Flower Power
    Category: Entrepreneurs By : Renjani Puspo Sari Read : 1475 Date : Saturday, May 11, 2013 - 14:25:28

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    While still a college student, Nadya Saib started her first business. With two other students at the Bandung Technology Institute, Fitria Muftizal and Amirah Alkaff, she established Wangsa Jelita at the end of the school year in 2008. From that humble start, her company now has a turnover of Rp 170 million a year, exports its products to markets such as Malaysia and Singapore, and has six full-time employees.

    Her first and flagship product? Rose soap. Nadya actually planned to produce strawberry soap but changed her mind after seeing rose farms in Lembang, north of Bandung. Middlemen took about 70% of the rose crops, leaving the rest to waste, as the stems were too short. Yet she realized those discarded roses had value. They weren't good enough to display but still could make great soap. After rose soap, she started to expand her product line. Today she has four other soaps: apple, castile, green tea and tumeric, and other products such as lavender oil and body lotion. She also wanted her business to have a social purpose, as she saw that the farmers received little while the middlemen took most of the profits. The Lembang farmers earned, on average, just Rp 1.5 million a month. “First, soaps and cosmetic products are my passion, as I love to beautify skin. Second, this business is not just a way to earn a profit, we want to help farmers and not the middlemen, and give the farmers another way to make money,” says Nadya.

    Her plan is not to create a mass-market product, but rather have a low-volume premium product in a sustainable way. She sells Wangsa Jelita soap at Rp 25,000 a bar, more expensive than many mainstream soaps but cheaper than many imported luxury soaps. Discerning consumers are often willing to pay for a product that has a social benefit and higher quality. A social entrepreneur shop in Singapore named Daughters of Tomorrow started carrying her products. The shop sold 1,000 bars Wangsa Jelita soap last year and ordered 5,000 more this year. ‘’It's two times bigger than our normal output,’’ she says. She also often gets special orders to make 500 or a 1,000 soap bars for corporate events or as a gift for wedding guests. In 2011, she got a soap order from Fauzi Bowo, the governor of Jakarta at that time.