Mohamad Bijaksana Junerosano, Eco-Friendly Bags Empower Home-Based Industry

Saturday, 01 December 2012

Through PT Greeneration Indonesia (GI), which he heads, Sano (31) is able to produce up to 15,000 BaGoes-brand eco-friendly bags per month. Uniquely, the bags are not made in a modern factory, but rather by cottage industry sewers in the Bandung area.
“IT REALLY is our commitment at GI. We want to help empower the community through the bags that we produce,” explained Sano at his office in Bandung. That way, in addition to developing its business, GI also plays a role in improving living standards in the surrounding community. Sano wants as many people as possible to enjoy in the fruits of his success. This is evident from the involvement of 28 sewers, divided into 6 groups, in the production of BaGoes bags.
The key advantage of his products is that they do not use plastic. As we all know, plastic waste can take hundreds of years to decompose. However, through the use BaGoes bags for various purposes, we can help save the environment. This is because a BaGoes folding shopping bag can be used up to 1,000 times as it is made of made of polyester, cotton calico and of spunbond felt.
Realizing his Dream
The idea of producing environmentally friendly bags arose from Sano’s concern for conservation issues, particularly the need to reduce waste, which is one of the reasons why he opted to study environmental engineering at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). GI itself grew out of an environmental community that was formed by Sano in 2005, and which developed into a vehicle for social entrepreneurship in 2008. “The GI concept represents a fusion of entrepreneurship and environmentalism. It is designed this way as we wanted to help foster economic resilience in the community,” explained Sano.
BaGoes (which is derived from the English words “bag” and “goes”) bags are produced as part of the DietKresek program designed by GI. Originally, Sano just made a sample bag using his own funds. He lacked the capital needed to start production on a bigger scale. On the advice of a friend, he took out a loan of Rp 4 million from Bank Mandiri in Bandung in 2008, which he used to fund the production of 80 BaGoes bags by two sewers. He sold his first bags during an exhibition at the University of Indonesia.
His bags turned out to be popular among visitors to the exhibition, which convinced Sano that the time was right to go into business on a full-time basis. As BaGoes bags began to develop a reputation, Sano reinvested his earnings so as to ramp up production. Slowly but surely his business has grown. Currently, about 80% of sales consist of custom orders from agencies, companies or environmental communities, while the rest are sold directly through online marketing.
Turnover Doubles
Nevertheless, this does not mean that Sano has not encountered obstacles. “These are not ordinary bags. Therefore, the people who buy these products will usually have some level of environmental awareness,” said Sano. It is not uncommon for people to reject his products. He has also had to deal with doubts among his own family as to the sustainability of his business. But all of this has only strengthened his determination to make his business a success.
Sano is is thankful that the living standards of those who produce his bags are improving in line with increasing orders. The sewers have also had the opportunity to take out loans from Bank Mandiri amounting to Rp 20 million per sewer so as to increase their production capacity. “However, they are sometimes overwhelmed by the size of our orders,” said Sano, smiling. Sano’s turnover has been on a continuously upward curve, increasing from Rp 216 million in 2009 to Rp 550 million in 2010, and Rp 1.11 billion in 2011. The number of sewers involved in the production process has also increasing significantly, up from 2 originally to 28 now.
Sano was one of the participants in the Mandiri Young Entrepreneur (WMM) competition in 2011, and was selected as a national finalist in the creative industries category. He has been provided with a variety of training by Bank Mandiri, including training on ethics in management and business, which he says has really helped his grow his business. Since teaming up with Bank Mandiri, Sano has not only received assistance with capital, but also with promotion.
Sano stressed that one of the determinants of success in business is a solid team. “Without them, my business might not have grown to become what it is today.” Initially, Sano only had the assistance of his partner, Dodi, but now the team is made up of 21 people (in addition to his 28 sewers).
Tips for Success
Run your business based on HEPIH:
  • Harmony. Maintaining a balance between family, work and the environment.
  • Empower. Making use of available strengths.
  • Plenitude. Every effort must be perfect, comprehensive and complete to the maximum extent possible.
  • Ingenuity. Keep creative and use imagination.
  • Humanity. Share with others.
2009: Rp 216 million
2010: Rp 550 million
2011: Rp 1.11 billion
2012: Expected to exceed Rp 2 billion
BaGoes bags sell for Rp 25,000 – Rp 150,000
BaGoes bags marketing strategies
Retail sales: 
  • Through online shop and online marketing.
  • Direct sales, currently collaborating with Circle K Indonesia (in particular outlets).
Target market:
  • Five major cities in Java and Bali.
  • People who care about the environment.
  • Main target is the 25-39 age group, followed by the 14-19 age group and then the over-40 age group
  • Middle income bracket and above, higher education (minimum diploma).
Custom order sales:
  • Directly to top level management.
  • Companies, followed by event organizers, environmental communities, etc.
  • Product introductions and product information.
Target market:
  • An environmental organizations.
  • Companies participating in Indonesia Business Link.
  • State-Owned Enterprises.
  • Educational institutions, environmental communities
Source : Ide Bisnis Magazine