1. When was the moment you knew you wanted to spend your life with your partner?
I have met my partner back in 2007. After having tested him for about 10 years we finally married here in Bali following my Javanese cultural traditions. I knew I wanted to spend my life with him after seeing how much he cared for my children.
2. How do you balance work & family life?
To be honest, there isn’t much balance right now. We both work extremely hard as our business is slowly expanding. Where I love to just sit in my cave and draw up new designs and oversee our business operations, Jeroen tries to spend more time with the children. Where I just love to work and lose myself in my creative bubble, it is Jeroen who functions as the glue in my life to keep the family together. That’s what I believe is team work.
3. Which culture/s have most influenced you & why?
I am originally from the island of Java which has an ancient culture filled with traditions, mysticism and heritage. I feel blessed to live and work here in Bali. I am firmly rooted in both the Javanese and the Balinese culture.
Vintage French fashion has always fascinated me since I was a teenager. I have always loved the bohemian feeling. About three years ago, when we decided to start our own label Tulle and Batiste, it was therefor an easy choice to give our label a French sounding name.
4. Where do you go, on your own, to find peace?
After a long day of work there isn’t much better to lay in bed and find peace in my prayers and in meditation. I am blessed to own and operate a beautiful resort in East Java, named Bangsring Breeze. We try our best to visit this oasis on the slopes of the mighty Kawah Ijen volcano, overlooking the Bali Straits separating Bali from Java, once every 3-4 weeks.
5. What is your definition of “bohemian”?
I feel “bohemian” stands for a free spirit without having any boundaries. Bohemia is a mental fairyland without any preformulated paths. It’s a place where one must choose and find one’s own path. A mindset in which to be one’s own self and love one’s own life.
6. What roles do you each have in the business?
I am currently leading a lovely team of 44 persons ranging in age from 20 till 56, coming from the islands of Bali and Java. Besides developing and producing for a few other Australian labels, each Tulle and Batiste piece is personally designed by myself and my small team of pattern makers. Our purposely trained and highly skilled artisans produce each Tulle and Batiste garment by hand, with lots of love and care for detail and quality, here in my own Bali based factory.
The doors to our Bali based factory are always open. Whether you would like to see how we work, check out some of our latest collections or for a simple hello, we would love to welcome you and show you around.
7. What is your opinion of the fashion industry at the moment?
The fashion industry is fast and fierce. There is just so much competition, there are so many good designers. I could write books about our experience of having produced for some well known Australian designers and labels. How it feels to be operating on the bottom of the production chain.
I take pride in my label and our production. Unlike most other labels, we don’t work with agents or third party manufacturers somewhere on the other side of the world. We produce all our clothing in our own Bali based factory. That’s the key to our success. Having had first hand experience of producing for a number of well known Australian labels, I know what’s important and how to operate a truly ethical business.
We are not followers of trends, I design and create whatever and whenever I want. We are proud supporters of slow fashion, which is why we design clothing intended to last. The clothes we love wearing most will last longer with good care.
8. What has been your greatest life lesson so far?
Be humble in life and never forget where you came from. Start from the bottom in your career and learn the basics first. I have started as a nanny living abroad in Singapore and was blessed to have been taught some valuable life lessons while working there. Work hard, get up when you are down, believe in yourself and pray, dream big and never give up.
9. If you didn’t have the business, what would you be doing?
No doubt I would have set up some other type of business in any another industry. I don’t know what and where, but I definitely know I would have taken any opportunity coming on my path head on.
Truthfully though, I cannot imagine a life without designing. I have always created. From necessity because we didn’t have the financial means till today. My hands become itchy when I am not creating something, when I am not designing a new style. I can design a whole collection in one day. The gates of inspiration have been opened to me and I feel an urgency to keep designing. I feel blessed receiving this much inspiration.
10. What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but have been too scared to?
To dive into the deep blue ocean. From childhood experiences I fear the deep blue. My partner has tried taking me with him on snorkelling trips nearby our resort Bangsring Breeze. The fear is just all consuming and it’s definitely something I need to overcome.
11. What’s the first thing you notice about people?
From looking people in the eyes I understand with whom I am meeting.
12. Do you have a special talent not many know about?
I can read people’s mind. Some say I am an Indonesian witch, others that I am the representation of Nyai Loro Kidul. I guess that’s why my partner doesn’t allow me to cut my hair short 🙂
13. What’s your biggest pet peeve?
I might not understand what a “pet peeve” means, but I am in love with the beautiful angels here in Bali. We love to rescue the dogs and cats here in Bali. We leave room for the office cats and dogs to roam around and nap as much as they wish. Currently we house a total of 17 dogs and 8 cats.
14. What is one dream you have yet to accomplish?
To travel to Europe with my family and visit all those beautiful historical towns.
15. What are 3 things you value most about a person?
Loyalty, honesty and integrity.
16. Which historical figure do you admire the most & why?
Raden Adjeng Kartini. She was a prominent Indonesian heroine from Java. She was a pioneer in the area of education for girls and women’s rights for Indonesians. Kartini was not only someone fighting to elevate the status of women in Indonesia, she was also a nationalist figure with new ideas, who struggled on behalf of her people and played a role in the national struggle for independence of my country.
17. What quote resonates most with you & why?
The moment you become innocent, you have found a direct line to the divine. Your heartbeat synchronises with the heartbeat of the universe.