Born in two completely different cultures has motivated this young entrepreneur to share his mixed culture point of views through his own business. Half Japanese and half Indonesian, Riki Kono Basmeleh thought no reason not to combine both countries’ specialties when it comes to sweetness.
Tell us a little a bit about your family background, you being half Japanese and half Indonesian. And do your family shape your entrepreneurship skill?
“I have been away from my family for 8 years when I studied overseas, since high school to university. I appreciated the meaning of family because I was away, like how important they are in my life. But I’m not too– I think this is me being a Japanese– we don’t say ‘I love you’ and stuff, but we respect each other. My dad is an entrepreneur, I grew up watching my dad making business, the struggle and so forth. So I learned from my dad in a sense. My Japanese side, my mom is more like the educational side and I learned a lot of values from her. My life mission is be a bridge between Indonesia and Japan.”
Now, how about a bedtime story behind DORÉ by LeTAO.
“I wanted to create Indonesian souvenirs. I came back to Indonesia 6 years ago after studying in Australia, I noticed Indonesian culture aspects which I find very interesting, so we started the company with a Japanese partner, who turned out to be the biggest Japanese company in food souvenirs. They produce such nicely packaged cheesecakes, cookies and stuff. My brand is called DORÉ by LeTAO–which is a brand from Hokkaido, a region where they have the best cheesecake I’ve ever had in my life. We added DORÉ after signing a contract stating that we can produce in Indonesia, rather than importing it from LeTAO in Japan. So, in a way, DORÉ is like a sister brand of LeTAO from Japan but DORÉ itself does its own production, hampers, gift in Indonesia.”
What do you wish to achieve through DORÉ?
“Well, if you want to do a restaurant business, to be the best one in Jakarta would be difficult because everyone has their own opinions on that. You have to specify the type of food, so my strategy is to make sure people will remember DORÉ as a cheese specialist.”
Creating a business is already a tough story, but doing it with your friends is another story, how do you manage to keep both relationships on track?
“I think we’re on good terms as professionals, so we started to talk more openly about our results. When I’m slacking off, they’d kick my butt to work harder, so it’s getting more professional along the way. Initially, there was a reluctant feeling but now we keep on good condition both professionally as well as partying together and stuff like that.”
You seem very passionate about things that you do, how do you keep yourself motivated?
“I constantly learn from others, I’m not that kind of person who reads all the time, so I go out and meet other entrepreneurs that I respect so I can learn from them. Constantly, I’m trying to learn about myself, it really helps. For example, I found out that I’m a very extrovert person, so when I’m at home I can’t be productive. I like going out to meet people and learn from them. I have to change my environment to follow what I am good at.”
Advice you’d like to share to those who are about to start their new business venture?
“It’s really important not to follow what you like. Because we, as millennials or whatever generations, are told to follow what we like. A lot of people at this age are very generalist, we tend to like a lot of things. So if you follow what you like, you’ll end up doing a lot of things. But if you follow what you’re passionate about, you can actually fall (in love doing what you like) more. Sometimes you have to do what you don’t like. It’s really important to not just do what you like, but finding what you can be passionate about.”
Writer: Windyannisa Cindrati
Editor: Galuh Tathya
Photographer: Ganang Arfiandi
Digital Imaging: Dela Naufalia
Location: DORÉ by LeTAO at Plaza Indonesia