A Taste of Jepara
    Category: Entrepreneurs By : Renjani Puspo Sari Read : 1724 Date : Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 07:42:57

    Arif Nugroho for Forbes Indonesia

    Jepara has long been the center of wood furniture industry in Indonesia. “We focus on high-quality furniture for upscale buyers,” says Muhammad Jamhari, founder of Raisa House, which claims to be the largest furniture maker in Jepara, shipping about 20 containers a month. Raisa House exports to five continents, with its primary markets being Europe and Australia. Its customers have included a resort in the Canary Islands and a Korean restaurant in Madrid. For an exhibition purposes, a few years ago, he created a replica of the U.S. President’s office.

    “Fifteen years ago, we got an order to fill all rooms and presidential suites of the Ritz Carlton Hotel Atlanta with our products. As it was a direct order, they requested very unique detailing for the furniture in the style of Chinese ornaments. The hotel even picked their order up themselves by plane,” says Jamhari.

    He established his company when he was still a student at the University of Airlangga in Surabaya some 23 years ago. His first market was U.S. However, in spite of its success, Raisa’s brand is still not that well known in the global market. That’s because many buyers put their brand on Raisa’s furniture.

    One aspect of Raisa that differentiates it from many other Jepara makers is that nearly all of its furniture is handmade, while most other makers use machinery. Raisa mostly uses mahogany, 70% of which is supplied from a local sources, instead of the more popular teakwood. Mahogany tends to be favored by European buyers while Asian buyers like teakwood. High-quality mahogany furniture, treated well, can last up to 30 years, says Jamhari. With his success in furniture, he has also expanded into a number of other businesses, including a bookstore, hardware, car rental and property.