Watatita: I Love ‘Made in Indonesia’
Jakarta’s International Handicraft Trade Fair (Inacraft) was held recently in JCC Senayan which attracted thousands of visitors each day. I decided to visit it with my mother — we are great admirers of Indonesian handicrafts. Even though it was incredibly exhausting walking through halls and halls of stalls, packed with eager shoppers, I was really happy to see modern day Jakartans so enthusiastic to purchase local products and supporting small local businesses.
For the last couple of months, I’ve sworn to myself that I will try to purchase local products for all my needs. I used to spend hours in Mangga Dua looking for a great quality fake designer bag, and now I think that it was a stupid thing to do. Why was I spending a lot of money on a fake branded bag, supporting a supposedly an illegal business? Now I’d rather spend the same amount of money purchasing a high quality batik or waved bag, supporting a local brand or business.
It used to be difficult to search for well-made Indonesian products, but it’s everywhere now. You can even preorder a pair of batik shoes from the Internet nowadays.
It is a matter of taste, but many people tend to feel more “expensive” or “valuable” when they use brands from overseas, or they think that local brands are not as good or not as well made. Women would spend a ridiculous amount of money on European skincare products such as Lancome, Chanel, and Clinique when Indonesian skincare products also do the job, they’re made for Asian skin and some specially for tropical climate, and they’re not too expensive.
People rarely show off their Indonesian made pair of jeans, but when they buy a pair of imported designer denims, they flaunt it because it makes them feel awesome. I’d rather flaunt my new rattan bag I bought at Inacraft because it’s handmade by the very talented craftspeople in Jogjakarta. No, I don’t have to pay for the designer’s yacht and mansion.
However, it’s a pity that some batik brands sell their batik products for a high price, while the batik artists receive very small salary. No wonder why less and less Indonesians prefer not to take up a career in the arts and crafts field.
We Indonesians sometimes take our arts, traditional handicrafts, and products for granted, while the expats value and love it more than we do. It’s time for Indonesians to appreciate local made products more and support our homegrown businesses which could help our economy to grow.