Success means… achieving a positive impact in myself and the people around me.
To me, the meaning of success changes over time, depending on where I am in my life. In the past, success meant waking up and doing what I love everyday, buying my first house, standing up to bullies, and of course, acceding that sales goal for the month!
Three adjectives that deserve me are... positive, ambitious, and adaptable.
You can’t run a business without… passion.
In the next 10 years I will be… the Minister of Education and Culture of Indonesia.
I founded Mahisi, a handbag and accessory brand with a mission to help the artisans who make the products to rise above poverty. Mahisi is the combined effort of my passion for design, my respect for Indonesian culture, and my desire to give back. The products ranges from tote bags, clutches, to backpacks and yoga straps. Each piece is expertly hand crafted to showcase the beauty and individuality while maintaining the functionality of it.
How did you come up with your business idea?
I knew I didn’t want to start a clothing company, even thought I had always been an apparel designer. Plus, I wanted to create a product that is beautiful and timeless, yet functional. So I started sketching a few bag designs, had them made, and the rest is history.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
Social responsibility. I am at a point in my life and career where giving back is one of my top priorities. It is not all about making as much money as possible anymore. It is about what feeds my soul. After years of working as a Fashion Designer for well-known brands, I took a two-year break and moved to the country where I was born and raised, Indonesia. Living there as an adult open up a whole new perspective of life. I saw the skillful and talented Indonesian artisans were unappreciated and underpaid. A lot of their children do not see weaving fabrics and painting batik as a source of income. That was when I realized that I needed to make a difference. I wanted to create jobs while honoring our heritage. I wanted to empower our women weavers that they are important, their skills are irreplaceable, and their future is bright and unstoppable.
Is having your own business something you always wanted to have?
Yes. I have always wanted the freedom to have my own schedule, to work in different places in the world, and most importantly, to shape whatever it is the company’s future to be.
What inspired you?
So many things inspire me, from the impact the company creates in the lives of our artisans, to customer feedback, and even rejection.
What were you doing before this?
I was and still working at one of the biggest retailers in the US, designing Denim and Casual Woven Bottoms.
How did it prepare you for the entrepreneurial life?
My experiences working for many fashion companies taught me valuable lessons, such as planning a collection, merchandising the products, costing, working as a team, dealing with different personalities, facing criticism, and most importantly, staying positive in every challenge.
Do you have a fixed work routine? Is it important to have one? Any tips for our readers?
Yes. Since I have a full time job and a side business, work routine and time management is extremely important. I am the kind of person who gives 100% of what I do. So when I am at my full time job, I am wearing my Apparel Designer hat and I am 100% there. But when I leave the office, I put on my “Entrepreneur” hat, and the first thing I do is to read my Mahisi emails, check my Shopify store, fulfill orders, touch base with my sewers in Indonesia (which is perfect because of the time difference), and work until a little after midnight. For me, the key is to list the tasks, from the most important to the least. I number the tasks according to the importance, so for the ones I don’t get to do that night, I put them back on the list for the next night and so on.