The story behind Herspot started when I was still in college. There was this one brand that asked me to be the model of its online shop. I was not a model whatsoever but it was worth a try to get extra pocket money. After seeing how they built their brand, I became interested in starting my own online shop. But I didn’t know how to start. So in mid 2012 I started an online shop by becoming a re-seller. I started on BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) and my customers were mainly my relatives and close friends. The initial capital was zero. I did not spend any money as my capital except my courage to offer the products to people I felt would shop at mine. Then I invited them to the BBM group. At first I felt embarrassed to offer them such products, it felt like I was an SPG (Sales Promotion Girl), but I thought that I was working by offering people products instead of begging for money. Why should I feel ashamed of it? I did not force those people to shop. As time went by, my friends had started enjoying to shop at mine like asking the
new collections, etc. and I felt the opportunity is getting bigger. Unfortunately, I had to go to South Korea to continue my study. When I was there, I felt that it would be a waste if I abandon my business because it went well and that my friends would forget my online shop if I stopped. So I decided that I would deal with the selling while my
partner would deal with the importing. I also tried to find the opportunity to bring something from there to be sold in Indonesia. After I went back home to Indonesia in 2013, I saw that the opportunity was there to take and I needed to start building my own brand. So I was determined to sell my own products instead of selling other people’s. Then I went to Bangkok to find the proper materials, it was my first time being there. That’s the background story of Herspot.
The name Herspot itself was chosen when I was brainstorming in campus with my classmates. I asked them about the name that would suit my business. Then one of them suggested the name Herspot, explaining that the word was kind of ambiguous so people would easily remember.
The Story When I Went to Bangkok
I went to Bangkok with my partner and my mom. I went there through the income I got from being a re-seller. It was enough though. I knew nothing of where I should find the proper materials so you could say that we were all blind. I only had determination with me as I thought if it was meant for me then there would be a way. The results were
trial and error. But eventually I could find the right seller. One time, I was hypnotized there when I was eating in a fast-food chain. There was a person who started a conversation with me, asked me to open my purse, then took the money and left. I did not know what happened but when I got back to the hotel then I realized that my money was gone. Fortunately I did not bring much money that night but I was unlucky that this incident happened to me.
Opening a Physical Store
I had the first thought of opening it when I opened a bazaar stand in
FX Sudirman where I met a lot of customers and saw their enthusiasm.
Actually it is better to see customers face to face in a physical store because they could try my products on and would not wait long.
Aside from that, I will be satisfied when I can see them being satisfied with my products. Then I decided it would be better if I could open a physical store in order to boost the customers’ trust and to strengthen the brand.
My Parents’ Reaction
Actually when I decided to open Herspot, I did not have my parents’ full permission. My mom even said, "you are schooled expensively but you only open an online shop, better for you not to be schooled at all." But I did want to make it a headache, the thing she said even motivated me to prove that I could do it. They should not underestimate their child’s chosen field of work. I thought even if I failed, at least I had tried to pursue my dream and listened to my heart. Actually I was really interested in fashion but my parents disagreed. They told me to study business and said that fashion major would be useless for my future. However, I was small-minded at that time by only following what I wanted. In the end, I just gave in and followed what they wanted.
My Response to My Parents’ Reaction
In the beginning I was disappointed. But after that, it has become my motivation until now. I thought I would show them that someday they would be proud with what I’d be doing. From that moment, I have always wanted to try to become better and more serious.
At first, I really disliked it. In high school, I majored in social science, so I knew that I did not like economy or accounting, but my parents still insisted me to study business. During my first semester, my GPA was so-so. But as soon as I reached the second semester, I realized that I had to be grateful and just embraced it.
My View Regarding Youngsters with Certain Interests/Hobbies but Must
Follow Their Parents’ Wishes
For me, following parents’ wishes is not bad. But I strongly disagree when they force what they want on their children. We are different individuals from them and we have our own wishes where they should put their trust on. Give them your enthusiasm and optimistic sense to convince them that what we choose will lead us to a better future.
Like me, even when I disliked taking business as my major, I would have known nothing about business if I had not studied it.
The Initial Problems of Having a Business
The difficulty was that I became like an anti-social because I had to focus on my business. I did not have any capital while my parents would not support me. So I had limited time for my friends. Because I had to focus, all of my time was allocated to my business. You can imagine that I was on my own. I had to take care of my customers, like replying to their messages which was super time-consuming, packaging the product, sending it to the expedition, branding, becoming a model in my own online shop in which I had to edit the pictures and upload them to social media. I also had to think about marketing, distribution, latest trend, competitor analysis, getting the raw materials, naming the product, and pricing in which I had to take care by myself whereas I only have two arms and one brain. My routine was just to study and work. I even became lazy to go to college as I had difficulty in allocating time between study and work. As a result, I had little time for myself, no time for others, and I became less social which made me hard to feel what a college student should have felt, like hanging out with friends, etc. I often refused my friends’ invitation to hang out in which at one point made them reluctant to ask me again.
The Struggle of Herspot
The economy of Indonesia is rather slow. Customers then had the power to purchase, but now they might think twice before buying something. Aside from that, many competitors are emerging these days, it’s like I see them emerging everyday. I must also know about how I can keep the customers satisfied. I must come up with a strategy so that my almost-4-year-old online shop would not lose to those new competitors. I also did not have any experience working in other places, so I did not know what a real work experience felt like. Sometimes I lack creative ideas because everything within Herspot is a system I created myself, so I would not know whether it is the correct way or the other way around. But everyday I learn.
My View About Local Brands
There are many youngsters today that desire to start their own business. The reason they want this is that they don’t want to work for other people. But in the end, there are many online shops that are not successful in which I think due to lack of luck, focus, and timing. No matter what kind of work we are doing, if we don’t give our all 100% and full attention, it will not last long. Doing business isn’t just the excitement in the beginning, we must stick by the up and down process. Even if we have a well-thought business plan, it will be useless if we don’t utilize it correctly.
Why Herspot is Different
In my opinion, for a brand to be different from the others, it must find its own style or characteristic. In Herspot, what makes us different from other local brands is the style and strong characteristic of Herspot. Our style is kind of edgy combined with street wear. We must have our own style. Even when we need to follow the trend, we must not lose our characteristic. As simple as that.
To be honest, I’ve never had any inspiration in my life. For me, my inspiration is my thoughts about the better life that I often create inside my head. So my inspiration is my own thoughts. I had felt that in my childhood and teenage years, I was not happy. I came from a broken home family where it was not easy to buy this and that and not all of my wants were able to be fulfilled by my parents. That’s why I want to have a better life where I can buy things I’ve always wanted. In the end, I realized that I could not rely on my parents in order to make myself happy. That thought makes me to work harder to achieve what I want.
What I Used to Be
I was not confident. I felt so small compared to other friends. I felt I was born in an imperfect family, unlike my other friends who were born in families that could always support them. When I was in kindergarten, I was bullied by my friends, it is something that I can never forget until now. The reason I got bullied was that they did not see me as one of them as they thought I was different. My appearance at that time was like I was not properly taken care of. That made me not confident with everything, from friendships, study, and in the end made me a reserved person. Sooner or later I tried to accept the condition of my family, I tried to accept myself, and I learned to be grateful by not comparing myself to others all the time. Yes, the grass is always greener on the other side. That means I have to start watering my own grass not just comparing without introspecting myself because every family has its own problems. What we see that is good in others might not be better than us. So learn to be grateful by changing our mindset to be more positive. Fortunately, I can be myself now.
Message for Women to Stand Up for Themselves
People like to say, "being a girl is easy, just find a rich guy and that’s it." For me, a woman must have dignity and pride. We must be able to be independent and to depend on ourselves to makes us happy. Believe me, having a rich guy is just a bonus. It is better for us to use our brain and body to work so that we will have a purpose in life, something that can motivate us to do our daily activities. Based on my experience, being able to buy something out of our hard work is more satisfying than buying it out of other people’s money. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, having a rich guy is indeed very nice, but don’t let that thought makes you lazy to be productive or even lazy to work.
Future and Dream of Herspot
Just to be like Zara is enough to make me happy. Stores everywhere and abroad. To reach there, I want to focus on settling Herspot, because it is far from ’WOW’. There are many details that I need to work on before becoming that big. I still need to fix the system in Herspot while adding more product lines such as... ooops I’m not going to tell you guys because this is still a secret! Just pray for the best!
One Word to Describe My Current Life
Unexpected. There are many things in my life that happen unexpectedly.
Message for Youngsters
First, find what you guys like the most according to your passion so that it won’t be a burden when you go through it. Then trust me, it is not just about luck, but focus and seriousness. When you see an opportunity, try hard not to lose the timing. It’s better to have an ’ooops’ than ’what ifs’. Take the opportunity as quick as possible and don’t have any regret. It is better to try something than nothing at all.
#BehindTheBrands with Mery Priyanto (Founder of Herspot) English ver.