Indonesia: weaving dreams through handicraft


Akarya Mandiri group was founded in the late 1995 by Darwati (60). Akarya Mandiri group makes products from natural materials such as vetiver, water hyacinth, palm leaf rib, banana leaf, mendhong and others.

The production facility, which is also used as showroom, hosts many collections of Akarya Mandiri​​. There are about 50 types of products consisting of various sizes. There are sunshade, bag, placemat clothes, pillow cases, mats, prayer mats, etc. And also decorative products like rickshaw, glass frames, dolls, artificial bird and others. Everything is neatly packed in this showroom in Bothokan Village, Argosari, Sedayu, Bantul, Yogyakarta.

Being a business woman producing belts of natural materials since the 70s, Darwati then tried to produce another craft product. "Initially, I tried to produce it, if you do not try, you will never know your capabilities". Darwati said when was asked how to start a business of this craft. In 1995, Darwati started her business by marketing her own craft around Yogyakarta. Then there were traders from Jakarta who were interested in the product, and eventually purchased for wholesale. Middling direction to success has begun to appear, it happened in 1998. Then in 1999 there was a man from Semarang (central Java) who ordered bags of vetiver as many as 500 pieces, and he would use the bags as a souvenir for his birthday.

Darwati created the brand Akarya Mandiri and apllied it on all her handicrafts. Her brilliant idea worked well, people started to notice about her products. She admitted that her venture really started from zero, however, thanks to her hard work, she was able to buy traditional weaving machine, one by one, until reaching now ten units operated by approximately 20-30 group members. "From the beginning I started this business by myself, I tried to make what the buyer requested, I did not depend on anyone, little capital. Therefore I named my business Karya Mandiri."  As result of her hard efforts, as mother of two daughters, she was able to send her two daughters to the university.

In 1998 Akarya Mandiri started to have partnership with Pekerti. At the first stage of partnership, Pekerti helped this group to increase their skills by providing training in quality control and production management.

Story contributor: Pekerti
For International Women's Day 2018 celebration