Running a company takes a lot of time and energy – clocking in long hours at the office, travelling, speaking with suppliers, customers, etc. But though the day to day takes up 90% of my time, critical to our line and its spirit is my annual research trips to Indonesia. Born there myself, I have the benefit of speaking the local language, Bahasa, which enables me to do my investigations… Just as the heritage of JUARA goes back of hundreds of years, it’s still a living herbal tradition (called Jamu) that also evolves in the present. It’s a part of everyday culture, and despite its growing popularity with foreigners and tourists, it maintains its integrity.
I usually start my trip in Jakarta, my hometown, where I combine family visits and ingredient research. I speak with herbalists, comb through markets, old herbal books and modern libraries to educate and inspire myself to see what delectable ingredients JUARA can bring to the US. Will it be Candlenut? Tamarind? Turmeric? Yes, yes, and yes so far. What’s next? It excites me that many of the ingredients are also in the local cuisine I grew up with, so I know firsthand what we can bring are ingredients that are not only good to you but also good for you! Some call it trendspotting, I call it a normal part of my research process.
And then my annual trip to Bali. I admit, I get no sympathies from friends who hear that I’m sooo busy working, rushing around visiting spas (ie: experiencing delectable hours-long treatments) in Bali that have original and creative treatments inspired by an age-long tradition. I go to be re-inspired of what luxury and self-pampering really feels like when not in the hustle and bustle of New York – and remember this is what EVERYONE needs to be able to experience! I pack how I look and feel during the treatment process and after: refreshed, relaxed, re-energized, and oh-so-stress free, and pack it carefully in a mental box which I carry back to my teammates, and with a passion we infuse it on all our products and treatments. If only you could join me in Bali – if not, well, let me bring it to you.
So, I’m going again this January of 2009 to do my research – I’m thinking of all of you as I go… any suggestions?