.’ How many publishers rejected ‘Jakarta Undercover’? 

Seven or eight I think, because at that time anything related to the sex industry was taboo. Every publisher that I presented the draft to wanted to revise 40 to 60 percent of it, until finally Galang Press in Yogyakarta, a small publisher at that time, was willing to take the risk. My first book deal, the original “Jakarta Undercover,” had a print run of 2,000. For me, having someone publish and distribute my book was satisfying enough, it didn’t matter how many copies were printed. But who would have guessed it would become a hit.

Now it’s a trilogy. What are the differences between books one, two and three? 

Each book is about different places and covers different people and walks of life. The stories told in “Jakarta Undercover I” are about high-society people and their exclusive parties, while in book two its more about sex entertainment and the working girls, and three is a combination of both. The “menu” in this industry is always changing; yesterday it was “ sashimi girls,” today it’s “ sashimi boys.”

But you can’t be ‘undercover’ anymore, people must know who you are. Don’t the people running or involved in this industry feel threatened by you? 

Yeah, at first. After being on TV and doing interviews, half of high society didn’t want me there anymore, however the other half invited me in. Some places liked the publicity and wanted me to promote their new place or group.

What’s the craziest thing you ever saw while researching the ‘Jakarta Undercover’ series? 

Let’s see, invite-only parties where everyone was having sex. There are also places in the city where you can get mandi kucing, where the girl licks you all over using red wine, milk, ice water, hot water or jelly. In Kota, there is a hotel with theme rooms and girls dress up as mermaids, doctors or schoolgirls, according to your preference. And there is a place in Glodok where you can have sex with a duck.

What’s your new book, ‘Cinta Itu Kamu,’ about? 

It’s not a novel; it’s a compilation of short stories, poems, quotes and thoughts in both Indonesian and English. There’s a CD that comes with it where I read passages aloud with soothing music playing in the background. There’s also a track where I sing. The book covers everything from a broken heart to falling in love, from nice words to whisper to your girlfriend as she’s falling asleep to pick-up lines.

It sounds very different from your previous projects. Why the switch? 

As an author, I can write about anything that I’m passionate about. This project is new for me, I like the challenge; I’m writing in a different style and singing. I think people have already read enough about sex and they might not want to hear more about it for now. Maybe in a couple of years from now, but definitely not now.

Everyone says Indonesia is such a tolerant nation. Would you agree with that? 

I believe that, but I don’t believe that it’s true for everyone. There are people who are open-minded, who see things not simply as black or white.

How so? 

I like to go to modern Muslim universities and speak at seminars or lectures. I graduated from a pesantren, a Muslim boarding school. I believe that you can have a good debate and discussion on any topic with anyone. I’ve had them in Makassar, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, all over. When I do talk shows on air, the computers crash and the phone lines jam with people calling in to say all kinds of things, from “your books are eye-opening” to “go to hell.” It doesn’t always go smoothly. I’ve been kicked off the stage many times, and once there were guys on motorcycles just circling the building and they all had knives. Sometimes I feel like I’m on trial.

You wrote the novel and scripted and produced the film ‘Tarzan ke Kota’ (‘Tarzan Goes to the City’). Have you ever seen that guy walking around Jakarta who looks exactly like Tarzan, loincloth and all? 

No, never, I was inspired by old Tarzan movies. But the whole film was a mess; I should have just made a horror movie [laughs].

You’ve got a girlfriend now. Is she the least bit intimidated by all your experiences?

No. I don’t go to those sex parties anymore. I met her at a seminar on transsexuals in Bandung, she was the MC. I’m 35, I’m slowing down, and I need to think about starting a family.

Emka was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original Interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Moammar Emka, ‘Jakarta Undercover’ Author

Picture by Iwan Putuhena

for more information visit www.emkamoammar.com

 

My Jakarta: Rio, Dairy Farmer and Former Banker

Where’s the beef? Got milk? In Jakarta, about the closest you can get to an actual cow is probably the meat section at Kem Chicks. Which makes Rio’s career switch all the more unusual. This former Jakarta banker quit his desk job to become a dairy farmer.

Recently, he took us to one of his farms, about two hours outside of Jakarta, and told us how he milks money from cows.

How far away is your farm from your home in Central Jakarta? 

I have two farms. One is in Ciawi, near Bogor, about an hour’s drive from Jakarta, and the other is in Lembang, about two hours away, close to Bandung. I go to Lembang every Monday and Thursday and I spend the other days in Ciawi.

How many employees do you have? 

There are around 30 workers on each farm. Most are local people and some live on the farm.

What products do you sell from your farms? 

We sell dairy products and vegetables. Cow’s milk, goat’s milk, yogurt, ice cream, tomatoes, broccoli, chilies, strawberries, blackberries and many other products.

You distribute it in Jakarta? 

Everywhere. Some of the restaurants, schools and gyms in Jakarta carry my yogurt and ice cream products, the milk is bought by a recreational park and the vegetables go to the high-end supermarkets in Jakarta. I also have a wholesale market in Lembang where you can buy directly.

Have you ever milked a cow? 

No, because we do that in the morning, when I’m usually still driving. Not everyone is able to milk a cow. You have to know the technique or you’re going to get a kick in the face. If someone milks a cow while feeling stressed, physiologically the cow senses it and won’t produce as much milk as it should. You have to be in a good mood to do it. I have a machine as well, but it produces less milk than traditional milking.

How much milk can each cow produce? 

Ideally, at least 10 liters. That’s how much it should produce just to break even. If you can get 15 liters, then five liters is your profit. Any cow producing below 10 liters will be sent to the slaughterhouse, usually after five to six years. Cows produce milk after they give birth; usually the third time is when production peaks.

What do they do all day? 

They eat, sleep and crap.

What do you do with all the waste? 

We reuse everything. The dung and the urine from the cows and goats is used as fertilizer, mixed with other materials and vitamins for the broccoli, tomatoes and everything else we grow on this farm.

Did you study agriculture? 

No, I studied finance in the States, and when I got back I worked at a bank. Then my parents wanted me to continue this family business, and now I’ve been doing it for eight years. In the beginning, I did a lot of reading, and I think I have a library full of books about cows and farming.

Can you raise cows in the city?

Yes, there’s a cow farm near Setiabudi. It’s a good business because the transportation fees are low when it comes to distributing the products. But I prefer to be outside Jakarta where the air is still fresh and there’s more space to do other things such as grow vegetables.

So it’s a good business? 

Any business is good as long as you have the market. Nowadays not many people go into farming. They’d rather invest in stocks or a restaurant. Farming is not easy and you don’t make that much profit. I do things properly by maintaining high standards, feeding the cows the best nutrients and investing in proper stalls and the right people to do the job. I have also invested in machines to make ice cream and yogurt, because every liter sells at three times the price of milk.

When you look at these cows, does it make you want to eat a hamburger? 

I eat beef, but I’m not crazy about it.

It’s not because you feel sorry for them? 

No, I don’t feel sorry. I feel bad seeing them chained. I would like to have a place where the cows could walk freely. Usually we let the calves walk around.

Do you have a favorite cow? 

No, because I don’t want to get attached as I know they’re heading for the slaughterhouse. I like to play with them and tease them. Once, I was too aggressive and the chain came off, so I ran as fast as I could [laughs].

Cows are cool. Could I keep one as a pet? 

Sure, why not, there is a bule near my farm in Lembang who owns a villa and keeps cows as pets.

Do you enjoy being on the farm more than working in the city behind a desk? 

Yes, of course, time is very precious to me. When I worked for someone else, I felt like I was trapped. Having my own business, I get control over my time, even if it means I have to work harder. I enjoy the fresh air of the countryside and walking in the fields. Working behind a desk, I felt no better than one of these cows: eat, sleep, produce milk, and when you’re no longer producing, you’re dead [laughs].

Rio was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Rio, Dairy Farmer and Former Banker

Picture by Iwan Putuhena

My Jakarta: Dog Breeder Musashi

If you’re a dog lover, it’s likely that a golden retriever is at the top of your list of pooches to own. It seems unfair to other breeds, but how can you beat the beauty and smarts of a golden? Musashi is not only the proud owner of a champion golden, he also manages Freezco kennel in Jakarta. He talks about dog breeding and breaks down what it takes for man’s best friend to be called a champion.

How’s the pet business doing?

I don’t consider what I’m doing a business. I look at it more as a hobby. If it’s a business, it would all be just producing dogs and selling them, and I wouldn’t care about who was buying the dogs. But that’s not what happens here. I keep the ones I really like. I feed them premium food, maintain and groom them, and hire assistants to take care of them. It’s not cheap. It’s an investment.

So how long have you been doing this? 

Since 2007. I started breeding Rottweilers, but now I’m focused on golden retrievers.

Have you always been a dog lover? What was your first dog? 

I’ve always loved dogs. I think I was in high school when I saw the movie “Air Bud” and I fell in love with goldens. Since then, I’ve always wanted a golden retriever, and that was my first anjing ras [purebred dog].

For how much do you sell the puppies? 

For between Rp 4 million and Rp 5 million ($430 to $540). At pet shops around Jakarta, they sell for around Rp 7 million.

Do you also sell puppies to pet stores? 

No, I don’t. I have nothing against them, it’s just that I like to know who’s buying my puppies so I can see them grow or I can visit them. Who knows, maybe the same dog that I sell could be a potential mate with one of my dogs in the future. When someone is interested in buying one of my puppies but he is from outside Jakarta, I think twice before selling to them. The bottom line is I still want to see my dogs even after I sell them, to be sure they’re being cared for.

Is it hard to breed dogs? 

Yes, it is. Especially when I was just starting out, it was hard to get it right. Before, I thought if you owned a dog, it would be easy to breed, but I was wrong. I failed many times trying to breed Rottweilers. In the beginning, most of the puppies died. But I finally got it right in 2008, when I started to breed the dogs within my own kennel instead of having to mate them with dogs from other places.

So why did you stop breeding Rottweilers? 

Believe it or not, I’m not allowed to own a black dog. The puppies always die. The dogs fall sick when they’re with me, but after I give them away, they become champions again. Then someone told me that my family was not allowed to own a black dog, or at least that’s the myth. I really don’t have a logical explanation.

Can you trace the blood line of your dogs?

My dogs have American blood, but some people say they’re European. European breeds have lighter hair, while American golden retrievers have brown hair. But there’s a bit of confusion because the American breed has been mixed with other breeds many times over the generations, that’s why it looks different. My dogs’ breed is rare. You can track the history of my dogs to the early 1900s. They have the blood of a champion.

When do they call dogs champions? 

They’re called that when they win a tournament. Around the world, including in Indonesia, dog clubs have these events and that’s when dogs compete. There are many types of certifications — both minor and major — based on breed, age range and gender. There are also different titles like “best in show,” “best of breed” and many others. But to be able to be called a champion, a dog has to achieve two minor titles and one major title certified by Perkin [the All Indonesian Kennel Club].

I saw this puppy at a pet store, and the guy there told me it was a champion. How do I know if he’s telling the truth? 

That’s not possible. They have to be over a year old to be able to compete and be named a champion. What he probably meant was one of the dog’s parents was a champion.

How come there are so many champion dogs in Jakarta? 

Because there are so many events, especially in the city. What people don’t know, however, is that it’s actually difficult to win titles in Indonesia compared to other countries.

How do they judge the dogs? 

They look at their teeth, their body, posture, temperament and the way they walk.

How many times have your dogs won a certificate or a title? 

One of my champion dogs, Amous, has nine titles.

What are your plans for the future? 

My goal really is to maintain a strong bloodline for generations. So when people see a purebred, they will say that it came from my kennel.

Musashi was talking to Iwan Putuhena

Original Interview was published in The Jakarta Globe

My Jakarta: Dog Breeder Musashi

Picture by Iwan Putuhena