Environmental/ambientale, miljo, umwelt

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(Business Lounge Journal – Special Report)

Why rice? Julia said, if shaped and crafted right, rice could mimic the shape of a precious stone akin to diamond. “I didn’t expect rice to be suitable at the first research. But turns out, it’s the best material.”

A European friend once told me the reason why’d he decided to stay and open his cafe business in Indonesia, when a lot of my fellow countrymen in Indonesia, were practically dying to move abroad. When I asked him why, his main reason was fully reflected in his opening statement, “No more opportunities there. There’s still a lot in here.” And every time I shared his story to my fellow kinsmen, whenever I retelling his exact opening statement, I raise their eyebrows. The fact that a native from a developed continent can say something like that is astounding, if not unthinkable. He began to explain in a great length that “If you want to become an entrepreneur in developed countries, what can you possibly do? There is almost not a concept or idea that is not already been thought. The moment you start thinking about it, someone could already start making it!”

He is not wrong.

In Indonesia, with local entrepreneurship, especially the creative industry is starting to get noticed, the local entrepreneur, mostly hailed from the Y generation, is practically enjoying their time under the sun. Especially the first-movers entrepreneurs and start-ups. But recently, not just Indonesian, the rising industry attracts the entrepreneurs abroad too, and those who want to have their chances, find Indonesia most-welcome.

For Julia Skergeth, a young fashion designer from Austria, Indonesia and Asia region in general, comes as a different experience for her.

“Asia is a big continent that begun to take over (the fashion market). I see a lot of potential.”

When she set foot in Indonesia for the first time, she didn’t come empty-handed. Beside past experiences in working for big fashion brands in New York and London, Julia is also carrying her brand, called Environmental Jewelry, which was established in 2013. The uniqueness of her brand lies in the fact, that her products, is mainly made from rice.

“It’s all started with my master’s degree project that I did back in King’s College in London. The Zero Luxury Project. The aim is to create products from sustainable natural resources. Precious stones are expensive, so I’m looking for a sustainable alternative to it.”

In Europe, she said, the pursuit of things like eco-living and sustainability were widespread and saturated among individuals. Europeans were introduced to the importance of environment sustainability in universities. Students were encouraged to partake in environment sustainability discussion, classes and projects.

“It’s quite nice…it challenged your creativity, you have to you think about what material around that you can use. Lots of people upcycling trash and materials, it’s quite interesting to see.”

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In Europe, she said, the pursuit of things like eco-living and sustainability were widespread and saturated among individuals. Europeans were introduced to the importance of environment sustainability in universities. Students were encouraged to partake in environment sustainability discussion, classes and projects.

Why rice? Julia said, if shaped and crafted right, rice could mimic the shape of a precious stone akin to diamond.

“I didn’t expect rice to be suitable at the first research. But turns out, it’s the best material.”

She later met Ega, a fellow enthusiast from Bandung, who collaborates with her in further developing Environmental Jewelry. The price of each piece of jewellery was varied, from IDR 200k to IDR 2 million, with the latter is encased in gold. Their brand gain significant amount of exposure, mostly for its uniqueness. It was later showcased in London and Indonesia Fashion Week.

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“Selling with Instagram is not as popular in Europe as in Indonesia. People in Europe prefers to pay with credit card rather than wiring their money to people they didn’t know.”

When asked about the difference between customers in Indonesia and Europe, she explained that it’s quite different. One of the experiences that she recalls, is the importance of having an Instagram account for business purpose.

“Selling with Instagram is not as popular in Europe as in Indonesia. People in Europe prefers to pay with credit card rather than wiring their money to people they didn’t know.”

According to her, unlike in Indonesia, the term “Instagram artist” is almost unheard of in Europe.

“I don’t know. There’s only bloggers there. But it’s quite nice, you know, to learn about all the differences that are going on.”

Michael Judah Sumbayak adalah pengajar di Vibiz LearningCenter (VbLC) untuk entrepreneurship dan branding. Seorang penggemar jas dan kopi hitam. Follow instagram-nya di @michaeljudahsumbek

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