Handicraftpreneurs Coloring the World in One Roof
From a Smart Village to a Global Market
Inacraft is one of the pioneering craft trade shows in Indonesia. Prepared in 1998 and then cancelled due to the tragedy of the riots followed by the economic crisis, finally in the following year 1999, ASEPHI (Asosiasi Eksportir & Produsen Handicraft Indonesia, an organization founded on April 5, 1975) as the initiator of INACRAFT succeeded in carrying out the first craft trade fair in the country that was delayed. The first trade fair was attended by ASEPHI members mainly from craft production centers in Java (East Java, West Java, Solo, Pekalongan, Yogya) and Bali, as well as 102 maklun traders. This first exhibition was assisted by PT Samudra Dyan Praga. From the planned JCC venue, INACRAFT ’99 was finally held at the Bidakara Building in Pancoran, South Jakarta, with the timing of the exhibition in April, close to the schedule of international buyers in the Southeast Asia region, in order to ensure that the exhibition could be organized in a timely manner.
The inaugural Inacraft suffered a loss of approximately $100 million (a considerable amount at the time), so Samudra resigned as EO but remained a regular contractor. Then, in 2000, ASEPHI began collaborating with PT Mediatama Binakreasi in the implementation of the exhibition and inviting crafters, craft businesses, and exporters, as well as expanding and building the ASEPHI organization in all corners of Indonesia’s craft centers, in order to develop and manage ASEPHI members as the main motor of participation as loyal exhibitors who follow the INACRAFT promotion platform from generation to generation.
When it comes to INACRAFT, there are many perspectives to interpret the story of over two decades of this national craft exhibition. Inacraft has been held 23 times in the period 1999–2023, except during the pandemic (2020 and 2021). From a business perspective, an event like Inacraft, which uses the entire area of the Convention Center Hall, covering an area of +25,000 m2, can be said to be “successful.” Success for organizers and success for participants means that exhibitors always look forward to the Incraft schedule with enthusiasm. This exhibition during this period has been visited by more than 3.5 million visitors and followed by an average of 1200 exhibitors each year, consisting of 70% ASEPHI members and the rest non-members, including craftsmen, SMEs fostered by the government, agencies, state-owned enterprises, and participants from abroad. The value of retail transactions that INACRAFT has recorded has reached Rp. 1.3 trillion.
THE PIONEER DREAM
INACRAFT in terms of the MICE creative industry is a phenomenal achievement and a phenomenal reference in Indonesia’s MICE portfolio because Inacraft has its own speciality, initiated by Indonesians, followed by Indonesian participants, displaying superior Indonesian products, and loved by local visitors (also international). Until before the 2020–2021 COVID-19 pandemic, Inacraft had recorded trade contracts worth US$115 million with 15,000 foreign buyers. And only after the pandemic at the upcoming INACRAFT 2024 exhibition will we again mobilize potential foreign buyers. Therefore, with the many successes that Inacraft has achieved, the MICE industry (Venue magazine version) translates Inacraft as a strategic sector that provides a trickle-down effect because it has fulfilled its function as an event initiated by a group of people themselves, trickling down the benefits because it creates jobs and opens up various economic opportunities that have a continuing effect on sustainable economic growth, from entrepreneurs and exporters to small crafters in remote areas of the country. In addition, of course, Inacraft has political value too, because almost all presidents in their time provided support in the form of their presence to open the official opening of the exhibition from the 5th President Megawati to President Jokowi, who in fact came down and became an Inacraft exhibitor when he was still a businessman in Solo.
The story of an event called INACRAFT will not be separated from the initiators and anyone who is then involved in moving to continue the ideals of the pioneers in developing ASEPHI’s vision and mission to provide a permanent promotional platform in a professional manner and provide good business value for participants, namely short-term business (retail) B2C and B2B trade contracts for profitable business development and provide economic improvement for the perpetrators through world developments and all the challenges faced with changing times in the era of the Gen Z generation.
Inacraft’s reputation would not have been possible without the pioneers, who are qualified figures in their fields. We mention the initiators (pioneers), consisting of: (1). The late Rudy Lengkong (former Ministry of Trade Bureaucrat, Head of BPEN, Chairman of ASEPHI 1998–2014) The late Mr. Sjahroel (Director of Crafts Division of BPEN, Ministry of Trade, Founder and former Secretary General/Treasurer of ASEPHI until 2012) The late Thamrin Bustami, retired BPEN Ministry of Trade Secretary General of ASEPHI 2003–2014 and last served as Chairman of ASEPHI 2014–2019, (4) The late Sukartono, retired BPEN Minister of Trade, (5) Hariman T. Zagloel, CEO of Samudra Dyan Praga The initiating team was supported by the mobilizing team, including (6). Gusmardi Bustami, Bureaucrat Head of the BPEN Ministry of Trade, (7) Bramantyo, Managing Director of PT Mediatama Binakreasi until 2022, who participated in the region with ASEPHI networking and canvassing for the region (8). Muchsin Ridjan, the People’s Representative who has been dedicated to the BPEN Ministry of Trade, served as Secretary General and Treasurer of ASEPHI and is currently still holding the position of Chairman of ASEPHI 2019-2024. (9) Baby Jurmawati, ASEPHI Treasurer General 2012-2016, and ASEPHI Secretary General until now (10). The late Hadi Sunarno, project officer, handled the sales team for the longest time until Inacraft in March 2022.
Facing the Gen-Z era is a MUST
Time flies; two decades have passed by. We went through the difficult times of the pandemic with enthusiasm because creative actors never give up; acrobatically switching professions for a while is not a regret, as is the INACRAFT Organization. ASEPHI, as the organizer and owner of the INACRAFT brand and copyrights, also moved. Generations change for sure; we make many changes and developments in line with the needs and changes of the times and technological advances. Before 2016, ASEPHI had developed a marketplace name, INACRAFTMALL, when many people did not know yet about platform digital. We were vacuumed during the pandemic, but we managed to make Inacraft Go Digital and Marketplace in Inacraft Apps up and running well, initiated by Muhammad Jufri, ASEPHI Vice Chairman, despite the fact that not all craft products can be sold on the digital platform because craft products, especially traditional fabrics and other creative objects, do not have a standard size like other consumer goods, so some of our digital tenants did not succeed in reaching the market. But one thing is for sure: we managed to create a platform independently and are sure that generation Z will utilize it. ASEPHI also managed to open new market opportunities for Inacraft in the second half of October. so that by 2022, Inacraft will be held twice a year. Of course, there are many questions about what the difference is between the two, but it is certain that over time, the expected exhibition format will become increasingly common. At present, according to the expectations of ASEPHI members who need the right promotional platform, it has been realized.
AWARDS AND APPRECIATION
The success of Inacraft has provided positive rewards for ASEPHI and Inacraft, including the Ministry of Trade award as the best exhibition of the year 2014, Bintang Jasa Utama from President R.I. of Indonesia SBY to Chairman of ASEPHI, the Cultural Award as the best community of the year 2018 Maestro Seni dan Trades from Minister of Education & Culture, and ASEPHI with INACRAFT becoming the best association during the pandemic from the International Craft Association in 2021. In terms of organizing the exhibition, Inacraft has developed the insight of the exhibition program into an activity that is taken seriously and becomes a mainstay for its participants, namely the selection of the best craft products with UNESCO/World Craft Council standard assessment categories and criteria. ASEPHI has even developed an online judging process since 2016. With the help of professional judges, many INACRAFT awardees have successfully grown their businesses and gained the trust of other parties. https://intro.inacraftaward.com A number of products https://intro.inacraftaward.com/buku-inacraft-award/products that have received awards and continued with the submission of excellecent certificates to the international WCC and also provided a marketplace https://inacraftaward.com/shop . In addition, in each implementation, Inacraft also presents events that are useful for participants and visitors, ranging from talkshows, art performances, and workshops, including the INACRAFT TRUNK SHOW, for ASEPHI members who want to appear and introduce their new products with professional models and professional show directors, considering fashion products and their derivatives are always changing and developing faster, and from transaction data, products from this category always occupy high transactions.
Currently, Inacraft has developed into a community according to the 2018 award from the Ministry of Culture, Maestro Art, and Tradition for the Komuntas category. Due to the fact that many stakeholders are involved in organizing Inacraft, The participants are not only participants because they build networks and expand networking and business opportunities with various circles of fellow participants, with visitors, and certainly with buyers. One other thing that is also interesting is that INACRAFT is also a LAB EVENT for students majoring in MICE and entrepreneurs who every Inacraft hundreds come to learn to learn. And increasingly developing, even expatriates who are learning Indonesian culture and language also become the most appropriate Inacraft tempãt practice. While ASEPHI’s networking as an official entity representing Indonesia in the World Craft Council is a barometer to see trends and complete creativity in the world of crafts from fellow members of WCC International and Asia Pacific,
Starting in 2022, Inacraft will expand the concept of the exhibition. In accordance with the results of the Inacraft seminar, which ensures that culinary products and their derivatives are a craft work, not just as an exhibition facility, culinary, if treated seriously not only in processing but also presentation and packaging, is a creative result that cannot be separated from skilled hands and the use of creativity in packaging. In addition to our luxurious Inacraft Award and ASEPHI Emerging Award programs, which are the standard reference for superior craft products based on raw material categories and artisan appreciation, Inacraft builds Talam Inacraft for culinary products and packaging. Inacraft is now more than just a trade show, as it has become a home for various communities. Many ideals and hopes are pinned on the shoulders of Inacraft. Inacraft offers Provincial IKON in each event in order to showcase the culture of each province in Indonesia in the National Craft Forum more broadly, followed by the Country of Honor, which is expected by foreign participants to take advantage of the promotion in Inacraft for their country given the completeness of the diverse participants and visitors to Inacraft as the entrance to Indonesia, which promises a large market as a new bright spot in Asia. And for ASEPHI members, this is a challenge to work with more quality considering that the global competition is currently very open. Kenara does not collaborate and opens the eyes of Indonesian crafters to be ready to face the challenges of a competitive global market.
With the full support of ASEPHI members and the mobilization of ASEPHI administrators from all regions (18 provinces; Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Bali, and NTB), the Inacraft Exhibition officially sets a 2-year exhibition schedule, namely Inacraft Classic in April * and Inacraft on October every October, which is ngepop kekinian and accommodates more young entrepreneurs who have never participated in this exhibition with a combination of all creative fields getting a chance. The period after this pandemic is called INACRAFT Volume 2, because it starts again in 2022, held twice a year and held offline and online (dual hybrid) with the hope that Inacraft accommodates like a roof to shelter senior and junior creative entrepreneurs, famous and not famous, done wholeheartedly with the hope that it will remain a reference exhibition for business people and be awaited by visitors and buyers.
There is no god that doesn’t retake, and of course there are many shortcomings and imperfections during this period of time. Inacraft for us, the next generation, is like a family for ASEPHI and Mediatama, who support each other. Under the leadership of the current Director of Mediatama, Umi Noor, we have agreed on many programs to make Inacraft better and better. The current Chairman of ASEPHI, Dr. Muchsin Ridjan, agreed that every creative product is a work that should be appreciated. Creative people are dynamic and look to the future. For ASEPHI, Inacraft is like a chapel that sails across the ocean facing all the challenges of stormy obstacles, but all those who take shelter under the Inacraft sail will not stop but are determined to continue to carry out their funsginya to be the right and affordable promotional forum for Indonesian craftsmanship and can still display quality Indonesian-made products and are ready to compete with similar products from abroad with the support of all parties, including the support of the central government and regional offices that provide support and enthusiasm with their presence, coloring every year of Inacraft’s journey to this day and later. From Smart Village to Global Market is still the Inacraft tagline, strengthened by the Inacraft subthema as a community of various creative industry backgrounds: Inacraft, the Worldcitizenpreneurs under One Roof.