DAKARA AND MODERN-TRADITIONAL ATTIRE
Ayu Purnamasari wants to promote Indonesian culture through fashion.
The development of the Indonesian fashion sector has been up-and-coming since the pandemic started. Local fashion brands are gaining popularity among the general public, and even young people are comfortable with using local fashion products in their daily lives.
Recently, more young people have been flocking into the fashion industry — their creativity results in a wide range of local fashion products that involve and employ a large number of people. Some start self-taught with small budgets, yet they still create compelling works and stylish products.
As Ayu Purnamasari did with the Dakara Indonesia brand. Ayu presents fashion products with woven fabrics from diverse places in Indonesia, applying self-taught design learning with small capital.
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"Dakara is packaged in a modern manner, but it retains its ethnic and traditional aspects. Through Dakara, I wish Indonesians, particularly millennials, to be proud to wear materials from the Nusantara," Ayu said.
Dakara comes from the Sanskrit word that means "eternity". Through the name, Ayu hopes the business she began in 2017 will be able to develop forever.
Ayu had previously worked in a major global corporation, but her desire to become an entrepreneur was strong. Ayu eventually left her job to pursue an entrepreneurial career in the fashion industry, which she enjoys.
"I want to build a business that can both improve Indonesian culture and serve as a portal for food for many people. So, I decided to pursue a career in the fashion industry through ikat weaving," Ayu explained.
The diploma holder in communications from the University of Indonesia employs "wastra nusantara" as her products' predominant motif, but she also adds a contemporary touch to each of her product designs to avoid an "outdated look". "Wastra nusantara" is used to design ethnic fashion products such as shirts, slacks, various outerwear, and dresses.
Starting from zero
"Our company started with various restraints. We started with little funding, design expertise, tailoring and craftsman resources, and parental consent," Ayu said.
She first sold her products at bazaars. Ayu's tenacity kept her going, although she did face several challenges.
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"When I first started my business, I had to learn about woven fabrics, experience what is called poor sewing quality, tailors who are not on time, designs that are imitated by people, and no sales at all when performing. All of these hurdles make me fall in love with this business even more," said Ayu.
Ayu's dedication earned her an exhibition opportunity at a government facility. Ayu collected a database from fair attendees and used it to gain loyal customers.
"The idea is to turn clients into partners, so they are not dissatisfied," she explained.
Ayu would use her profits to expand her business capacity until she had enough circulation and goods to open offline and online stores. Today, Dakara Indonesia items range from Rp 40 thousand to 600 thousand.
"Dakara Indonesia has unique characteristics. Some of these products can be used for a variety of styling purposes. Also, the variety of one-of-a-kind themes and models is the key draw for customers," Ayu added.
Even though she is a newbie, Ayu is not concerned about commercial competition. She believes that her company will continue to grow unabated if she constantly invents, finds opportunities, and provides the finest solutions for her clients.
"I am constantly learning, trying to always innovate and give my best. What matters most is that there is a will — accompanied by effort and prayers," she said.
Ayu has participated in exhibitions such as Indonesia Fashion Week, Adiwastra Nusantara, Indonesia Modest Fashion Week, Wastra Nusantara, and the Indonesia Festival in Shanghai.
Aside from exhibitions, Dakara frequently supports numerous fashion-related activities such as Putri Muslimah Indonesia, Abang dan None South Jakarta, Abang dan Mpok Depok, Mojang Jajaka Bogor, and Mojang Jajaka West Java.
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