Global Business Guide Indonesia

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Sidji Batik | Mr Karman
Mr Karman

UNESCO recognises batik as an intangible cultural heritage and it is our view that batik should first and foremost be appreciated for the technique and artistry behind its creation

Mr Karman, President Director

Sidji Batik is a relatively new player in Indonesia’s batik clothing industry based out of Yogyakarta. What can you tell us about your company’s background and its strategies for the future?

Sidji Batik was founded in 2009 and first focused on creating new batik designs. We then moved into the manufacture of fabrics using these designs and handmade an initial collection of thirty different fabrics. From these thirty, we selected the top ten to be showcased to leading boutiques and retailers and have since experienced substantial growth in the number of orders we receive; at present we send between 800-1000 fabrics every month to buyers. In addition to this, we also make our own line of batik garments and are now expanding into retail.

Our company specialises in ‘batik tulis’, or ‘written batik’ if translated, which involves a three step handcrafted process that requires a thorough understanding of traditional techniques to create batik patterns. We focus our marketing strategy on the fact that we offer batik fabrics and garments in a wide range of colours; batik patterns are most commonly paired with white, brown and black fabrics. We expect that the market will come to embrace these new colours as consumers become bored with the market’s more traditional selection of batik.

How does Sidji Batik differentiate itself within the Indonesian batik industry?

The growing amount of batik produced via printing into the local market has seen the price for batik materials and clothing decline. UNESCO recognises batik as an intangible cultural heritage and it is our view that batik should first and foremost be appreciated for the technique and artistry behind its creation, as opposed to the final product in and of itself. We have therefore looked to differentiate ourselves from the rising number of printed batik manufacturers based in Indonesia as well as abroad by making use of traditional techniques and encouraging support for the craft of batik tulis. Our company has positioned itself as a leading provider of contemporary batiks made via traditional Indonesian methods.

What are your plans in regards to opening retail outlets for your batik clothing line?

We already have one retail location in Java and plan to initially prioritise the development of our online store to reach out to Indonesia’s sizeable consumer base. Our company also intends to further its market presence and identify new retail opportunities by attending exhibitions in Indonesia and in markets such as Singapore, Thailand, Japan and Russia.

Given the context of this initiative to expand Sidji Batik’s network internationally, which markets have you identified as key targets for your exports?

Our company exports approximately 70% of its products, and works primarily with boutique retail outlets as our main buyers. Italy and France are two markets that we have identified as those with potential for our products, in addition to the US, where we already offer our batik clothing through a third-party boutique in Philadelphia. When exporting to these markets, we need to keep in mind different consumer preferences that will necessitate new designs and colours suited to different countries.

What can you tell us about new batik products that you plan to introduce in the future?

Instead of creating additional products for our already diverse collection of batik clothing, our newest initiatives within Indonesia will focus more on our programs to better educate the local market in regards to the true value of traditional batik techniques. Batik needs to be understood not just as a fabric but also as an art form that must be preserved for future generations.

How is your company positioned towards cooperation with international partners and foreign investors?

We welcome partnerships, having already initiated collaboration with international designers to ensure that our products suit consumer preferences in export markets.  Our company is now interested in working with foreign investors that appreciate the cultural importance of batik and the significance of using traditional methods, so that we can expand and continue to grow. Developing our batik education program is one area that we would particularly like to find partners for.

To interested international parties, Sidji Batik can offer its strengths and expertise in working with the local community and employing highly skilled batik artisans. It is our mission to provide our workers with fair compensation that is reflective of their expertise in the craft of batik tulis, and working with foreign partners should help us achieve this goal and enable us to continue to hire the best of the best.

As a final message, what would you like our readers to remember about Sidji Batik and Indonesia?

Batik is a true Indonesian product and art form, and Sidji Batik strives to ensure the survival of this craft in its purest and most traditional form. Batik needs to be thought of not as an industry suited to mass production but instead as a more specialised industry.

Global Business Guide Indonesia - 2014

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