Pak Angga’s nickname is Gooding, and this is the name he used for his handicraft business for the first 10 years after it began in 1989. During this time, he sold to buyers from abroad traveling through Kuta, including an Australian known as Neil, and an American, ‘Mr Kurt’. He originally found these buyers by taking his jewellery samples to Kuta beach.
“Neil talked about how Indonesian batik is similar to aboriginal design, so we had this interest in common,” says Pak Angga.
Neil and Pak Angga worked together for two years, after which he began successfully promoting his designs to Italian shop, Kaya-Gaja, meaning ‘Rich in Style’. Here, Pak Angga took on new ideas for designs of Christmas decorations, which is now his primary product. These new designs attracted German buyer, Rudi Ernst, from whom he received a lot of product development ideas.
In the beginning, Pak Angga worked primarily with wood, but has now expanded to include steel and shell.
“It’s easy to work with wood in Bali because there are many sources and you can find nice colours,” he says.
Mr Kurt was also continuing work with Pak Angga when his wife Wayan Kasiani passed away during the birth of their second child. For one year after this, Pak Angga stopped making handicrafts. Mr Kurt, who had known Bu Kasiani and the couple’s first son, was able to support Pak Angga and convince him to begin working again.
“He said he would help me financially with whatever I needed,” says Pak Angga. “But I told him I wanted to work for the payment.”
Soon after, Pak Angga met Ukrumah of Pekerti, when she visited his shop in Tampaksiring. By this time, Pak Angga was producing at full capacity again and with a renewed motivation, particularly with the business’ new name, Kasiani.
Six years on, Pak Angga has taken on the role of mentor, helping one of his sub-contractors to expand his own business, with Pak Angga’s assistance in quality control.
“Pekerti makes the effort to tell me how to attract customers and improve product quality. There is a lot of competition in export, and Pekerti works with us personally,” says Pak Angga.
“With Pekerti’s help I hope my son can learn how to expand this business to include not only handicrafts.”