Berrybenka started as a small project on Facebook, in August 2011, thanks to Jason’s wife, Claudia, and his wife's friend, Yenti; today, the site is one of the leading online sites for fashion at affordable price. Jason is now expanding the business into "omnichannel" retailing: an online-to offline experience that could be called a “click and mortar” operation. Read more about Jason's survival guide in the competitive start-up market.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Jason Lamuda: I have passions in digital, technology and e-commerce—fields that are booming now in Indonesia—and had always been quite entrepreneurial, like starting small-scale businesses during my college years. When shopping online, male consumers in this country seek gadgets, while females seek fashion; so Berrybenka was started with aim of becoming Indonesia's affordable, good-quality and stylish fashion destination.
What challenges do you face in your job?
New start-ups tend to face similar challenges: how to get clients and a market share, building a solid team, finding financers and suppliers, and so on.
What lessons have you learned from overcoming these challenges?
Running a start-up is tough—you could be trending this year, but not a few years ahead. So, as a founder, the key to this roller-coaster ride is to stick to your vision. Second, tenacity and perseverance are also important because not every moment is a happy one. Third, learn as much as you can in this now-fast-paced world and always innovate—these also apply even if you are a traditional retailer.
What type of leader are you?
Me and my partners, plus the managers, are open in sharing our vision and mission. The hierarchy in this company is not that rigid because being communicative and transparent is very important. Our leadership is also young and modern—no honorifics, for example—in which the people need to work hard and learn as much as possible while enjoying their passions.
What are your start-up tips for young entrepreneurs?
There are two tips special for the young ones: first is to dream big to have a strong start; failing is just a process that naturally happens. Second, young Indonesians tend to be rather shy and this needs to change—they have to be brave, speak up and ask questions when needed.
Photo by Heri B. Heryanto