Artisan Organization: Rosalia Tarigan
"I was born in North Sumatra, the youngest of four sisters. When I was a girl, I liked to play doctor and I thought I wanted to be a doctor but, after high school, I changed my mind and studied engineering in West Java.
"Working several years for an additive company made me realize that my passion was not really in engineering. The rich jewelry traditions of the people of Indonesia attracted my attention, and I wanted to be part of that tradition.
"Around 2002, I went on a business trip to East Java. I took a day off, walked around the area and talked with the local people. I found out some silver workshops had closed down and gone out of business. The people I met told me that around, 1980, the area was famous for their silver crafts. I was starting to get excited, as I thought that I could find a talented silversmith in this area. It wasn't difficult to interact with the people and, after visiting an old workshop, I felt a good chemistry to work together with a widow whose name is Ibu Indun.
"We started by making up the old workshop, where most of the equipment is traditional and manual. I am responsible for office work, design, and marketing. Ibu Indun does the beautiful crafting, and my sister manages the workshop. There aren't a lot people in the workshop, just Ibu Indun's relatives who don't live far from her house.
"I combine traditional and modern styles to make a collection that is not only beautiful to look at, but a pleasure to wear. I love to use silver in my collections, as silver has beautiful color and is easy to clean. With silver, the designs seem to have a soul.
"Unfortunately, I didn't have experience selling jewelry. I started selling it door to door, and it was such a hard time that I was feeling down, not knowing what to do with the collections. But there is always a way even when we think there isn't. A friend mentioned that Indonesia's Trade Ministry offered programs to sponsor small business projects, so I went and registered our jewelry project, took the screening test, and good news came. We were sponsored to participate in a national jewelry exhibition.
"Now we are active in local and international exhibitions, and we also receive consignments from the capital.
"Since our workshop is situated in a small city, the availability of materials is limited. We had to purchase silver, gemstones and pearls from Bali. We realized then that we needed to collaborate with silversmiths in Bali, so we send them our jewelry to set the gems and finish. Having a partner in Bali has made us stronger without having to leave our workshop in East Java.
"One day I phoned my sister and I told her I was planning to sell our jewelry online, but I didn't have any idea how to do it. She researched some online websites and found a great partner that we could collaborate with. She told me, 'I found a wonderful website and I already contacted them. Let's wait for their reply.'
"You replied to our email, and we were jumping up and down, laughing together. We are so happy – this is the time. It's time to show our collections to the world. Thank you!""