New Direction

New Direction

Dewi in front of two sewing machines2021 and beyond is going to be exciting! Anything is better than how 2020 turned out for many of us. I returned to making an attractive and more varied design with a variety of color choices and I want to share a story about where I came from and where I'm at now.

My interest in sewing started when I was a little girl while I watched my mother do tailor work. Back home in Indonesia, where I was born and lived most of my life, I would watch her fix customers clothes, patch up holes, and make alterations. She taught me the basics and how to work a sewing machine. As time passed and this interest grew into a passion, I started making children's pillows and sold them. That grew steadily but I wanted to challenge myself with the skills I learned and fine-tuned. Fashion, especially women's handbags, has always been an industry I wanted to venture into so I gave it a shot and attempted to make a hand bag. The result was that I really enjoyed it and felt like I was good at it so that is what I focused on. I started making different designs and sold them. The business grew and grew and reached a point at its peak that I had 10 sewing machines, my own boutique store, and a staff of 8 people helping me in my production line. My staff was the part of my business that stood out. I purposely employed women that were either disabled, single mothers or unprivileged. The jobs I provided for them gave them a sense or purpose and importance where in other job markets in Indonesia they would not have been given the opportunity. The business thrived and was successful. In 2016 I decided to shut it all down and move to America to marry my husband and start a life here in South Carolina. I officially moved here in September of 2017 after the rigorous immigration visa process. Now that I am here I am wanting to build my business back up to the way I had it back home and to even go beyond the point that I reached back in Indonesia.


Being a woman business owner has a lot of challenges that I have encountered, especially mental challenges. As a newcomer, many people took one eye and said clearly that my business would not grow because there are many big and well-known brands. But maybe people forget, companies that are big and well-known now also started small. I stood still with a few reproaches and I am more optimistic after these encounters and did not stop working. It just motivated me more.

As a woman business owner, I also want to convey to other women to uphold their ideals and remain confident in whatever we do. Always be optimistic and don't give up when you encounter obstacles.

This time I want to share the good news. I just received help from Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC. I received grant money to help with the purchase of two industrial sewing machines which will be very useful for production. These machines will enable me to do more with my creativity than I was previously allowed. For me, this grant is not just about what the nominal amount is but also the trust in me as a small business owner from Chapman Cultural Center and the Spartanburg community. Such moral impetus is very important. I will use these machines for the production of leather bags which will all be produced here in Spartanburg, SC.  All other bags will be produced in my hometown, in Indonesia. My staff there will consist of women that do not have ample opportunities in finding a productive and meaningful job. I express my gratitude to anyone who has trusted me as the recipient of this season's grant.  I will continue to work and show good results.  Thanks again for Chapman Cultural Center and everyone involved with the art grant program.

I would also like to thank anyone who has supported small businesses.  None of this would have happened without your support.  I will do a lot of designs, open business opportunities, and help more women as my business grows.

TechSew 810
Close up of needle of TechSew 810
Pully system of Techsew 810
TechSew 2750
Bobbin winder
Close of needle on Techsew 2750
This program is funded in part by Chapman Cultural Center, its donors, the County and City of Spartanburg and the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC.
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