Artisan Organization: Juli Astiti
"When I finished elementary school I used to contribute to the family's finances by collecting sand from places around Klungkung and sell it as construction building material. My father was an elementary school teacher and we were nine children, though three of my siblings have passed away. We lived in Klungkung, a small regency in Bali.
"After I finished studying economics at Pendidikan National University I worked in a company for a year. Then I got married and we have three children – they bring happiness and strong spirit to my life.
"I did bamboo handcrafts before, but the demand wasn't so good, so I decided to try with home accessories and sandals, and it was a good decision for my products have found good acceptance. Now I have seven people in my team, and we work with 20 more people.
"I want my products to look different to what others' offer, so I design all the items myself or sometimes I just improve the designs that the artisans bring to ensure originality. Bali is a lovely island that is rich in arts and cultural significance, so I have no problem getting ideas for new designs.
"The main materials I use are glass beads, wire, resin, coconut shell, and different types of woods for our home décor accessories, leather and rubber for the sandals. The home accessories are crafted with traditional and manual tools like needles, hammers and pliers. However, the glass beads are actually not easy to deal with. They are imported from China, and sometimes the color received may slightly vary with what I expected.
"I have had to learn about business through experience, like receiving big orders and completing them, and then customers canceling at the last minute. Now I understand there is a certain risk in this business and thanks to God, I was able to sell all those products.
"I hope this association with Novica will be a good start for my products to compete in the worldwide market.""