Cerita Firman, Bisa Tembus Pasar di Jepang Berkat Dipromosikan Gubernur Jateng
Firman Setyaji (30) posed with a sticker that reads ‘Chosen SMEs’ at the Bengok Craft Gallery in Sejambu, Kesongo Village, Tuntang District, Semarang Regency, Central Java, Sunday (2/10/2022).

TRIBUNJATENG.COM, SEMARANG – It was evening when Tribunjateng.com visited the residence of Firman Setyaji (30) in Sejambu, Kesongo Village, Tuntang District, Semarang Regency, Central Java, Sunday (2/10/2022) afternoon. Yes, Firman as he is usually called, is one of the SMEs affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Firman, is an SME businessman who focuses on processing various handicrafts made from water hyacinth plants into higher selling value products such as books, sandals, bags, baskets, hats, tissue boxes, and so on. The choice of using water hyacinth, because the location where he lives is not far from Lake Rawa Pening where many plants thrive but are not processed by locals.

However, the fate of no one knew when he started a business which he labeled Bengok Craft around February 2019, not long after the pandemic came. As a result, his business, which was still as old as corn, was also affected. A number of locals who began to be interested in processing water hyacinth returned to their respective professions if they did not become farmers, they chose to become fishermen or laborers to pick water hyacinth.

“In fact, economically, handicrafts from water hyacinth produce better results. That, my initial thought was to invite local locals to be creative because I was sure if this business was successful it could support them. At that time, there was one craftsman besides myself who was still pioneering marketing but it was not working optimally There are already people who interested, only Covid suddenly came, everything turned as if it was dark,” said Firman, starting the story.

The condition, he said, was further getting worse by the prohibition on gathering and holding various activities that were gathering locals. As a result, various exhibition schedules for SME works that must be followed are expected to show results to the public if by processing water hyacinth it could produce higher rupiahs instantly vanishes.

Firman said that at that time all he did was practice making various kinds of crafts with various contemporary models while building a market on social media. He realized that if the offline market share such as exhibitions was temporarily suspended, the only way was to migrate to digital. In fact, running a business in the digital space it’s not as easy as flipping the palm.

“Due to the pandemic, I started to think about how I could survive. Then, I started to create an Instagram social media account with the name @bengokcraft. Bengok is the name for water hyacinth in Javanese. Since then, I’ve been posting good hashtags researching products every day and taking part in various trainings from the government because it’s free and could be done online,” he said.

He added, in addition to maximizing Instagram social media, marketing patterns were also carried out by making statuses on WhatsApp and even sending broadcast messages every day to all contact numbers owned. Through that road, people began to ask some others to order products. However, due to the limitations of craftsmen, buyers at that time were required to pre-order the desired goods.

The alumnus of the University of Indonesia continued, from a series of processes that had been taken, the analysis had not yet reached the desired sales stage. However, it is still at the level of brand recognition to the public. Realizing this, he also changed his strategy by every time he posted a product he also marked people who were considered to have a strong influence on social media, one of which was the Governor of Central Java, Ganjar Pranowo.

“I’ve posted almost every time since then I’ve tagged or tagged the @ganjar_pranowo account, I really hope it will be reposted. Thank God he wanted to come to our creation house. Because at that time he was intensively promoting SME products until he had his own account named @lapak_ganjar. For those whose programs with the hashtag #LapakGanjar appear every week, I’ll try that too,” he added

After every week following the #Lapak.Ganjar program on social media from the first edition he continued, finally in the third edition his craft business from water hyacinth was reposted by the Governor of Central Java. Unexpectedly, like cempedak fruit turning to jackfruit, Firman’s business has increased significouldtly. Since then, from day to day there have been many orders not only from Indonesia but also abroad.

The Semarang Regency resident explained that the Bengok Craft craft business at that time was also promoted through Ganjar Pranowo’s Instagram story with a craft theme. Previously, he said, the themes that were raised every Sunday always followed the themes of home decor, fashion, and accessories but had not been successfully reposted.

“Actually, I was having fun at the time, but instead it became a way of light and a smile for all of us at Bengok Craft. Through @lapak_ganjar orders increase, production automatically increases and could also empower locals. Thank to God, he (Ganjar) came directly to my place, it’s really something that is difficult to express. Yes, it’s a bonus, I’m happy to have mixed feelings, especially when we came spontaneously, we were notified in less than three hours,” he recalled.

Firman admits that his business condition is now much different after being promoted by Governor Ganjar. In fact, the person concerned took the time to see firsthand the process of producing handicrafts from the water hyacinth plant. Because of his arrival, in addition to increasing personal enthusiasm, he also received many inputs as an effort to increase selling value such as arrangement, packaging and marketing facilities through the Central Java Cooperatives and UMKM Office.

The winner of the 2020 Local Heroes Tribune Network explained that after participating in #LapakGanjar, not only did sales increase but also connected with exporters. Thus, sales not only meet the needs of the domestic market but also begin to expand abroad. Apart from that, whenever there is an exhibition, both private and official parties are always involved.

“For the special #LapakGanjar, we could exhibit in Japan for five days, all products sold out. In fact, there are importers from there who now buy about 500 of our products and are in the process of working on them. When Mr. Ganjar came, he also bought our products for the packaging of Eid packages. This year he also bought again, if in the past 150 pieces, this time it went up to 300 pieces. Then, if the turnover increases from 10 percent to 30, it will gradually reach 100 percent,” he explained.

Firman stated, thanks to participating in #LapakGanjar the results obtained were valued more than expected. The reason is, not only is his brand more widely known by the public, then sales have increased plus various conveniences for participating in exhibitions, he also made a business profile video by the #LapakGanjar team.

The existence of visual support for business profiles, he said, makes it easier to introduce Bengok Craft to the public and potential buyers. Since then, many parties have collaborated, starting with Bank Indonesia, Accor Hotel, Tokopedia, and others. In terms of workforce, he said, initially there were only two people, then it increased to five craftsmen and until now there are around 20 workers. As for their income, he continued, per month they ranged from Rp. 1.5 to 2 million.

Read here for the full article.

This article has been published on TribunJateng.com with the title Cerita Firman, Bisa Tembus Pasar di Jepang Berkat Dipromosikan Gubernur Jateng, https://jateng.tribunnews.com/2022/10/03/cepat-firman-bisa-tembus-pasar-di -japan-blessing-promoted-governor-jateng?page=4.

Author: M Nafiul Haris | Editor: sujarwo

Translator: Ritya Rasta Bilqiis (bengokcraft)

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