My favourite part of my job as a buyer was sourcing and working with independent creatives, developing a commercial product that would sit on the shelves. Now I wanted to do that for myself.
Spending 5 months in India, I spied two opportunities that were promising and exciting (more from those later!) but I was yet to find something that would blow me away and that I could really run with until I found Lana's workshop in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
We had flown to Yogyakarta (also known as Yogya, pronouncing the Y as a J) about two thirds of the way into our trip. We had been away for 7 months and having spent 5 weeks island hopping from Bali to Lombok and the Gili Islands (just off the island of Lombok) totally blissed out - with only horse drawn carts to get around,
|I still cant believe the beauty of the pale turquoise water on |
As you can imagine the islands were hard to leave but instantly I fell in love with Yogya city.
I knew it was here that great things were going to happen! I felt very at home. The pace was relaxed but busy - mixing the old with the new. The most wonderful fresh food, indoor markets and street food vendors selling bakso and soto
One afternoon, I literally walked off the street, into a shop that caught my eye and after a lot of smiling, nodding and giggling, I met Lana, the owner of the workshop and the seed in our relationship was immediately sown.
I couldn’t believe what I saw - rows and rows of rolls of colourful printed mendong.
I have worked with this fabric mendong before out of Indonesia, knew it sold well made into boxes, home office and table top in the UK and immediately could see huge potential in what Lana's workshop were doing.
Her team of workers construct and assemble the product whilst her brother supplies the woven and printed mendong fabric from villages in East Java.