BULETIN TEXTILE.COM/ Jakarta – For Melie Indarto, 2023 is a special year with new enthusiasm, new hopes and new programs in running her business with the KaIND brand, (KaIND=Kain Indonesia).
Especially after last year’s success in making several achievements, including winning the BRILIAN Young Entrepreneur Competition 2022 and being selected as the official souvenir at the G20 event in Bali last November.
What a lovely surprise. Of course, it is an extraordinary struggle from a Melie in running her business.
In the fashion world, Melie is known as a sustainable fashion entrepreneur with organic materials. One of her businesses is eri silk.
Starting from guiding the farmers to cultivate eri silkworms, they were carried out by herself in Pasuruan.
Its products include woven fabrics that are processed into scarves, clothing, and various eco-friendly souvenirs using written batik, stamped batik, and natural coloring techniques.
When contacted by the Textile Bulletin, Melie stated that the achievement she had achieved in the competition was indeed beyond her expectations.
At first he was hesitant to become a participant. Considering that the competition process was quite long, more than 3 months. Meanwhile, as a young mother, Melie is busy with household affairs with a child who is still a toddler.
However, because of his strong desire to seek experience and inspiration for his endeavors, the opportunity was taken. The struggle was not in vain. It has been proven that two real achievements have been achieved at the same time from that event.
“As an entrepreneur, I want to have a support system. During the pandemic sales in the local market were not that good. When there was info about this competition, I was interested in participating. The goal is to have a support system and refresh the way of thinking, to have the right growth mindset,” Melie said.
Telling about the journey in the assessment process, Melie stated that it started on August 9, at which time all participants were given the task of getting a score.
Mentoring and monitoring is carried out every week. Participants every month make progress reports on developments during mentoring where all of these activities have value.
The score was used to select 85 participants to become 20 participants and finally 3 winners were chosen. And the results led him to emerge as the first winner and get a coaching prize of 200 million.
Throughout the assessment stages, he chose B2B for the main sales channel of his brand.
The choice was right, because during the B2B curation, the products were purchased by the Ministry of Finance for official souvenirs at the G20 event in Bali. Of course this adds to the high score input in addition to the money.
“At that time I was asked to choose whether to choose B2C which leads to retail trade, or B2B which leads to buyers, and I chose B2B even though later there is a possibility that buyers will ask for off-brands,” she said.
Talking about off-brands, he stated that this was usually done. Several overseas buyers, such as those from Hawaii, Vancouver, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, etc., ordered off brand.
But not infrequently, there are also buyers who ask to continue to include the KAIND brand to accompany their brand. The exported products include pillowcases, pouches, sleep eye masks for tissue and scarves.
These products last month made him a champion and pocketed 200 million. The plan is that the prize will be used for team building, both in Jakarta and in Pasuruan.
“In Pasuruan, we will add weavers and batik. Those in Jakarta will build a marketing and management team, and so on,” she said while hoping that in the future, KaIND will be more acceptable to the public. What’s more important, according to him, is that KAIND can collaborate across industries, for example with hotels, garments and factories – all of which require skill ups.
The KaIND brand was founded in 2015. At first it came from community activities of weavers and batik makers between seniors and juniors. After going through several stages of trial and error, two years later in 2017, a company named CV. Temanesian work.
This company sells several woven and batik products such as scarves, fabrics, clothing, and chair cover. There are also eye covering masks with various typical Pasuruan motifs with the main materials used being cotton and eri silk.
In the course of her business, in 2019, Melie managed to increase the value of goods harvested by the eri silkworm farming community (Samia Cynthia Ricini) into fabricated eri silk thread.
As information, eri silkworms are silkworms that are cultivated by eating castor and cassava leaves. The difference with silk that is cultivated with mulberry leaves is when treating the pupae in the extraction of silk fiber.
In mulberry caterpillars, the way to get fiber is by boiling, so that at that time the pupae will die. As for the eri silkworm, when harvesting the fiber, the pupae are first removed one by one and then the silk fiber is boiled so that the pupae do not die and can still reproduce.
In 2019, there are around 200 eri silkworm cultivators. In this case, KAIND supports them by supporting the formation of cooperatives. From this cooperative, Melie obtains materials to be woven into silk fabrics.
“But we don’t have a monopoly. Cooperatives may sell to other parties besides KaIND,” Melie explained.
However, over time the number of cooperative members decreased. It’s quite a shame. This is because, to meet domestic demand for silk, the government still imports it from other countries.
According to Melie, this is an opportunity for others to participate in cultivating eri silkworms in order to reduce imports and meet the domestic demand for silk.
‘Actually, cultivating eri silk can be a solution to increase your income because its breeding does not require a special place. Even in the garage can also make cultivation. If you want more details, please come to the cooperative in Lawang, Malang,” she said, adding that the eri silkworm breeders raise them in their own homes.
In the future, it is hoped that new farmers and new entrepreneurs will grow to take advantage of eri silk.
“You have to be willing to take part in developing the cultivation of eri silk, for example if you don’t have a loom, you can work with other parties who can knit the fiber into cloth. What’s important is that we must strive so that Indonesia can have independence in producing silk fiber,” she said.
The appearance of eri silk is indeed slightly different from mulberry silk which tends to be more lustrous.
But that difference actually makes the characteristics of the product. Because of this, Melie stated that she was great at working with eri silk and did not want to switch to other types, especially since her work has penetrated the world market.
(Red B-Teks/Ratna Devi)