Have you noticed we have been on a Jalan Cipete Raya mission lately?
Having discovered 10 Top Spots to Stop and eat, sip and shop; today we return to this neighbourhood to shine the spotlight on three impressive young entrepreneurs (and their dog), who are the faces of brands Motiff Living and Motiff Made.
Collaboration is the name of the game for family members Dhian Soendoro, Evan Hartanto and Stephanie Agatha. With skills in Graphic and Interior Design, Illustration and Operations and an ‘anything is possible’ attitude; they have carved out an exciting home and design business.
This talented trio have tapped into the changing nature of the Jakarta social landscape; in particular, the movement towards the ‘design savvy’ consumer becoming more conscious of ‘what’ they buy, but also increasingly interested in the process behind ‘how’ a product is made. Their keen knowledge of the local market, combined with a complementary skill set makes for a dynamic family business!
Read on for the full story!
* Kenalkan Dhian, Evan & Stephanie
What a wonderful collaboration between the three of you. When and Why did you decide to work together? What skills and experience do each of you bring to Motiff Living and Motiff Made?
Evan started the wallpaper business in 2008, while I was still working as a graphic designer and illustrator. And Stephanie, who is Evan’s sister, was working at an interior design firm, then went to Shanghai to study language. After Evan and I got married in 2011, I helped him build the brand for his wallpaper business and created the brand name, Motiff Living. I joined the business, but was still doing my job as a part-time designer. Back then, we didn’t have a proper showroom, so we ran the business mobile, from exhibition to exhibition and then built a small studio in our house.
Then, in 2013, Stephanie finally came back to Jakarta. With her interior design background, she’s a perfect addition to the team. Since then, we decided to work together. Despite the fact that we’re family related, we know we will get along together because we have the same vision, taste and passion for design and craftsmanship. We also complement each other. Specifically, Evan manages the operational, Stephanie does the interior design-related tasks (including being a consultant to our clients), and I do the visual-branding related tasks. Yet, we always try to learn from each other, here and there.
Have you all always been interested in design and craftsmanship? Was this your area of training after school?
Interested? Yes. Area of training after school? Not in particular. But back then in the design school, we were taught about a few things related to craftsmanship, such as screen-printing, linocut and product designing. Somehow it makes us understand and appreciate how things are made, especially when it comes to handmade products and locally made.
How did you choose the names Motiff Living And Motiff Made?
We started with the wallpaper business which involves a lot of patterns and were looking for a simple brand name that is easy to remember. So we thought ‘motif’, as it reminds people of patterns and we doubled the ‘f’ just to make it different. Hence the name, Motiff Living. That simple. Then when we moved to Cipete, we decided to create a homeware line to complement Motiff Living, but didn’t want to make a new brand. So we came up with brand diversification: Motiff Made. ‘Made’ because almost everything is handmade.
How long have you been on Jl. Cipete Raya?
It’s been more than a year. We opened our gallery on Cipete Raya in December 2013.
How would you describe the Motiff Living and Motiff Made styles?
Motiff Living doesn’t have a particular style as it covers so many design styles, from classic to modern, shabby chic to industrial and so on. But one thing is for sure, everything is well-designed, we curate it first. As for Motiff Made, it is natural, earthy and timeless.
How has the brand developed since it opened?
Although it’s just been a year, opening the Cipete showroom/shop has raised the brand awareness significantly. People come from all over the place. The good thing when you have a permanent showroom/ shop is you can interact with your customers directly. They tell us what their likes and dislikes are. We hear them and adjust it into the brand. It simply gives us a lot of new perspectives in doing the business.
‘…when you have a permanent showroom… you can interact with your customers directly. They tell us what their likes and dislikes are’
Who is the Motiff Living and Motiff Made shopper?
Motiff Living: young to mature families, architects, interior designers, café/ hotel owners
Motiff Made: age 25-40s, mostly women
We love that Motiff Made products are locally made and designed. Can you tell us about the designers and craftspeople?
Mostly, we design the products ourselves first, then collaborate with local artisans and craftspeople to produce. For ceramic products, we work closely with two artisans who we think are ‘top-notch’ in their field. For our linen products, we also work closely with a supplier who owns a handspun fabric workshop in Central Java. As for the Borneo series, we source them from a supplier in Kalimantan who works with local craftsmen. We really enjoy working with these people, adore their work, learn a lot from them and have become good friends.
Under your Motiff Living brand you source some beautiful wallpaper from Japan and the Netherlands. Any tips for our readers on how best to use wallpaper in their homes?
Sometimes people are afraid to install wallpaper with bold or busy patterns. We’d say, don’t be! The fact is, it works really well when used as a statement piece. Our suggestion is to pick one wall you’d like to be the ‘star’ for each room (for example: the wall behind your bed), then cover it with your favorite wallpaper. It will instantly brighten up the room!
‘Sometimes people are afraid to install wallpaper with bold or busy patterns. We’d say, don’t be!’
3 of your favourite Motiff Made pieces?
Tough question, but ok, we will choose these items because of how it represents each of us:
Equator Cushion which Stephanie designed and crafted
Shibori Cushion which Evan dyed himself
Polka Bear planters which I made (Dian) based on my illustrations
3 of your favourite Motiff Living products?
Mambo Djambo wallpaper for its vibrant tribal patterns; it’s really a statement piece
Retropica wallpaper for its tropical look
Sisal rugs for their gorgeous texture
Any exciting ‘New Projects’ you are working on at the moment?
For Motiff Made, we’re in the process of making our own online store to make it easier for our customers, and we’re making something more playful with the ceramic-wares and linen products.
For Motiff Living, we’re currently doing wallpaper projects for a hotel with a unique concept where every room has a different theme. We worked closely with the interior designers and it was really fun and challenging. Can’t wait to see the final results!
‘we’re in the process of making our own online store’
Can you list 3 resources that you turn to regularly for creative inspiration for the brand?
1. Traveling. Visiting local markets and small shops in other cities/ countries is a must in our traveling activity list.
2. Creative people around us. Sometimes just a simple conversation could turn into creative ideas.
3. Pinterest. It’s quite a summary of what’s trending now.
Home or fashion trends you are following this year?
Neutrals, tropical and gold. We assumed gold was too ‘blingy’ back then, but with the ‘right dose’ whether in home or fashion, it is really lovely.
3 words to describe your Jakarta?
Nothing is impossible!
‘Nothing is impossible’
Book you are reading at the moment?
Etcetera by Sibella Court
Music you are listening to?
Lisa Ono, Kings of Convenience, Depapepe. We usually play their songs at the gallery.
Magazines you are reading?
Monocle, Fast Company and home-living magazines
Any tips for new expats wishing to decorate their new home in Jakarta?
Explore! Sometimes, the most interesting items can be found in the most unexpected places. Jakarta has a lot to offer. Try a pasar (market) and small shops. And while you’re in Indonesia, travel a lot to find locally made unique items to decorate your home.
‘Explore! Sometimes, the most interesting items can be found in the most unexpected places’
Favourite place to eat in Jakarta?
Mandala at Wolter Monginsidi for Chinese food
Ayam Presto Cipete for its traditional fried chicken (and it’s so close to our gallery!)
Sushi Tengoku for Japanese food, and recently we love to stroll around PIK (Pantai Indah Kapuk) North Jakarta as they have so many new exciting eateries.
What do you do for fun when you’re not working?
Gather with family and friends (This includes our dog, Pablo)
Where do you go to relax in this busy city?
Home, having some good quality sleep or just watching movies or reading some books
Motiff Living and Motiff Made (next to Klinik Cipete)
Jl. Cipete Raya No. 9
Whatsapp Message for opening times: +62 816 1913002
*Kenalkan: let me introduce
Words: Liz Photography: Motiff Made and Motiff Living and a journey bespoke