Tireless Effort to Survive Within the Pandemic

There is no chance of surviving alone against the pandemic. This principle has helped Putu Agus Aksara Diantika as the second heir of Dian’s Rumah Songket & Endek to keep his business running during a time where tourism in Bali suffered a big blow because of a rapid visitor decline. When sales continued to free fall in March, Agus turned extremely worried. He had no idea how he might maintain all of his employees and artisans who have been putting their minds and souls into crafts at his boutique for years.

“I barely slept for days,” said Agus softly when the WeLoveWithLove team visited him for support. “I could have taken the easier way out by giving everyone packaged goods of 25 kg and then lay them off from work, but I simply didn’t have the heart to do it.” He decided to contact his colleagues, fellow entrepreneurs, and influencers, including Niluh Djelantik to collaborate. An idea to create masks materialized and became an instant hit. “All Niluh Djelantik’s masks use my endek fabrics,” uttered Agus with a smile.

Agus then racked his brain again to sell his songket creations. “This time, I gained an indefinite amount of support from hotel owners. I created a marketing strategy that allows songket customers to enjoy unforgettable honeymoons at associated hotels with my special promo code.” The strategy did not only increased sales of Dian’s Songket and Endek but also boosted the number of hotel guests.

Because of his strong determination, Agus managed to keep his business afloat without having to fire a single person. Still young, Putu Agus Aksara Diantika’s fighting spirit is truly inspiring. He creatively sought solutions to preserve an “ancient” business inherited from his ancestors. Agus admitted his love for songket and endek did not grow instantly. Like any other Bali youngster, he developed an interest in tourism and had a dream to establish a hotel. He refused to continue his parents’ songket business that the family started in Klungkung.

“One day, I received an assignment from uni to tell a story related to the type of business common in my respective hometown. I decided to talk about endek as part of my parents’ business. What happened next, my lecturer told me to come over and requested me to design uniforms for my campuses’ lecturers.” From that moment on, Agus never stopped selling songket and endek fabrics.

In the long run, Agus has faced many challenges. The most defying challenge is to develop a new generation of songket and endek artisans. Only a few young people have been openly willing to dive into the mentioned occupation. “Truth be told, the profession can not be deemed prestigious. But in terms of income, rest assured they can receive the same amount as hotel employees.” Agus maintains the same approach until this very day while making sure that his workers remain to receive a competitive salary.

Interesting enough, there is a change in mindset since the pandemic. From scarcely finding new workers, he now has people lining up to be accepted. “Unfortunately, I am not in a state where I can accept them all because I only have limited funding to pay for my current employees,” said Agus candidly.

Do you wish to help Agus in opening new job opportunities for people in need? You may transfer funding, knowledge, and any kind of donations for his cause through the WeLoveWithLove Foundation at www.welovewithlove.com.