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Joint Ventures | Strategic Partnerships
Alun Alun Indonesia | Ms Pincky Sudarman
Ms Pincky Sudarman

60-70% of our vendors are SMEs and home businesses, who by sharing in our success are given the opportunity to reach their potential and develop into household names.

Ms Pincky Sudarman, President Director

Alun Alun Indonesia is a specialty store offering high quality Indonesian products with a specific focus on goods that embody the country’s culture and heritage. As President Director, what more can you tell us about your company’s history and its main strategies going forward?

Alun Alun was founded eight years ago when a group of ladies who were very much in love with Indonesian arts and culture wanted to enhance and better demonstrate the beauty of Indonesian products. Brought together by the former Minister of Trade and Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Ms Mari Pangestu, this group - which includes myself, Ms Dea Sudarman, Ms Catharina Widjaja and Ms Cherie Nursalim – was focused on providing a platform for local designers to show the quality of their products. Through these discussions we identified prime retail space in the popular Grand Indonesia Mall in Jakarta as the most strategic place to locate our first specialty store. We decided to name it Alun Alun in reference to the Indonesian word for town square or a place for the public to gather to trade goods. In line with this name, our store’s design is very much inspired by traditional town squares across the country and we offer a wide selection of goods ranging from antiques to batik, in addition to other premium products.

Our strategy for the future is closely linked with the founding mission of the company. We see the continued growth of this store as our way of contributing to Indonesia and fulfilling our responsibility to the community. 60-70% of our vendors are SMEs and home businesses, who by sharing in our success are given the opportunity to reach their potential and develop into household names. Many of these companies are owned by women, which given our goal of encouraging the empowerment of women in business, makes this an even more worthwhile initiative.

How has Alun Alun been able to differentiate itself from its competitors in the retail sector?

We are well-known as the go-to retail outlet for the best culture-driven heritage products from Indonesia. To find and work with the SMEs that distinguish themselves through advanced craftsmanship and the creation of premium local products, we employ a skilled team of merchandisers that we call ‘creative buyers’. Their responsibilities are two-fold; identifying the best local goods and helping communities to be more creative in designing their products. We view Indonesia’s long tradition when it comes to crafts and the arts as the foundation from which the country needs to evolve in line with more modern trends. This is a step that needs to be taken to ensure that the nation’s creative industries remain relevant in the future and as such we have actively promoted contemporary designs and a re-imagination of heritage products. Through this approach we hope to perpetuate Indonesia’s lasting reputation as a destination rich in culture.

Moreover, we create a unique in-store experience through the concept of ‘a journey through the Indonesian archipelago through all of your senses’. This involves treating our customers to not only the sights and feel of the top local products, but also to the sound of indie Indonesian music, the fragrance of our line of spa products, and the taste of local cuisine at our in-store café.

One of the biggest challenges faced by retailers in your industry is the mismatch between Indonesia’s ability to manufacture high quality goods and its relative inability to effectively brand its products. What steps has Alun Alun taken to address this gap?

Branding and marketing our products is particularly difficult when reaching out to the Indonesian market, compared to doing the same for international consumers who are quick to embrace the beauty and novelty of high quality crafts and textiles.

In contrast, a substantial portion of local consumers take for granted the cultural heritage that surrounds them and as such, this is the target market that we have made our priority to appeal to. We want Indonesians to once again fall in love with what our country has to offer. Through an active marketing campaign such as talk-show appearances and book launches, we go to great lengths in promoting our latest lines, and have already made considerable headway in deepening the appreciation for local products in the domestic market.

Batik in Indonesia has enjoyed a renaissance on the back of initiatives such as ‘Batik Friday’ promoted by the government. In which other areas of the creative industries do you see the potential for revival and growing international appeal?

Indonesian fashion, in a broader sense, has the potential to thrive in the coming years. We have already seen several Indonesian designers establish themselves as influential voices in the global fashion industry, and expect to see even more following suit soon. This country has a new generation of up-and-coming designers ready to adapt Indonesian style to contemporary international preferences, and their success will drive the creative industries forward.

We also see big potential in the country’s many talented independent musicians, as well as in graphic design for products such as cards, wrapping paper and bags. To spread these products and ensure that they appeal to international markets, we choose to work with vendors recognized by organisations such as the World Crafts Council and UNESCO, and that have certification in safe and responsible business practices. It is also our long-term vision to bring our retail outlets to international markets so as to showcase the best that Indonesia has to offer across the globe. We see this plan for expansion as the next step in our evolution as we build upon experiences such as working with Harrods to promote Indonesia and become a vendor in their department stores.

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

This is something that we would like to explore further, particularly in regards to developing our e-commerce capabilities. Going forward, we are open to collaboration that would facilitate our ability to promote Alun Alun products online, as this would further our reach overseas as well as across Indonesia.

As a final message, what would you like our readers at GBG Indonesia to remember about your company?

Come visit Alun Alun and journey through Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage as we strive to meet all the needs and demands of the modern consumer. We also welcome young artists from around the world who are interested in Indonesia, and encourage them to reach out to us for collaboration and internship opportunities. To local readers, we would like to leave the final message of ‘love your country’s products’ as this will go a long way in helping the creative industries thrive.



Global Business Guide Indonesia - 2015

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