Do you ever wonder ‘who made my bag?’ We don’t blame you. Which is why this month we are taking you behind-the-scenes to introduce you to some of the skilled people whose hands and hard work are instrumental in bringing your favourite Ovae creations to you.
Currently all of our leather accessories are made in one little production house in Indonesia. It’s set in a typical Muslim community with the local mosque’s call to prayer echoing across the streets several times a day. The workshop has adjoining accommodation and a kitchen, and some of our workers live on site. It’s a simple but comfortable space, and in true Indo-style, the back door opens on to a rice paddy complete with chickens and dogs.
Here works our small but tight team of nine. The team are from all over the country, and have moved for work. For those that are young and single it’s a first taste of independence, and for others it’s an opportunity to make enough money to send back to their families.
We caught up with some of the team to ask about their work.
Teddy (30) is our Master Tailor. He is responsible for training the team, and overseeing their work. If anyone has a concern with the construction, design or functionality of a product they come straight to Teddy.
Teddy is proud of his craft, and utilises traditional weaving, braiding and knotting techniques in his work. “Often the bags and wallets require intricate hand-work and attention to detail. For example, our Florence Woven Travel Tote has full panels of traditional weaving. If you aren’t focussed doing this type of work, the end result can suffer. I really love to work on the more challenging designs. It’s satisfying when you get the finished product perfect.”
Yudha is 20 years old. He is from Malang where he lived with his parents, brother and grandmother. After finishing high school he came to us for work. He is one of our Tailors; responsible for cutting, stitching and gluing Ovae’s leather accessories.
“I really enjoy working for Ovae. Sometimes we have deadlines and we have to work fast but mostly the job is relaxed. The working environment is clean and comfortable, and everyone is friendly… If there is a problem at work, we all get together and look for a joint solution.”
Ricky (21) is a Senior Tailor. “You need lots of skills for this job. You need to be able to get along with your colleagues, but you also need to be able to work independently… When we start working with a new design it can be challenging, but it’s also rewarding. For example, the style and shape of the Harlequin Leather Round Bag is unlike anything we have made in the past. As it is so unique, we had to work off a drawing as opposed to basing it on existing bag. It took a lot of time and care to get the design features right. But in the end it worked out and the bag is one of our best.”
Vicky (19), known as ‘Topek,’ does a little bit of everything. A typical day might include shopping for materials, packing and despatching the finished products, or running errands.
His family is in Java, but Topek says, “They are very happy for me that I have this job. They always support me. I get to live here with friends.”
Topek’s favourite part of working for Ovae is the team he works with. “We are always talking and joking about. The whole team has become friends. It’s a very happy place to work.”
Ahmad (23) agrees. The tailor says, “We have become a family… Sometimes we have deadlines and we have to be serious to get the work done. But we all get along and if there is a problem we talk with each other.”
Ahmed also utilises traditional craftsmanship skills in his work, often giving traditional designs a modern twist. “Our covered metal hardware takes inspiration from knotting detail from Java. Traditionally it was done with seagrass, but we do it with leather.”
At just 25, Siti is our wonder woman who oversees our day-to-day operations. Siti is responsible for ordering raw materials and maintains great relationships with our vendors through our supply chain. She works all over Indonesia and also liaises daily with our Australian operations.
Siti says, “I get to be involved in lots of different things in my job which is has been a great learning opportunity for me. I have been able to develop lots of new skills which I am very proud of.”
She also manages the human resources, a responsibility she is passionate about. “I believe that staff morale is so important. If the staff are unhappy, the work suffers. So I really try and ensure everyone feels supported and valued, and that the team has the right balance of personalities and skills. Because our team are happy working for Ovae we have very little turnover of staff and now we become like a family.”
There you have it. We are pretty proud of this little group and can’t wait to show you what they have in store for you next season.
Ovae’s Resident Blogger