IT'S NAPPA MILANO, DENNIS SENJAYA'S BOOMING CLASSIC SHOES
Nappa Milano combines high-end materials and expert craftsmanship.
Dennis Senjaya is still relatively young, but he already has an exceptional commercial sense. He insists on working on classic/formal style shoes while other imaginative young folks are busy inventing local sneakers. He believes that traditional shoes will always be classic, and they are appealing in their own right.
"It hasn't changed from the past to the present; it still has important ideals and history," he said.
Dennis said he started his shoe business by chance, or rather, urgency. According to him, it all began in 2015. At the time, his family's shoe manufacturing firm had a dilemma due to the global economic slump — it couldn't sell many shoes it had manufactured.
The family business was thrown into disarray. His father then requested Dennis, who at that time was currently studying abroad, to return home to assist with organizing the business.
"To be honest, I don't want to continue in this business because my educational background is different, and I've also applied to other companies," said Dennis.
Dennis later placed his wants on hold and attempted to sell the unsold shoes through social media and mall bazaars while waiting for permanent employment. He branded them "Nappa Milano".
According to him, the term "Nappa" is derived from nappa leather, a type of luxury leather material, while "Milano" is taken from his father's journey to Milan, Italy, to master shoe craftsmanship.
"So we adopt the philosophy that Nappa Milano is a combination of premium materials and skilled craftsmanship," Dennis explained.
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Nappa Milano's method of selling via social media and bazaars has successfully captured consumers' attention. Having sold a great deal of them successfully and with things looking up, Dennis was torn between continuing his shoe business and returning to his initial plan of working for another company due to this.
His doubts were dispelled when he noticed someone wearing Nappa Milano shoes when he went out for a walk. Following that event, he decided to concentrate on creating Nappa Milano while remaining committed to its philosophy and quality.
"It made me pleased and proud. Our shoes are formal, and people don't always wear formal shoes," he said. "I'm delighted that people can use our items even though the brand is new — [of course] there's nothing wrong with it, but people already believe in our brand. There is a sense of pleasure and duty in making shoes again to the level people anticipate."
Nappa Milano uses nappa for some of its collections. This brand, however, does not rely solely on leather. Its foster sneakers, for example, are made from brushed-off leather. This leather has a lustrous appearance and is simple to clean. Dennis sourced the leather from numerous tanneries in Java.
"Javanese cow [skin] is one of the world's top raw materials. They also have a tannery here and sell to Europe and other places. We also believe that Indonesia is the champion when it comes to materials," Dennis said, adding that he attempts to use the best locally sourced ingredients.
Dennis' perspective has led Nappa Milano to be a shoe company with classic local DNA that can exist and is even popular among young people. But he is by no means complacent. He consistently innovates in response to trends in order to stay current. To that aim, he always incorporates customers in product development.
"We brought the classic profile of the past, but the shape was updated, such as adding little decorations, so it was readily accepted by today's society," he said.
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