Dressing Up
    Category: Entrepreneurs By : Janet Eom Read : 1885 Date : Sunday, January 12, 2014 - 17:14:53

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Irna Mutiara, 43, and Monika Jufry, 38, are at the forefront of a growing contingent of Indonesian Muslim fashion designers. They helped found the Hijabersmom community store in Jakarta, where local Muslim designers sell their products. In addition, they produce and sell Muslim ready-to-wear clothes, including wedding outfits. This expansion into producing special occasion clothes, not just everyday wear, meets a rising demand for luxury fashion from a growing group of middle-class women.

    In 2006, Irna opened Up2date Trimoda, which carries casual, chic clothing designed for Muslim women. Pieces sell on average for around Rp 500,000. The company, PT Trimoda Uptodate, has 200 permanent employees and 500 temporary staff. She feels Indonesia is a good market. After conducting research, Irna's team discovered that approximately 37 million women, 15% of the total population, have middle to high income levels.

    They assumed that each of these women would need at least two special outfits per year, one for Idul Fitri and one for Idul Adha, which meant there were 74 million pieces in the country. Assuming that women changed their outfits at least every few years, there would be demand in the millions. As the upper middle class had more disposable income, Irna decided to target them first before the lower middle class. With an initial startup capital of Rp 15 million, she opened her first store in ITC Kuningan in 2006. The same year, branches in Bandung, Surabaya, and Yogyakarta followed; in 2007, she opened one in Palembang.

    Monika, who received her fashion training at Sekolah Mode Susan Budiharjo in Jakarta, owns Sessa, which makes clothes geared towards older women, and 2Pose, a casual, ready-to-wear range for younger women. Both are all Muslim wear. Started in 1985 by her mother, Sessa began as a family business and sells products that run between Rp 1 to 3 million. It is sold at her three boutiques. Several department stores also carry the line: Sogo department stores in Jakarta and Surabaya, Pasaraya in Jakarta, Sarinah Thamrin in Jakarta, and Citrus department store in Bogor. Her company, PT Sessa Gasimandea, is still relatively small. 2Pose, which has been around for two years, sells products that run below Rp 1 million and are sold at her boutiques, as well as online through the  shopping sites Hijup.com and Zalora.

    Monika's eponymous wedding line, Monika Jufry, caters to women throughout Indonesia. But the demand is global. Irna's wedding line, Irna la Perle, carries dresses ranging from Rp 2 to 30 million; on average, a single overseas order runs above Rp 10 million. In fact, out of the two to three dresses that she sells per week, most orders come from abroad, mainly from Australia, Turkey and the U.S.