Solopos.com, UNGARAN — Water hyacinth often becomes concern for fishermen in Lake Rawa Pening, Semarang Regency, Central Java (Central Java). However, in the hands of a young man from Tuntang, Firman Setyaji, 30, water hyacinth can be transformed into a high-value craft, even reaching the European market.
Firman employs a brand called Bengok Craft to market his water hyacinth handicrafts. Products with the Bengok Craft brand have also been exported to various countries such as Singapore, Japan, Italy, Dubai, and most recently Spain.
Met at his house, Firman admitted that Bengok Craft was founded in 2019. The name Bengok is taken from what local residents call water hyacinth which grows a lot in Rawa Pening. The idea of making a Bengok Craft production house started from seeing the many water hyacinth craftsmen in his village. However, many residents have not processed water hyacinth as a craft.
“I see that many uses of water hyacinth are limited to processing raw materials, while the finished materials are even outside around Rawa Pening,” he explained to Solopos.com, Friday (30/9/2022).
With the knowledge he gained while working in Jakarta, Firman finally built a water hyacinth creation room in his village, which is on the edge of Rawa Pening. The goal, so that a lot of overgrown water hyacinth also be the location of his creations.
“We start researching local potentials, namely water hyacinth, then research the craftsmen. From there, we know that the main concern is that it is difficult to find a market,” he explained.
After knowing the potential and problems of craftsmen, Firman innovated to try to open the water hyacinth craft market. First, he tried to market through social media. Since then, he also focused on water hyacinth craft creations on fashion hand craft.
“If in other places there is home decore furniture, here we introduce hand craft fashion such as sandals, hats, and bags,” he explained.
Starting with only three craftsmen, now there are 20 craftsmen who are members of Bengok Craft. All of the craftsmen recruited were residents of Kesongo Village, Tuntang. Besides being marketed online, products made by Bengok Craft are also sold offline in a gallery located in Sejambu Hamlet RT 002 RW 005, Kesongo, Tuntang, Semarang Regency. In addition, Bengok Craft also markets its products in a number of places such as Salatiga, Semarang, to Jakarta. “We are indeed chasing markets in big cities. Around 70% of our sales come from Jakarta,” he explained.
Firman said Bengok Craft’s turnover currently reaches Rp. 20 million per month. One of the most popular products is bags and footwear. “These sandals are very best sellers. Our Bengok Craft innovation is made thick, so it can last a long time and be used indoors or outdoors,” he explained.
Read the full Solopos.com article “Inspiratif, Pemuda Tuntang Semarang Bawa Kerajinan Eceng Gondok ke Pasar Eropa” here: https://www.solopos.com/inspiratif-pemuda-tuntang-semarang-bawa-kerajinan-eceng-gondok-ke -market-europe-1435552.
Author: Hawin Alaina Imam Yuda Saputra
Translator: Ritya Rasta Bilqiis (bengokcraft)
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