Coming Together – Metta Murdaya

One of the favorite things I enjoy most owning and running a business is meeting interesting, motivated, passionate women who are inspired by something they do or have created. Sometimes they’re more quirky characters, like a woman I had met at a tradeshow who cultivated dirt and insisted on giving me her business card that had a bag of dirt attached to it (she was so enthusiastic!) while others may circle the world of entrepreneurs – jewelry designers, fragrance makers, tech company founders, independent consultants, and more. But not only do I find who I meet is interesting, but sometimes it is how I meet them is that is special.

Earlier this year, a journalist, Karen Zusman, was writing a story for Organic Beauty magazine about Indonesian spa tradition and she was looking for people well versed in Indonesian beauty rituals. Through this, my name was passed to her through Kim Collier, the lovely, highly knowledgeable owner of the spa/bodycare line Jamu, (thanks Kim!) along with Susan Jane Beers – the author of the book “JAMU: The Ancient Art of Herbal Healing,” who has written, to my knowledge, the only comprehensive, pleasantly informative, and easy to read book about the JAMU tradition in English. Needless to say, back in the early and pre-JUARA days, I devoured the book, using it as an inspiration, along with other more technical books in Indonesian. I’ve even given the book to the beauty editors of magazines, in hopes they’ll also fall in love with and understand the richness and beauty of Indonesian herbal and beauty tradition. (That’s why JUARA is so authentic – it’s really that amazing back home!) I have never met Susan before, as I knew she doesn’t reside in the US, but through the connection of this article, Susan reached out to me, which suprised me, yet made me really happy. And so I find out, lo and behold – she resides in Singapore, a place I go to every year in my transit to Jakarta! So 6 months after email correspondence with the author of the book who I have always held dear, we met for coffee at a cafe in Singapore. How global. We had so much to talk about – her life is so different than mine now, but how how common interests can bond. And just last week, I was in Indonesia again, and again, we were able to connect, 6 months after our first meeting, this time in a Thai restaurant in Jakarta. We had a great time and I so enjoyed speaking with her, which is a nice reminder that despite my hectic days in NY, where connections with people often stem from convenience of schedules, that sometimes people can bond over space/time from common passions. It’s really refreshing. So, we part until our next meal together… I wonder where in the world that may be, but I’m looking forward to it!

Susan’s book, JAMU: The Ancient Art of Herbal Healing is available at here.
Tidbits of the article in Organic Beauty can be seen here. For all JUARA press, visit:

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