Meet the label: Lokatan
Lokatan makes handcrafted rattan bags from local organic materials on the verdant island of Bali in Indonesia. We caught up with the Olivia Goenady, co-owner of Lokatan, to find out more about the brand.
co-owner of Lokatan
Image credit: Lokatan
What is Lokatan’s mission?
To introduce Indonesian handicrafts to the world and empower local artisans.
How did Lokatan start out?
Lokatan was born in May 2018 in a small workshop making only two styles of bag. At first, we targeted the local market in Indonesia, promoting our bags on Instagram. After only a month, we decided to introduce our Balinese bags to the world. Now, we stock a wide range of bags which people from across the globe can buy on our website or with our marketplace partners. We’ve been getting so many good responses from customers around the world.
Tell us more about your gorgeous rattan bags from Bali?
The rattan bag is made of a plant called ata, part of the rattan family and very similar to palm tree leaves. First, the ata reeds must be properly conditioned before they are hand-woven into shape by skilled artisans in a little village in East Bali. This is a very time-consuming process. Then the products are dried and smoked in an oven with coconut husks, giving the weave its distinctive color and patina and even a slight natural scent. The bags are lined with traditional Indonesian batik fabric and finished with a sturdy leather strap.
Every piece is unique thanks to variations in the weave, the technique of the maker, or subtle differences in color imparted during the smoking and drying process. This is what makes our bags special: each piece is a one-of-a-kind product to treasure for years to come.
What has been your proudest moment in running Lokatan?
We are proud to be doing what we love, earning a living through creativity. The thing we most value is sharing moments with our global customers, even if we can’t hear their feedback directly. We feel happiest when reading reviews telling us how much they love our designs and how quickly their bag arrived, even though they live on the other side of the world.
Image credit: Lokatan
What lessons have you learned along the way?
We learned that building a brand takes a world of time and effort. We strive to find the perfect business partners who fit our brand and share our vision. Then we work hard to maintain good relationships with them.
There are so many challenges and risks ahead, but we are excited to keep moving forward.
What is one of the main problems you face running Lokatan?
Our products are seasonal. The best seasons are spring and summer when we get overloaded with orders. But when the cold season arrives our order numbers dwindle. This makes our business unstable which is not conducive to growth.
We are exploring the possibility of expanding our range to include other products to suit autumn and winter without compromising our brand identity: organic and handmade Balinese products.
Tell us more about rattan and its history on Bali?
The Balinese people have long used the leaf ribs and stalk of the ata plant to make ropes. Since the development of synthetic materials, the practice is now primarily used to weave baskets and other wares. These techniques have been passed down and perfected over many generations of Balinese women creating these works of art in their homes.
In recent years, demand for the resource has been so high that other regions in Indonesia, such as parts of Java, are exporting ata vines to Bali so that the skilled artisans here have a steady supply of raw material for them to ply their craft. This beautiful island attracts millions of tourists every year, which is how these rattan bags shot to fame.
How do you start your day?
We begin the morning by replying to customer emails, before preparing all incoming orders that will be shipped later that day. This process takes a few hours. We spend our afternoon doing quality control, managing ongoing production and preparing content to be posted on social media.
Image credit: Lokatan
What do you do to unwind?
Take a short trip to a café or the beach.
What’s your favorite thing about Bali?
Its beaches, the atmosphere, the food, and the people.
What’s your ultimate travel destination?
What advice would you give to young designers just starting out?
Keep innovating and stay up to date with trends.
What’s coming up for Lokatan?
Developing new models and exploring potential new product categories.