On Wednesday, 8 February 2023, RRI Semarang, one of the leading radio stations in Semarang City, invited Bengok Craft to share experiences in developing Bengok Craft through the headline “Upcycle Up to Date”.
The talk show starts at 10:05-11:00 local time. Guided by Hana who is the host of the “Semarang Siang Ini” talk show, Astaria begins her story with her husband’s concern at that time for Rawa Pening due to the massive growth of weeds there which causes environmental pollution.
Indeed, water hyacinth has only been harvested and then dried in the sun and sold per bunch. The price is very cheap, around 500 rupiah per bundle, it is not worth the process it goes through.
Until an initiative arose to turn worthless weeds into high value ones, by making them into crafts through Bengok Craft.
Bengok Craft is composed of two words, namely Bengok which means the local name water hyacinth for the local community of Rawa Pening. Then Craft, which comes from English, is expected to be able to bring it to an international level.
She also said that Bengok Craft’s initial development was not as smooth as she wanted. At first Bengok Craft only created one type of craft, namely books, which were then sold offline, by offering one to another.
However, because the local people were not too interested in water hyacinth production because water hyacinth was abundant there, they tried to market it outside the city.
Unexpectedly, received high enthusiasm from customers. on average they are women aged 18 years and over and live in Jakarta. At that time, Bengok Craft tried to expand its creations such as home decor, slippers, and others.
Orders are increasing, but who would have thought that they were hit by the COVID 19 outbreak which made their turnover decrease. However, Astaria and her husband Firman remained persistent to survive in their business. She tried digital marketing techniques, where she marketed his creations online, such as on marketplaces, WhatsApp, and Instagram social media.
It turns out that digital marketing has kept her business alive to this day.
Many customers often come to order crafts because there are currently more than 100 variants of Bengok Craft, while Asta also said that her creations can be custom ordered, according to customer requests.
Astaria is one of the pioneers in creating more than 100 craft variants. A graduate of the postgraduate program majoring in advertising and marketing management from Amity University, India, she often designs new creations and is even said to be out of the box because it is rarely imitated.
Like the K Style Bag bengok, instead of using woven techniques, she took the initiative to apply knitting techniques, so that the bags she creates look even more unique and attractive to customers.
Therefore, she upgraded water hyacinth to an up-to-date craft, so it doesn’t look old-fashioned, but aesthetically pleasing but still stylish and trendy.
Thanks to her persistence in developing water hyacinth creations, Bengok Craft has been able to expand its products to export. Astaria and Firman are often invited by institutions and corporates to attend export events. Its products have traveled from Singapore, UAE, Japan, to Italy and Spain through the Fair.
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