Cemprut: Life Must ‘Craft On!’*

‘Craft On!’ That’s the closing line used by Cemprut, an indie craft label, which is owned by Sri Rahadiyanti Aphrodita (Dita) and Agung Nuzul Wibowo (Agung). This line also represents the spirit of the young couple, to keep crafting and creating something, no matter what.

It was in early 1990’s when Dita started her hobby as a crafter. She was still in the elementary school when she first made pencil topper. She crafts anything and everything ever since. From personalized pins to photo frames, from jeans bags to cute plushy dolls.

She inherits this skill from her parents who are both art lover. But she never thought that she would make business out of this hobby.

“At first, I made things just for my self. It wasn’t for business. But then, knowing that I made crafts by myself, my classmates started to make some orders,” she explained.

This friendship-based “business” remains until Dita went to study International Relations at Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta where she met Agung, her husband. They tied the knot on January 2007 and moved to Tangerang as Agung got a job in a shoes factory.

Agung soon realizes that Dita is not an office person so he allows her to work from home.

“She’s a creative person. She works in a mood swing. I can’t imagine her being stuck in an office and doing same things every day,” Agung explained.

So Dita started making crafts and sold them at Sunday market, bazaar and so on. She got inspirations from books, blogs or other crafters and did all the process by herself.

Afterwards, Dita received more orders so she decided to have her very own label and ran an online shop in 2008. She named her product Cemprut because it’s her nickname when she was little. Dita also created a blog in Multiply where she wrote her creative process and tutorials.

However, Cemprut gained its popularity after its blog moved to BlogSpot. They began to get invitation from crafter community, craft sellers, and receive media attention. They all know Cemprut from its blog http://www.cemprut.cc.

Being in the craft business for almost nine years, Cemprut has spanned its market nationally and internationally. Started with (just) a hobby, Cemprut is now one of the most wanted crafts in Indonesia with thousand followers on Facebook and Instagram.

People love Cemprut for its uniqueness and its limited availability. Cemprut often makes unusual characters such as Frida Kahlo and The Beatles so its fans are not only kiddos but also adults. The names of the products are also distinctive because they mostly in Javanese such as Bledug for elephant shape doll series, Kirwo for the dog shape doll series, and Satriyo&Srikandhi for superheroes series.

Cemprut also has a unique way to market its products. Cemprut does not sell its products. Instead, Cemprut lets people adopt its products for certain prices through lahiran process or literally translated “giving birth”. This is not merely a marketing strategy. For Cemprut, this is the way to show that their products are made with love.

“They’re like my children. I made them with all my heart. Sometimes I even cry when people adopt my plushies,” Dita said.

Now Dita does not make products by order anymore. She is the one who decide what products could be adopted in the lahiran. Even the lahiran has no fixed schedule so their adopters should keep their eyes on Cemprut’s Facebook account http://www.facebook.com/cemprutindiecraft or Instagram account @cemprutindiecraft to be updated.

Once the products’ pictures have been uploaded in Cemprut’s Facebook page, people can leave comment to adopt. The first person that leaves “adopt” or “adopsi” comment will be the potential adopter and she/he will receive notification from Cemprut to send the address and phone number via email or Facebook Messenger. From there, the adoption process proceeds.

Every lahiran, Cemprut makes up to 200 products that can be adopted for Rp. 50.000 – Rp. 300.000 each. Even though Dita doesn’t accept order anymore and now has five assistants to help her, she is still overwhelmed with the creative process.

Knowing that his wife has too much on her plate, Agung decided to leave his job and helped her out with the administration stuffs. It can be said that Dita is the artist while Agung is the social media and marketing manager.

“I mostly help in the distribution level. I handle the social media accounts for the lahiran. I control everything from the moment the products were booked to the time they were delivered,” Agung said.

“He is also balancing me. I tend to follow my mood when creating something, but mas Agung tells me which products are quickly adopted and which products aren’t. I need someone to keep me on the track because we also make money from Cemprut now,” Dita added.

Some people recognize them as couplepreneur, as they are couple that does business together. This often creates problem as they can slip to mix up personal life and business life.

“Sometimes we argue because we have different ideas on her crafts, and we haven’t resolved the differences before we wind up in bed at the end of the day,” Agung admitted.

However, Agung thinks that his decision to leave the job is for the better because his real passion is photography. Now as he “works” for Cemprut, he said he have more time to follow his passion.

Both Agung and Dita realize that their road as couplepreneur is not an easy one, but they know they’ll make it through. Because above it all, they believe that life must craft on!

*the edited version of this article has been published in The Jakarta Post

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