Before initiating Sepatokimin, we have been working with craft-based SMEs in the last mile villages and the more developed areas in Indonesia. We witnessed how craft production becomes a reliable livelihood option for communities with minimum access to formal employment. But often, the story only comes from communities with enough privilege to access good infrastructure: reliable network for communication, easy access to transportation and logistics, and opportunity to connect to market with almost no barrier.
But how about other communities in the rural and last-mile area, or communities with discrimination and stigmas around them? We found out that so many short-term programs and aids had failed to create lasting change—because it didn’t solve the core problem: the lack of access, skill, and knowledge. So, we traveled far to where these communities are and really took our time to sit and talk with them, to learn together hand in hand about how we can make lives better. Together, we invest at least 1 year of our time in learning and in growing. We facilitate the research, training, and mentoring needed by the community to create, elevate and manage their craft while capturing moments and their stories to share with you later on.
Producing intricate craft commodities has been an alternative source of income for mothers, farmers, and fishers in Indonesia’s rural villages. It is a smart and viable way to earn some more money between maintaining the land and household. The other bonus is: they play an essential role in preserving tradition and evolving culture in the community. But this informal setting often makes them vulnerable to be seen as unprofessional by the formal businesses in bigger cities, which frequently only leads to labor exploitation.
On the other side of the design and lifestyle industry, the need for ‘social-ecological conscious’ business practice is growing more than ever. More and more people are watching if their everyday products are ethically made: where the material came from, who made it, how the products were made, packaged, and shipped. It takes great effort to do a proper step towards a better ethical production practice, and collaboration is one way to make it work.
This platform will be the place where the empowered community and conscious brand/manufacturer connect and support each other. By collaborating with brands, manufacturers, or other initiatives, we hope that the community can pursue their economic freedom while also feeling empowered.
As a designer entering a big, harsh, competitive industry, we remember the time when we were once clueless. It was when wonderful mentors and colleagues showed us the way to access things we need to face the world—we feel empowered. But the world’s problem looks too big for our tiny hands. It was when we bring our fresh perspective and abilities to work on something with the same vision, we feel collectively empowered. In the Sepatokimin initiative, we want to share the same
feeling of empowerment to our friends in the last-mile and rural communities because we believe, we all have the same right to flourish.