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"I was born in Medan, North Sumatra, and the youngest of four sisters. When I was a kid I liked to play doctor and I thought I wanted to be a doctor, but after high school, I changed my mind and studied engineering in West Java.
"Working several years for an additive company made me realize that my passion was not really in engineering. The rich jewelry traditions of the people of Indonesia attracted my attention, and I wanted to be part of that tradition.
"Around 2002, I went on a business trip to Bangil, East Java. I took one day off, walked around the area and talked with the local people. I found out some silver workshops had closed down and gone out of business. The people I met told me that around 1980 the area was famous for their silver craft. I was starting to get excited, I thought that I could find a talented silversmith in this area. It wasn't difficult to interact with the people and after visiting an old workshop, I felt a good chemistry to work together with a widow whose name is Ibu Indun.
"We started by to making up the old workshop, where most of the equipment is traditional and manual, using energy form electricity and LPG. I am responsible for finances, design, and marketing, Ibu Indun is responsible for the crafting production, and my sister is responsible for the administration. There aren't a lot people in the workshop, just Ibu Indun's relatives, who live not far from her house.
"I combine traditional and modern styles to make a collection that is not just beautiful to look at, but a pleasure to wear. I love to use silver in my collections, as silver has beautiful color, and is easy to clean. The designs seem to have a soul with silver.
"Unfortunately, I didn't have experience selling jewelry. I started selling it door to door, and it was such a hard time that I was feeling down, not knowing what to do with the collections. But there is always a way even when we think there isn't one. A friend mentioned that Indonesia's Trade Ministry offered programs to sponsor small businesses, so I went and registered our small venture, took the screening test, and good news came. We got sponsored to participate in national jewelry exhibition.
"Now we are active in local and international exhibitions, and we also receive consignments from Jakarta.
"Since Bangil is a small city, it is limited in the availability of our prime materials and we had to purchase silver, gemstones, pearls, etc., from Bali and send to Bangil. We realized then that we had to collaborate with silversmiths in Bali, so we send them our jewelry pieces for them to finish, set the gems, etc. Having a partner in Bali has made us stronger without having to leave our workshop in Bangil.
"One day I phoned my sister and I told her I was planning to sell our jewelry online, but I didn't have any idea how to do it. She researched some online websites and found a great partner that we could collaborate with. She told me, 'I found great website called Novica and I have already contacted them. Let's wait for their reply.
"Novica replied to our email, and we were jumping up and down, laughing together. We are so happy – this is the time. It's time to show our collections to the world. Thank you Novica!
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