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Artesan Profile : Kisaku Heritage

Artesan Profile : Kisaku Heritage

Kisaku is an online platform specialising in modern heritage-infused fashion and home decor collections, which are carefully curated from Indonesian artisans and craftmakers. It is a space where traditional techniques (such as those used in hand-woven ikat and batik, hand weaving of wicker products, bark cloth products, etc) meet modern styles.

Kisaku works with passionate Indonesian designers and artisans specialising in crafting batik and other heritage-infused fashion collections.

Our partners are exclusively selected for their commitment to quality and their passion for heritage-inspired fabrics and materials depicting rich meaning through detailed intricacies. They are also chosen for their ingenuity in crafting the fabrics and materials into modern wear to bring only the best for your next statement piece.

We promote, encourage and empower Indonesian craftspeople to keep the story going. Part of the profit will allow us to up-skill Indonesian creative talents through our MicroEduLoan and participate in women empowerment programs.

Kisaku was officially launched on 6 January 2016, but we have started working on the idea since end of 2015.

Why Kisaku Heritage came into existence

Kisaku is derived from the Indonesian word “Kisahku” which means “My Story”.

Kisaku is all about…
prints and patterns that carry with them stories of yesteryears,
fabric and designs that accentuate our personalities, and
lending a hand to the future generations who will keep our stories going.

Founders Felicia and Lenny met through their postgraduate study. Each has been separately searching for avenues to give back to their home country in ways that empower the talented future generations.

On one Sunday afternoon over cups of lattes, they put their heads together to talk over some ideas. Through their travels, education and work, they have been blessed with countless encouraging help in the form of time, grants and mentorship from various people and organisations and wish to pass these blessings forward. Marrying up their interests in education and deep appreciation of Indonesia’s rich heritage, they settled on opening up an online platform that promotes wearable heritage. We believe there is so much more to Indonesia’s heritage and culture. Our beautiful country has so much to offer, yet so little is known about it.

The online platform is created to be a channel for professionals and entrepreneurs who are passionate about helping and empowering others by enabling them to gain practical skills and further develop themselves. The education loan that Lenny received for her tertiary education inspired the MicroEduLoan program which will be the vehicle to ensure the gift will keep giving. We believe in giving a hand up, not a handout.

 

Indonesia’s rich heritage transpiring through fabrics and handicrafts were chosen for their uniqueness and distinct characteristics.

In our recent visit to our partners, we had the the opportunity to interview our artisans and further confirm our understanding about their needs. Firstly, they need the help to upskill so what they produce can stay relevant to the market demand. Secondly, they need the access to the marketplace. It is only if their products are selling that they can continue creating and making all the wonderful fabrics and handicrafts that they have been doing. A lot of young generations have lost interest in continue doing what their parents and grandparents are doing as they find it hard to sustain a good living. They prefer fast-cash producing jobs, such as working in the factory or shops, instead of being artisans. If this continues, this will be a big danger to our country’s heritage and culture, as we will have nobody left as artisans!

Kisaku Products

Kisaku sells unique crafted batik, tenun ikat and other Indonesian heritage-infused clothes, scarfs, bags, wallets, clutches and accessories collections with a modern twist. We work closely with the products makers, providing frequent feedback on market preference and customer demand and providing design inputs that in turn allow them to continue improve their quality and product offering.

The producers

We work with Indonesian artisans and craft-people through partnering organisations. One thing in common among our partners is they share our vision to promote, sustain and share Indonesia’s rich culture and heritage with the world. We all hope to create better living world for the future generations through craftsmanship and innovation and hence, keeping the stories going.

One of our partners aims to economically empower women of childbearing age by facilitating relationships between female wicker weavers and customers, providing alternative employment to subsistence agriculture and thus reducing unsafe pregnancy among the women.

Another supplier works with female inmates, teaching them craft skills to sew dresses for our much loved Batik girl dolls. The proceed from the sales of the dolls will be used to support the female inmates. Through past program of “1000 Batik Girls for Indonesia” and the current program “1000 Batik Girls for ASEAN”, we support the kids from unfortunate families such as street kids or kids who are undergoing medical treatments, without much support from their marginalised parents.

Some other suppliers provide women empowerment programs by teaching the women from the marginalised neighbourhood craft skills so they could earn some decent living for their families.

Yet another supplier works to redefine Batik-making process involving mathematical formula from computer program so that the younger generation is attracted to explore their creativity and apply that to the Batik-making process.

Ethical and fair trade values in business

We always ensure that our partners comply with ethical and fair trade practice and embed the values in their business and operations. These are in fact our mandatory requirements. We will also ensure we audit them from time to time to ensure that these requirements are held true.

Unfortunately, there is no ethical and fair trade certification in Indonesia yet. We hope to help initiate this in our country moving forward.

‘Conscious consumers’

We always look for opportunities to reach out to our conscious consumers by taking part in events which are promoting sustainability, ethical and fair trade values. We also reach out to collaborate with like-minded suppliers / makers or event organisers, or other organisations who care about what we are doing, like yourself.

We would also like to promote the stories behind our makers and the product-making so we can connect and engage more with the conscious consumers who value the story behind the products.
Consumers are becoming more conscious about who makes their products, where their products come from, what is the story behind the product-making. Consumers are also more curious to know more about the inspirations and stories behind each product design. They are looking for alternative to fast fashion and would appreciate slow fashion and creative / unique products more than mass-produced products.

Once the consumers could appreciate the making process, the stories behind it and the purpose/objective that the brand is trying to achieve, they are more willing to support and spend for the products.

If opportunities present, we will seek to interview our customers or stall visitors. We will normally do this when we have any events / markets which allow us to have face to face interaction with them. We will ask what they like / dislike, what their thoughts are about our products, what they will look for or what they would like to see (their preferences) and what values they hold which will impact on their purchasing decisions.

We also benchmark ourselves to similar brands or platforms which sell similar products. We ‘observe’ from where and what their customers shop / buy, and will try to increase the awareness of our products among these customers.

Our biggest challenge has been to prove that Indonesian products are worthy of the customers’ attention. Indonesian products are beautiful, of good quality and has so much meaning; they are simply so special.

Through our recent encounters with our customers both offline and online, we have started to receive the acknowledgement – which is definitely a progress worth celebrating.

In the future, we are also looking to host some field trips to visit our makers – so stay tuned to learn more about the new programs.

For more information about Kisaku Heritage visit: http://www.kisaku.com.au/


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