Four Papuan Children at Jogja Start a Business of Bags with Combined Noken and Modern Styles – Four young Papuans in Yogyakarta, Central Java formed the Olethea (‘gift from God’ – Greece), an effort to combine the Papuan Noken and modern styles for bags. They are Claudia Aprilia Pepiana, Maria Ina Saren, Bella Batosau and Mauren Mansnembra.

This effort to combine Noken and modern bags was formed with the vision of ‘making the Olethea products superior and modern, but still preserving the value of Papuan local wisdom’. Especially the Noken of Papua which has gone international (UNESCO).

The idea to form the business started with Claudia Aprilia Pepiana’s final project at the Duta Wacana Christian University (UKDW) Yogyakarta campus in 2020.

Maria Ina Saren, one of Claudia’s co-workers, told the story of how to form Olethea.

Initially, Ina, Maria Saren’s nickname, said students at the UKDW Yogyakarta campus liked and accepted the Claudia’s Noken design. Finally, after the passage of time, Claudia and three other colleagues who were studying at UKDW Yogyakarta together formed Olethea and started their business while still demonstrating the value of local wisdom, Noken Papua.

“Incidentally, we four people know each other well, so we are together, and Claudia invites us to work together to start this business combining the original Noken and the modern bag. We all took part in starting this business. We initially had 5 people, but now there are only 4 people, where Claudia as the owner, I (Ina) as a marketing and public relations operator, Bella Batosau as a finance holder, and Mauren Mansnembra as a person doing a responsible for logistics, “explained Ina.

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After that, his party started looking for Noken craftsmen in Jayapura, especially Papuan mothers who knit the Papuan Noken. “Although some of us are not native Papuans, we don’t want to just enjoy the results of Papua’s natural resources, but we want to manage them into something that can be developed and known by many people,” he said.

The motivation for seeking Papuan women to become craftsmen in Olethea, said Ina, is to help their economy in Jayapura, but also to maintain the quality of the Noken they produce.

He said all this was done, he just wanted to develop a more modern noken, especially not to eliminate local wisdom.

For the production, said Ina, the focus is on Bandung, West Java, but the Noken are really local woven from mothers in Jayapura. However, in the future it hopes to be produced in Jayapura, unfortunately the production cost in Jayapura is quite expensive which will affect the selling price.

“The designs were done by Claudia. He designs a lot of bag shapes with a blend of Noken which is also ready to be produced in the future and marketed. First we make a waist bag and a sling bag. Indeed, there are also backpacks, but not as many as waist bags, because the threads we use are different and the prices for backpacks are quite expensive,” he said.

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 So far, he said, his enterprise still sells their products in offline, but has an Instagram account @sa.olethea for promotion. They have marketed to outside Papua, such as NTT, Ambon, Sulawesi and a number of other areas in Indonesia.

Since Olethea was established until now (2020-2021), the sales results, although not much yet, are quite helpful for the next production.

In the future, Ina said, her enterprise has a target to find more local Noken craftsmen so that production can be further increased. In addition, he hopes that there will be support from investors in developing Olethea in the future.

He also admitted that his enterprise had joined the Papuan Local Market. Also really hope to be able to join the PON 2020 committee to promote Olethea products.

“If we join the PON committee and get one stand, then we plan to produce 100 pieces. Because surely there are many people from outside Papua who come and can make ole-ole to return to their area. But apart from that, we also want to have offline stores in Jayapura and outside Jayapura so that they are more well known,” he said.

They hope that their products will grow so that they can invite local craftsmen to work. Especially with this production, many Papuan children are aware of using Noken without being shame.

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