This is a series of interviews of fabulous people who live, breathe and thrive in Jakarta. We will feature expats and Indonesians who call the Big Durian home in hopes to give all of you a glimpse of what life is all about in Jakarta. I would love to have different perspectives on our Fabulous Jakartan Friday (FJF) so if you would like to be featured, leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I would be so excited to hear all about YOUR Jakarta!
Fabulous Jakartan: Ayu, the Indonesian Crafty Mompreneur
Today we are meeting Ayu. Ayu is a fabulous Indonesian lady. She is a mother of two and runs the cutest business I have seen in Jakarta. Strawberry Patch makes handmade accessories and toys for children. I have talked about her previously when I was (re)decorating Joshua’s nursery and had some banners and robots custom made. Ayu is a wonderful lady and I hope you enjoy meeting her as much as I have.
So, here’s Ayu’s Fabulous Jakartan Friday Interview.
Tell me more, tell me more
1. First, tell us a little bit about you. What’s your background? Where did you grow up?
I grew up on small and beautiful city called Solo-or Surakarta. My mother was very fond of fabrics and crafts and this shaped me into what I am now. As many parents wish for their kids to pursue their dream via school -so did my parent-, I ended up studying Economics & Marketing and worked on the biggest car manufacturer in Indonesia afterward. I just couldn’t give up my childhood dream to have my own fabric-related business. Now my marketing background helps me a lot with my business
2. I love your shop Strawberry Patch! I loved decorating the boy’s rooms with your banners and cute robots and wish I had a girl to buy some rag dolls. How long have you had Strawberry Patch for? What’s the best thing that has come from Strawberry Patch?
I had another fabrics-related venture called Botanica Indonesia -which specialized on Batik- since 1998 but decided to swift into more colorful fabrics on 2007, right after I had my daughter. I was living in Sydney and Batik was not huge back there. Finding beautiful patterned fabrics was not difficult in Sydney and its easy access for fabrics flourished my idea and creativity. Now that I live in Jakarta, I see the opportunity for Strawberry Patch to grow, means I could help empowering people more. To see the joy on my customers once they received items they ordered, or seeing my staff able to put her kids on school, its in-description moment for me.
Living in Jakarta
1. What three adjectives would describe Jakarta the best?
BIG, BUSTLING, BUSY
2. What’s your biggest Jakarta Love and Jakarta Hate?
Food, and traffic for sure.
3. How do you find the sweetness beneath the Prickly Surface of the Big Durian?
Unexpected things happen a lot and it always lead to another door of opportunity and pump up positive energy –meeting new friends, see people helping other in unthinkable way; to name a few.
4. What activities or things keep you happy and thriving in Jakarta?
My business –it helps empowering women- and my family, of course!
5. For a first time visitor coming to Jakarta, what would you recommend they try out that is uniquely Jakartan? A specific food, activity, or place?
Museum Nasional – some call it Museum Gajah, since it has an elephant statue given by King of Thailand standing in its front yard- is great place to start. Taman Mini Indonesia Indah showcases beautiful architecture of Indonesian houses -and culture too.
Sate Khas Senayan serves beautiful Indonesia food that quite friendly with foreigner’s tummies. I always treat my friends -or recommend it to friends- this place. The Owner should give me discount for keep promoting this place
6. If you were to move somewhere else and not be able to come back to Jakarta, what Indonesian thing would you stock up on?
Dried Crackers a.k.a Kerupuk
Traveling in Indonesia
1. If you could only visit one place in Indonesia while in Jakarta what would it be?
2. What is the best advise to anyone traveling with kids in Indonesia?
Plan carefully. Can’t do very tight schedule with small window as hurdles can pop up anytime along the way. Give yourself enough time to move from one place to another, even it only short distance.
3. Bali or Lombok?
4. Yogyakarta or Jungle Trekking in Sulawesi or Krakatau?
1. What’s your favorite activity to do with your kids while in Jakarta?
Go to traditional market , or places where my kids can experience real Indonesia life and local culture.
2. What are your favorite places and things in Jakarta for Kids
- Playground: Playground in Kemang Dalam
- Classes: We love cooking and crafting. At home. So really have no clear answer for this.
- Clothing Stores: Nothing in particular. I made most of my daughter dresses and frocks, and my son shirts.
- Toy Stores: Toys Kingdom
- Snacks: We hang out quite often at Il Supremo Café at Periplus Kemang. Books and snacks in one place. Perfect.
Crafting in Jakarta
1. What’s your favorite place to buy fabric in Jakarta?
2. Is there ONE place you recommend where we can find anything and everything for crafting and sewing?
There is ONE shop in Pasar Mayestik in South Jakarta called Toko Maju. Don’t get off with its small appearance from outside, step in and you’ll only be saying ‘wow’ for it massive collection of everything craft. I could spend hours inside this two story shop. (Ana says she didn’t realize it was two stories!!! I will have to go again soon!)
3. Where do you think is the best place to buy a sewing machine and have it repaired if it needs to?
A shop in Glodok area in West Jakarta selling all sewing machine related things and they do repairs too. Can’t remember the name as my sewing machine never comes back there for repair since I bought it 14 years ago!
4. Is there an Indonesian material that is so unique you recommend people buy if they are leaving Jakarta?
Batik is popular, and easy to carry home. Just have to know where to get the good one. If have no time to look around traditional batik market, I like to recommend people to get Batik from Batik Keris chain-store. They stock up decent quality batik -and souvenirs too.
Eating in the Big Durian
1. What’s your favorite Indonesian restaurant in Jakarta?
Sate Khas Senayan. Isn’t it obvious?
2. What about your favorite “Western” restaurant?
3. What is the one Indonesian dish that everyone should try?
Sate ayam -it has different style with its Malaysian counterpart- and Soto Ayam -clear chicken soup with vermicelli and been sprout-
Oh and Tempe Goreng !
4. Could you share a short and sweet recipe for an authentic Indonesian dish so I can pretend I learned to cook Indonesian…
Chicken satay, you could do easy way using store-bought peanut sauce (ECO Brand has authentic Indonesia taste!) and preparing your 1/2kg boneless chicken breast, diced and marinated –overnight is the best- with 2 tbs of kecap manis, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground white pepper and 2 cloves of minced garlic.
Soak your bamboo skewers about 30minutes before barbecueing , put your diced chicken on pre-soaked skewer and grill over BBQ about 5-10 minutes. Pan-grilled is also doable. Then enjoy it!
Thank you very much for joining us in Stumble Abroad today, just one more request:
Describe what life in Jakarta is like in one sentence.