There were thousands of reasons to start a handicraft business. It implies to Ketut Jaya Sugita, he started WH Bali Handprinted Sandals and Bags because he wanted to help a friend who lost his job due to decreasing of Bali infrastructure tourism after the 2002 Bali Bombings.

At that time, he was still working as a civil servant. With barely minimum capital, he bought sandals and asked his friend to paint on them, offered them to tourists and sold them.

Ketut Jaya’s good intention was to help others to find a way when a friend introduced him to a buyer. “Buyers value my products and ask me to make sandals with leather material so that they can be sold in their country. Once finished, the sandals are laboratory tested and checked for discoloration quality when used. The sandals are soaked for two weeks. My product passes all of these tests. Starting from there, I started to receive orders to sell in America”, said Ketut Jaya.

The buyer guided Ketut Jaya for three years and helped him to learn about what kind of products that can be accepted by foreign markets. He also got to learn about examining painting. “I can’t paint, but I have to know if there was a mistake in the painting made by my craftsmen,” he said. Ketut tried to follow a national level design competition and won first place. This is how he opened his network to the Ministry of Tourism and the Regional Government who invited him to participate in exhibitions throughout the archipelago.

“Previously, I asked an American buyer for permission to sell my products to other parties. He gave me permission as long as I made a different style from his. Until now, I have sold sandals and painted bags to Australia, Singapore and Canada, but at this time I had to temporarily stop due to the pandemic. Instead, we started to sell online via Tokopedia, Bukalapak and Shopee. You can also see the Wh Bali bag and sandal catalog on the whbali_ Instagram account”.

To We Love With Love team, Ketut said that he would pass on his business to the only child who is currently involved in the business. He and his son have a dream to help young people in Bali to pursue art. “I want to motivate them to create, buy their work and sell it. I will assure them that they can live more prosperously as artists and craftsmen than as office employees”.