We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to sit down and talk with Ms. Enge, a legendary florist in the beautiful city of Surabaya. Ms. Enge is one of the industry pioneers from back when flower arrangement was not as popular yet. The works she create with her hands are made with love.. But no rose is without thorns (pun intended), and Ms. Enge is quick to point that the journey she took on was not without difficulty. She says perseverance is hands-down the most important character trait that helped her succeed among many other competitors. Here, we attempt to tell you a little bit about how she built and maintained her business.
How did you fall into this relationship with flowers? Have you always loved making things with your hands?
It was in 1975 when I visited a craft show, that was the first time I saw a flower uniquely made from a ribbon and it really strucked me.
Do you think one must be artistically inclined to start an business in the creative industry?
Yes, being artistic can be seen as uniqueness. One must find uniqueness in their product and made their business special and different than others.
How different is it to conceptualize something in your head (be it flower arrangements or even business plans) and actually executing it?
We must write it down what we have in our mind. All opportunities can become a good business as long as we work hard. Concept will only become a concept if we don’t have the courage and take action to actually executing it. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and make mistakes because only by doing it you will know the result.
How did you start this business and have it thrive in an oversaturated market?
I started with teaching people how to make flower with ribbon. Back then, the market is still wide open and only a few people were doing the same thing. Passion and perseverance are the only things that helps you to survive and thrive in the market.
Can you suggest some ways a novice/student can get started in this field?
You have to know the basic knowledge of flower arranging to begin with and it can be learned through joining short courses, books, or even YouTube. Nowadays, it’s a lot easier to learn because almost everything is on the internet. Once you learned the basic, you can start to make your own arrangement and try to sell it to your family, colleagues, or close friends. Usually these people will give you a honest feedback to improve and from there you can keep creating and by time word of mouth will bring you and your business grow to the next level.
Given that many Indonesians (especially the older folks) think of aesthetics as a secondary need/unnecessary luxury, how can we convince them otherwise?
We can only convince them through design, it’s our job to convince them with good design. But again, don’t focus on how to please everyone because not everyone can appreciate your works.
We really appreciate that you have been so supportive of our cause here at Basha. What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs, whatever their field may be?
The young generation must have the courage to create and never stop make a breakthrough in design using current technology and local products. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, dare to fail because through failure we will learn and become a better entrepreneur.
On the other hand, we are also very encouraged to see that Basha is very inclusive of all sectors of the demographic. What kind of support do you think the more mature entrepreneurs can contribute?
Experiences, patience and endurance. I think the younger generation want instant results, being famous and huge recognition from the public. The older generation can teach them about how to create a long lasting business and to be patient with the process.
What, do you think, is the most important trait that you have that has helped you succeed in your profession?
We are sure that this job is a very fulfilling one. Could you maybe tell us what is the most important/rewarding personal satisfaction of your day-to-day job?
For me customer satisfaction is the most rewarding satisfaction that cannot be substituted.
Finally, are you optimistic about the future of Indonesia’s creative industry?
Of course, no doubt Indonesia will have a bright future in the creative industry. We have the natural resources, the emerging market and the human resources. I think with the proper support from Government, this country can produce great designers. Right now, you can see that more designers have already participated and recognised in the international events, i.e fashion industry.
It surely is refreshing to meet a mentor who has seen it all to give us younger entrepreneurs some insight and motivation. As she mentioned, the only way to go is forward. There is no way to get to your destination than by walking the first step, and then another, and another.
Photos by State Photography.