Saptuari Sugiharto, Merchandise for All at Kedai Digital

Monday, 03 December 2012
“Everyone has the right to have their own merchandise regardless of their background. They may be narcissistic in a positive way. For example, Person A could have a mug bearing his own image, while Person B could have a pillowcase made bearing the image of her boyfriend. It was this initial concept that led to the creation of Kedai Digital (Digital Store),” explained Saptuari Sugiharto, the owner of Kedai Digital and runner-up in the 2007 Mandiri Young Entrepreneur Awards (WMM) in the Alumni and Post Graduate category.

Starting with capital of only USD 20 million from the mortgaging of a land certificate belonging to his mother, his family’s only asset, Saptuari started up his Kedai Digital in 2005. Based on the concept of allowing customers the freedom to be creative with digital photos and to have them printed on merchandise goods, Kedai Digital provides added value to customers in that they are free to order only one or two items, by contrast with other merchandise stores which require bulk orders.

When the Kedai Digital was first established in Yogyakarta, customers could only order mugs, pins and watches. However, to expand the market, Saptuari has added a lot of variety since then. Currently, his wares include mugs in diverse colors and shapes, t-shirts, pillows, posters, key chains, posters arranged from ceramic tiles, laptop bags, mouse-pads and a myriad of other innovations.

Approximately 60% of Kedai Digital’s customers are individuals, made up mostly of young people, especially school and university students. The remainder consists of corporate customers who require merchandise for company promo events. His wares are not limited to Indonesia alone, but are also sent abroad. “There are customers who regularly make mugs as souvenirs to be sent to America and Europe,” he said.

The marketing strategy adopted by Saptuari involves the use of social media, including his website, Facebook and Twitter. Kedai Digital has also developed a community known as “Kawan Kedai”. His strategy has proved effective, as evidenced by the fact that orders come not only from Yogyakarta but from all over Indonesia.

Saptuari’s business has grown considerably since he received mentoring from Bank Mandiri. Prior to being named a WMM winner, Kedai Digital was not very well known. But, with the support of promotion by Bank Mandiri in various media, his business has really taken off. Moreover, thanks to the business training he has received, facilitated by Bank Mandiri, Saptuari’s knowledge of the business world has grown exponentially. As a result, Kedai Digital has opted to expand by franchising based on a business opportunity scheme.

Under this scheme, new outlets are wholly-owned by the franchisees, who in return for the license rights pay a royalty of 2.5% per month. To support the sustainability of the Kedai Digital chain, the franchisees are provided with training, including information on the merchandising business, and support in the form of machinery and materials. “We do not impose limits on the maximum duration of franchises. As long as the business keeps running and no infringements occur, we are committed to continuing to do business with our partners,” Saptuari explained.
This approach has borne fruit. Currently, Kedai Digital has 52 outlets located in 30 cities, and turnover is very encouraging. However, Saptuari himself only owns eight outlets, while the rest are owned by his franchisees. Looking ahead, Saptuari says he is targeting the addition of at least one new franchise outlet every month.

Sedekah Rombongan
“I want to be a social entrepreneur, so that in the future I can also help those in need,” explained Saptuari. Imbued with this spirit, he started the movement #SedekahRombongan, which operates through Twitter and his website, as well as a team of volunteers. Unexpectedly, within 16 months, Sedekah Rombongan managed to raise Rp 7.8 billion, which was donated to an orphanage, special needs school, elderly widows in need and severely ill people who lacked the wherewithal to pay for medical treatment.

“We are currently raising funds for Hanifah, a child who has a malignant cancer in the eye and has to have around 100 chemotherapy sessions. In all, we are currently paying for the treatment of 49 people in Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Semarang, and Malang,” he explained. For Saptuari, being a social entrepreneur is a form of balance. Being a businessman is not just a matter of gaining material alone, but also providing tangible benefits to others.

Source : Tabloid Kontan