Empowering Karawo MSMEs Through Education in Fashion and Business
There are many ways to foster and empower the society. For an educational institution like BINUS Northumbria School of Design, one thing that can be done is educating the community to enrich their knowledge and improve their skills, especially in arts, fashion, and even the business aspects of the fashion industry.
The Fashion Program of BNSD is currently conducting a field trip to Gorontalo – a province on Celebes Island that is famous for its history and culture – from 23-26 April 2019. This trip provides the students from the Fashion Design and Fashion Management programs with a precious opportunity to do research about Gorontalo’s rich culture.
However, not only doing research and visiting several tourist attractions, BNSD also used this opportunity to help and empower the local small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Gorontalo to grow and develop their businesses further.
BNSD held a full-day workshop for Bank Indonesia Gorontalo’s fostered partners (mitra binaan) on Wednesday, 24 April 2019, at the Bank Indonesia Gorontalo building. Attended by MSMEs in Karawo and water hyacinth (eceng gondok) weaving businesses, the material of the workshop covered the trend forecasting, international marketing, and product development.
In the first session, Christopher Hodge, a fashion lecturer from the Northumbria University, explained the fashion trend that was expected to be happening in 2020. One of the important aspects in fashion trends 2020 is the color. Chris explained that according to the Pantone Colors, the colors that will be trending are the more toned-down ones, such as living coral, bleached coral, and mellow yellow. These colors can be implemented in Karawo and water hyacinth weaving so that they can be more appealing for a wider audience.
Dicky Maryoga, the Subject Content Coordinator of the Fashion Design Program at BNSD, discussed the marketing aspect during the second session of the workshop. He explained that the MSMEs need to establish and pay attention to the basic 4P: product, place, price, and promotion. He believes that with the right 4Ps, including the precise promotion method utilizing social media, the MSMEs from Gorontalo can reach even the international market.
In the third session, Amanda Prihutomo, the Deputy Head of Fashion Program, explained the importance of product development. Amanda said that with the right and continuous product development, the business will be sustainable and the brand value will be upscaled, thus strengthening the position of the brand to be able to acquire new customers.
Ratna Dewi Paramita, the Head of Fashion Program at BNSD, said that actually, the Karawo and water hyacinth weaving from Gorontalo have a great potential in the international market. However, to be able to reach the full potential and be accepted by the international market, the MSMEs need to pay attention to the quality of the product. “Actually, Europe and the US are two highly potential markets for Gorontalo’s MSMEs. It is because the market there really appreciates the crafts and the complicated yet elaborated process behind them,” Ratna said.
Besides taking part to educate the MSMEs through the workshop, on this second day, BNSD students and lecturers also got an opportunity to see and observe the process as well as the final result of Karawo and the water hyacinth weaving that were showcased at the workshop location. The students could also learn the process of making Karawo and the weaving directly from the local artisans who were attending the event.