The Yak goes one on two with…
…Budiman and Rudi, the talented and creative couple behind Jia by OCK.
So, you are both from Sumatra? Tell us a bit more.
@B: yes, I was born there in Kisaran, a small town, in a very close-knit Chinese community, a typical upbringing I would say for a third generation Chinese descendant where all cultural practices and dialect are still strongly passed down.
@R: – yes, i was born and raised in Tebing Tinggi Sumatera Utara in which I spent half of my life there. My dad was a very strict person, a doer and doesn’t talk too much, while my mom is soft and caring but she is good in managing and taking care of people. So I think growing up I kinda got the traits from both of them, and now implementing them in the way I run the company.
@Budiman, you went to Scotland to study what exactly?
I did 3 year of college (a year of English and 2 years of various creative short courses to prepare my portfolio)and four years of University at Grays school of Art. I chose applied art, craft based courses. This really suited me as it really focusses on self-critical evaluation and hands on method. We were given basic skills for various technique and you were given a total freedom to experiment.
@Rudi, you did your stint in the US of A?
I did my International Business Bachelor degree in Berkeley International San Jose California, then i got my first job at a magazine in Jakarta as an account executive for sometime. Soon after i started an indie clothing brand LONKKA which specialize in Batik.
At what point in your careers, or life in Bali, did you meet and through who?
@B:I started Ong Cen Kuang 3 years before I met Rudi through online apps.
Ong Cen Kuang in our other brand which started in 2008. It was growing and I needed someone with me at its helm to share responsibilities. He compliments how I work, operate and we share common vision for the future.
@R: we met early 2011 at a coffee shop in Denpasar, that was when Budiman started doing freelance work and ONG CEN KUANG was still brewing. I joined the company as a partner in 2013 on the first Maison et Object Asia exhibition in Singapore.
@Budiman: What is Jia by OCK and what is your role?
Jia by OCK as a brand is derived from a Chinese phonetic jia which means home. We wanted Jia by OCK to be how we live our lives, products we love, we interact with and products that makes our daily lives more meaning full, hence, we straightaway thinking of our pets and their needs as well. It makes it even more meaningful as our retail space now is actually our home.
We formulated Jia by OCK in an afternoon conversation of ‘whats if’. During pandemic we needed to diversify of our aforementioned brand which is focusing on decorative lighting only for project markets, we are looking at possibilities to create works for our artisan.
- What if we looked into home wares?
- What if we focused on middle market?
- What if we do retail business?
At Jia by OCK I am the creative director.
@Rudi: And yours?
My role in Jia by OCK is as curating partners with Budiman, Finance, oversee production and operation.
Tell us a bit more about the creative process for your own items and accessories.
From the get go we know we have to have a foundation that we truly believe in order for it to work, which is one third magic of handcraft, one third simple silhouette, and one third education.
The first two foundations is our access into the creative process, since we wanted additional work for our artisan, we basically look into our strength and use them. We have more than thirteen years experiences in hand made processes, this is very valuable and also we wanted to focus on simple silhouette which we interpreted as something simple, looks good as well as functional for our daily lives.
It really is about creativity as well as being practical.
Tell us a bit more about who you collaborate with and why?
Having been in the creative industries for the past decade or so has its perks, we have friends who are also in the creative world and keep meeting new ones. The first things we did was to gather all our friends who do home wares and who has the same outlook in lives, who designs and produces with specific intention, whose products are with stories and give experience to the users. These are the specifics that we look for in our collaborators.
What is the philosophy behind Jia by OCK?
It’s one third magic of handcraft, one third simple silhouette, and one third education. We respect the innate human desire to make things, thus our aim is to empower this instinctual energy and passion through know-how exchanges.
Jia is Chinese word for home. Home is a sanctuary, a comfort, where we feel most at ease, we fill with things that represent our personalities. We would like to enrich people lives with our products. Not only the pieces are aesthetically pleasing, they also need to function well and assist us well in our daily activities.
Home is also more than the products, its occupants and their interactions will collectively build memories that all add up to the growth of a home. This is the reason we embrace the collaborative value and welcome many makers and brands with the same outlooks as us to enrich our lives, thus the brands in return.
You created a stunning crockery range with Kevala Ceramics here in Bali. How did that come about and what’s the design process behind it?
Budiman: Riak is the first artisanal collaboration between us and Wendy Jane Thomas, the founder of Kevala Ceramics.
I enjoy the journey I went through to create our RIAK collection. I wanted to develop a range of crockery that fits the lifestyle of living and eating habits in Asia.
As Indonesian and Asian, we loved our foods, so many various authentic foods that are originated from different corners of this country, not to mention ‘Jajan’ which each region has its claim to fame.
I found bowl as shape seems the most sense as it works for sauces and soups. Bowl also holds dearly in my psyche. Being a Chinese descent, family times eating together at special occasions always marked by eating with bowls and chopsticks, so it was clear that the shapes of the bowls would stay true to strong oriental silhouettes. The glazes however are the results of hours of experimentations. It stems from the idea of a moment in time, a chance, and beauty in numerous chaos probabilities. The glaze patterns created will always be different each time. It is about capturing the flow of glazes and water together in harmony with the motion of the artisan’s hands. The interpretation of each artist is reflected in these one of a kind pieces. It truly is a choreography of movement.
Tell us a bit more about the tea/cake shop that is part of Jia. You offer some super traditional teas from Java!!
Ah yes, Yellow Circle is the name of our tea/coffee place. We know Indonesia is one of the best producers for tea leaves and coffee beans, we would like to highlight that. It is nice to have a corner within the shop where our clients can relax while shopping or can wait and have refreshment while we are packing their purchases.
Our mixed tea leaves idea is inspired by a tradition, ‘The Oplosan’, that originated in Solo where many of the small tea houses around that region blend 3 to 4 teas from different tea brands to create their distinct flavors. In our case however, we mixed tea leaves from around Indonesia, some of the tea leaves we used are from as far as Sumatra.
I see you have a curated range of hand products and shampoo by Dr Edo Suweta. How did that collaboration happen?
We have known and also good friends of Edo for more than decade. Since we wanted to have products that offer experience beyond purchase satisfaction, we thought that Edo, being an aesthetic doctor can add his years of experiences in to Alam collection, our personal care products range.
Jia came about due to the pandemic? What were you both up to prior to that?
We have another brand focusing on decorative lighting named Ong Cen Kuang which starts since 2008, when covid-19 hit, our business were affected badly the first 3 months and we knew we needed to find a solution and a diversification of our business model came to mind. This is in order for our in-house artisan to have works and this is how Jia by OCK is borned.
And now that we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel what is in store for Jia, Budi & Rudi?
We have totally enjoyed the process of conceptualizing Jia by OCK and see how it has grown the past two years. It has been beyond our expectation the supports we have received from the creative industry in Indonesia that within a year of opening our retail stores, we are now have more than twenty brands under the roof of Jia stores.
Thank you both for your time. The shop is just divine – can you please drop a location pin as it is not the easiest place to find 🙂 but it is the best place to find rather fabulous gifts and so affordable too!!