FREDA PERMANA TO EMPOWER INDONESIAN WOMEN THROUGH RAQUEL LINGERIE
Raquel Lingerie is Indonesia's local lingerie brand that has been selling premium nightwear and undergarments since 2016.
A woman who wears lingerie shouldn't feel like it’s something taboo as she needs to be confident with her own body and feels beautiful the way she is. Freda Permana is the founder of Raquel Lingerie, one of the leading local intimate brands from Indonesia, who aims to empower women through her products.
She entered the Indonesian market when there were only few local people to produce the premium underwear products. She recently shared her journey with The S Media.
How did you find the idea to build Raquel Lingerie first?
I come from a family who already ran the business in the same industry; we manufacture (lingeries and undergarments) to sell outside the country for over 40 years. Then I just thought, why I don’t make our brand.
In our family, we got used to helping each other. I wanted to make this family business bigger, but I want to stand up on our own feet.
Do you think that selling the products of Raquel Lingerie in Indonesia gives a specific challenge?
During my business journey, I found that the most suitable marketing approach for the Indonesian market is offline marketing, especially if we talk about intimate products—our people like touching, trying, and asking some questions about the products directly.
I also try to widen the definition of lingerie that is not only something that we only wear in our bed, but also it’s the form of empowering women. I want Indonesian women to feel beautiful, sexy, in a good way, yet comfortable on every occasion, especially when they sleep.
(Lingeries and nightwear) were still considered taboo to own when I started this business. So the challenge is how to educate our targeted market, which at the time, there weren't many local competitors who did similar business.
What are some of the biggest fears you face when starting these business endeavors?
How to make the company is profitable. It includes how to have a healthy cash flow. If there is a company with a big turnover, but the expenses are huge also, I think that’s not a good thing. We talk about how fast you run and how long you can run.
Where do you go for inspiration when working on a new design?
Everywhere, from the places I travel, things I see, trade fairs but mostly from social media especially during pandemic. But I proudly say that we always create an authentic design, from choosing the fabric until it’s ready to sell.
(In addition, I think social media is) essential, especially if we talk about the fact that Indonesia is the two biggest Instagram users globally. Indonesian are friendly, even in internet life. So, if you want your brand to sustain itself in the Indonesian market, utilizing social media is crucial.
You say that you are the mother of two. How do you manage your time between business and taking care of your children?
It takes emotional maturity to juggle this situation. You need to constantly move forward like you can’t let yourself spiral down the rabbit hole if you have a bad day because you still need to take care of your children.
I know it’s hard to do that, but if you don’t carry out your responsibilities at home even if you have a good career path, that’s all still meaningless. I am not talking about social expectations. I just want to focus on how we, as a mother, are responsible to our kids.
We think that there are a lot of women with a child that wants to be like you: having a child but having a chance to self-actualize. Do you have any inspiring messages for them?
Just be realistic.
I am not giving you the sugar-coated advice. Being a working mother is one of the toughest experiences, yet this will be your most memorable journey. You don’t need to succeed in all things. If you have a sound support system, utilize it to reach your dream. But being a full-time mother is also a good job. Don’t compare yourself to someone else because everyone has a different journey.
What advice do you give women looking to enter the creative industry?
If you are still single, the best advice is just to be the best of who you are or jump to every single thing you can.
When I started Raquel Lingerie, I never imagined that it would be big as this moment. I started this business at the right time, (which is) before I had two children like now. In my opinion, when a woman already has children, that’s her primary responsibility.
Thank God I juggled earlier. Being an entrepreneur gives many challenges and opportunities to reach a bigger goal. Opportunities not just in terms of creating certain products to pioneer a market, but also to make other job opportunities for others, which has deep meaning.
We maintain the team and nurture people to create a sense of belonging. After which, we get to grow not just as individuals but also as a team. These things are what made entrepreneurship really special
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