As part of our intent to become more than just a fashion label, we also want to be part of your lifestyle that can enhance knowledge and insight towards our journey. Here, we present you another segment of our most influential and amazing people behind Oemah Etnik, a story worth telling.
We would like to tell you our secret regarding the stunning crafted of items that we made along the way from the very beginning. Can you guess what it is?
Yes, a generous and wholehearted people that work with love and respect towards Indonesian culture and heritage, along with patience, dedication, and determination throughout the process which makes this long journey memorable and worth to be maintained. Hence, we will tell you our six creative and passionate people that work behind every piece that we offer.
Know who made your items and be inspired!
The first story of #peoplebehindOemahEtnik is one of batik colorist. We met him at Lasem, Semarang, a couple months ago. We are working a very special series that’s closed to our heart. This going to be the first time Oemah Etnik developing handwritten batik for retail business. So we had a talk and he shared a thing or two people don’t know about batik coloring technique.
All batik coloring process, especially for handwritten batik, was done without machine. There’s no exact formula to create, say, purple color. He has to use his sense to combine 2 drops of blue and 1 drop of red. And each drop maybe different in quantity. That’s why, the fabric’s color can turn out a little bit different from one another. “That doesn’t mean it’s imperfect, it means every batik is unique.”
He has been a batik colorist for the longest time. From it, he can make a living for his big family. It’s something he wants to teach his children but he said that younger generations would prefer to work at a factory.
Second is our kind and humble head of production. After being hospitalised, she decided to stay at home and do nothing. But instead of wasting her time with worthless things, 3 years ago she decided to get back on her feet and try her luck.
We talked our to our Head of Production, Irma, said she started by not knowing a thing about fashion. “I love to design something, I love to craft. But back then, I know nothing about fashion, tailoring, let alone about ethnic.”
After 3 years working at Oemah Etnik, she said she gains a lot of things. Especially communication skills. “When I started working here, I was assigned to help with the production. I help the tailor with garment and stuff. But now, I’m trusted to do more; being Oemah Etnik’s representative to vendors and clients.” She admits that she was very shy and would hide behind the door whenever people approach her. “I don’t know how to communicate to people. But being here, I was put on a challenge to overcome my ‘fear of people’ and slowly gain confidence.”
Irma loves to learn new things. And to do that, she said she doesn’t have to learn from older people. “Oemah Etnik’s owner is younger than me and I learn so many things from her. The one that I look up to the most is how she handle problems and obstacles. I realize now that we have to focus on solutions instead of to dwell ourselves in that problem.”
The third is our Tapis Lampung Maker that took part in our Tapis Series. Before being a Tapis Lampung maker, she sold whatever she can to get cash for daily needs. One of them are vegetables and fruits from her back yard. It was harder days, she told us. But now, as the Tapis Lampung fabric being known national and internationally, the demand to make the fabric is high. Collectors started to train people, especially women, to be able to make Tapis Lampung from home. Now, she’s a full time Tapis Lampung maker working from her humble house. “I can finish one Tapis fabric in 3 hours, depends on its difficulty. Some Tapis takes up to a week or a month to finish.” After hand-weaving all the demands from the collectors, she usually takes care of her farm, watering or sometimes harvesting fruits.
Now it’s been 2 years since she learned how to Tapis. She said this job helps her daughter go to school and fulfil her family. “I’d rather do something with enough income than do nothing. We women have to empower ourselves.”
We’ll talk to her again when we visit her to restock our Tapis Lampung fabric.
Next is the master of tailoring. Before working at Oemah Etnik, Nukman, our one and only in house tailor, worked as a convection tailor doing children’s uniforms. He admits that both environments are different. “Being in Oemah Etnik pushes me to focus on detail so all the products are always in their best quality.”
Quantity versus quality. That was one of the hardest things he faced when he first switch from convection industry to fashion brand. “I have to adapt everyday, it’s a challenge for me.” said a self-taught tailor.
So the turning point when he decided to join Oemah Etnik was when he started to feel financially unsteady. “The order was slow and the payment was a little bit behind. At the same time, I have to fulfil my family, my wife and kids, and our daily needs.” That’s why when his friend asked him to fill his position in Oemah Etnik, he agreed right away.
He said the things he love about working here is that he’s now has a normal working hour so that he can spend more time with his family. Financially stable too. “Oemah Etnik also plays a big part in making myself more discipline. The owner is young but her spirit and working ethics are amazing. She inspires us all to be a better employee, also better person.”
Continue with Oki, the youngest among Oemah Etnik’s family. She’s only 19 and just graduated from a vocational school studying fashion design. She joined Oemah Etnik as Admin, she’s the one who greets you on our communication channels. Now let’s say hi to her.
“I started working at Oemah Etnik only 4 months ago. I once interned here but the owner reviewed my performance and offered me a full time job so I took it.” Oki admits that the business is quit different compared to her previous job. She used to work in retail Hijab fashion where all the products are ready and in big quantity. “Here in Oemah Etnik, we sometimes accept custom-made order in which I, as Admin, have to take orders carefully and be the bridge between clients and production team. It’s quite a challenge for me. Also in Oemah Etnik I have to learn that we’re working with ethnic fabric, not everyday we have our fabric ready at our workshop. We have to wait for our local artisans outside Jakarta to finish the fabric order. That makes the production sometimes have to delay the tailoring process. And I have to inform clients the situation.”
But after 4 months, Oki has gained so many improvements. One of them is her communication skills. “I have to be Oemah Etnik’s representative to clients and customers. Before, I don’t know how to communicate well. Now, with constant learning and adaptation, I manage to be better. Oemah Etnik’s owner always taught me to always focus on solutions whenever we’re faced with obstacle.” She also told us that procrastination is what holds productivity up. So now whenever she has tasks, no matter how little, she does it right away.
Oki enjoys her time in Oemah Etnik because she can learn so many things not limited only on her field as Admin, but also production, marketing and even content.
And last but not least, another our head of production. For her, networking is the key to everything. Bond as a course mate and co-worker with the mother of Oemah Etnik’s owner, Aisah that happens to be the Head of Production who in charge and take responsibilities regarding the “messy” job behind all of the beautifully crafted Oemah Etnik items, here she stands still before Oemah Etnik established up until now.
“Before Oemah Etnik builds, I was there. From the very beginning, from zero,” and yes you can say that she’s the venerable person that has been part of this long route of Oemah Etnik since 2013. “I see this immense potential and Kiki’s idealism to become a platform for Indonesian artisans flourish as it should.” She stated that one thing for sure that people must cultivate is don’t take your job as a burden, but turn it into your responsibilities. By that, you’ll work as hard as you can, as maximum as you should.
Considered herself as an old-fashioned type of woman, having a capability as a woman for her future endeavor is necessary. “For me, married women must own proficiency for them to fulfill the daily needs but not abandoned her family and kids excessively.” Thus, she learned sewing to implement her simple thought which later brings her destiny into Oemah Etnik.
Through Oemah Etnik, she learns about kinship that always been part of Oemah Etnik without forgetting their authorities. “To be honest, not all journey went smooth and well. There were times when customers felt unsatisfied with the products due to some difference in the fabrics. It happens around the times because as I learned since our materials come from manual work of human skills, you can not expect to get the same with the rest”. But with all of the patience and wholehearted workers, she and the team can encounter it. –
“My most favorable time in Oemah Etnik was the inflight fashion show with Citilink to Manado. It was dominantly filled with work yet we overcome it in a fun way,”. It is her tremendous achievement and gratification to witness Oemah Etnik’s journey from nothing into something big. All and all, Oemah Etnik is a place for her to acquire both knowledge and once in a lifetime experience.
And there you have it, our dream team! People that have been part of this long and outdare journeys. People that made your clothes!
We really take up into suggestions and inputs for goods because we, and the rest of the team, will always thrive to become better.
Don’t hesitate to get to know more and in touch with us! #peoplebehindoemahetnik