“I was born in Yogyakarta in 1968. My parents named me Emirita Lestari Noor Pratiwi. My parents were batik artisans, and so were my grandparents. I represent the third generation of batik artisans in my family. Since my house was also a workshop, I was accustomed to batik ever since I was a little girl. My love for batik began when I was in elementary school. I was curious about batik, and my parents taught it to me.
“Ever since elementary school, I have always liked art, including drawing, painting, and many other things. Because of my love for art, I went to college at Indonesia Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta, where I majored in Interior Design. During college, I also took an internship with a company in Jakarta that specialized in interior design. I learned a lot about interior design.
“After graduating from college, I married a man who was my senior in college, and we decided to run our own batik and interior design business. My husband is in charge of quality control. We are blessed with three children, two boys and one girl. We are so grateful to have them in our lives.
“Being an entrepreneur is not easy; there have been times when business was not good. I started this business in 1994. In 1998, there was a crisis in Indonesia that affected my business. Also, during a great earthquake in 2006, my shop was almost completely destroyed. Thank God we could overcome those moments. I remember one night my husband asked me to come to church to pray. In that moment we felt joy and warmth in our hearts. My husband even cried. Since then, we go to church almost every night to pray and give thanks.
“There are two motivational quotes that my father would say that keep me going today. When I first started my business, he said in Javanese: ‘Kriwikan dadi grojogan.’ In English, it translates to ‘A small trickle of water can become a waterfall.’ Of course, at the beginning of my business, income was not good, but over time it grew. When my shop was robbed, I was left with almost nothing. That’s when my father said ‘Mugo-mugo dadi pupuk.’ in English, it translates to ‘Let it be and let it be fertilizer,’ meaning that I needed to let it go and hope that that event would be fertilizer to help my business grow. I was so relieved to hear that from my father.
“Despite the negative memories, there have also been times when I felt glad to run this batik business, such as when one of my customers liked my clothes and posted it on social media. It showed me that they were really happy and proud to wear my clothes. As a batik maker, what she did makes me feel so happy, not only because it reminds me that my craft is appreciated, but also that I am promoting Yogyakarta batik abroad. There is one technique in Yogyakarta batik called jumputan, otherwise known as tie-dye. By being part of NOVICA, I hope I can promote and introduce my pieces to the world while learning about current trends and developing the standards and quality of my craft.”