Dina Rimandra Handayani arrives at the studio for our exclusive interview and photo shoot sporting a laid-back look and attitude. She warmly greets us and introduces herself to the team. "I just got back from my factory in Bali. I came straight from the factory to the airport and flew to Jakarta, so sorry if I look a little tired and flustered," she says in a friendly tone. The woman carves a petite figure with strong cheekbones, making styling and photographing her a breeze. She admits to us that she doesn't tend to be daring when it comes to fashion and style, but prefers to go with a classy, effortless and timeless look. Hats, boots and winter coat collections are some of the must-have items in her wardrobe. Meanwhile, she never travels without the simplest of beauty solutions: lip balm and moisturiser.
"For me, fashion is a way to express oneself," she says. "And I believe that elegance is a woman's strength. I hold on to a saying by Miuccia Prada: What you wear is how you present yourself to the world and fashion is an instant language."
Dina hails from an ordinary family with working parents, but she always had a dream of becoming independent and to gain her own financial freedom. The dream was also to become a successful social entrepreneur and to open her own business.
She wasn't slow to start. With her creative mind and ideas, Dina used to sell everything from woven bracelets, accessories, and some little trinkets and toys to her friends at school. She even tried to open her own fashion boutique when she was in high school.
Dina believes that being productive is the main key to success. "I don't let myself be idle whenever I have some time," she says. "I always try to do something positive and productive. I once worked as a restaurant manager during my college time," Dina tells us.
Being smart, beautiful and confident are just a few of Dina's strengths, all of which have led her to success since those times. Her motto is: life is about experience, so enjoy the show.
"Encourage yourself in three areas: choice, challenge and change. I look up to those entrepreneurs who started from scratch, especially Richard Branson, who always managed to run his business confidently and full of joy," she says.
"I believe in his saying that there is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than to follow your passion in a way that serves the world and serves you," Dina adds.
CHANGE OF PLANS
During a trip to the UK four years ago in her search for a university where she could pursue her studies, she developed a soft spot for apple cider; she also met her parther there. Never one to miss an opportunity, Dina realised that there could be a big market for cider in Asia. So she returned with this idea in mind, setting aside her initial intention to earn a Master's degree in the UK.
"I was young and impulsive," she says. "At that time, I thought that there was an opportunity in front of me, so why not take it? I had planned to take a Master's degree to broaden my network and knowledge in business, but with this obvious opportunity, I decided I'd better grab it.
"I believe that chances don't come twice. So I cancelled my plan to study and instead came home with a business plan," says Dina. "I was quite daring. I didn't think much at that time: I believed that I had nothing to lose and whatever happened, this chance would be a big opportunity for me to learn and grow.
"I didn't realise that there would be so many challenges in running my own business, especially considering that my product is an alcoholic beverage sold in Indonesia," Dina says. "I didn't think that I'd have to deal with so many parties to make it happen including the police and customs."
Fortunately, her family was very understanding. They supported every decision she made and encouraged her to grow. "Now that I think back, I don't regret a single thing, but I still feel that I was a little too impulsive at that time," she laughs.
I believe that chances don't come twice. So I cancelled my plan to study and instead came home with a business plan
With the launch of new flavours of Albens Cider, Dina's priority is still to expand the market, especially to cities outside of Jakarta and other countries. Albens is now distributed in Australia and Singapore, and she's dipping her toes into markets in Thailand, Kuala Lumpur, Vietnam, Hong Kong and China.
While distributing Albens in other parts of Indonesia, Dina has tried to kill two birds with one stone by exploring a new hobby and business project: traditional clothing and batik. She has collected some inspiring batik designs from her journeys and met with many designers.
Her plan is to open a new line of business in batik fashion called "Ambah" together with her friends Davina Veronica and Cyntia, which will be launched later this year. Another business experiment that this busy entrepreneur is delving into is producing citronella oil. "I just try to go with the flow and live my life according to what's in front of me," she says. "I still have my own visions, but I know that with my decisions, there are some things that I have had to sacrifice, including my Master's degree and my youth. But I believe that nothing can be accomplished without sacrifice.
"My hope is that I can get my businesses running steadily before I reach 30, so that I can put my focus on other things in life. I do wish to have a family and get married, just like any other girl my age. I have been single for four years, but I trust that when the time has come, I will meet the one," she smiles.
Dina believes that success is not merely about career and business. As a woman, for Dina success is to find balance in life; to be able to be a good wife and mother in a family, with a career counting as a plus point that allows her to be more respected and appreciated as a woman.
"There is a no limit when you start talking about ambition," says Dina. "So we have to find balance and know when to stop. One day, I want to open a training institute to give back to society, so that the uneducated can learn skills to broaden their prospects. Something small but useful for a lot of people."
Within her busy schedule, Dina does spare some time to do what she likes most, which includes travelling, cooking, and relaxing in spas. She loves spending time relaxing by the beach, and, as a nature lover, she counts hiking, water sports, snorkelling and diving among her hobbies. Dina is also active in social activities, including the YOI (Young Indonesian Organisation): "I feel happiest when I can share with others, and make strong contributions to society."