The concept for Sackai bags was born in 2013, and after two years of planning, Presi Mandari left her full-time job as a journalist to grow the business.
Presi’s goal was to create fashionable canvas bags that are “simple, functional and clean.” All Sackai bags are designed in-house by Presi’s husband, made by hand and manually screen-printed. The first line of Sackai bags was released in March 2014, after an initial investment of Rp 5 million ($350).
Presi has a master’s degree in international relations and worked as a journalist at Agence France-Presse for eight years. She enjoyed being a reporter but needed a creative outlet to help handle the stress of her job. She taught herself how to sew canvas bags by watching YouTube videos after identifying a gap in the market for good quality, Indonesian canvas products.
Presi then enlisted the help of her husband, a graphic designer and former fine arts student, to help her design the bags. “I would never have been able to jump into this business without social media,” she said.
Thanks to Facebook and Instagram, Presi was able to grow her business quickly, at little expense. Presi now has several staff members working under her, a significant online following and her bags are stocked by many e-commerce websites and the duty-free shops at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
While acknowledging that gender discrimination is still rife in Indonesia, Presi said she has encountered very little of it in her business. “I’m my own boss, there aren’t any issues [with being a woman], as long as you exude confidence and tenacity,” she said.
You can find Presi and Sackai bags on Instagram @sackaibags.