Going global: An inspiration from BIASA

“Going global is not just selling things to other countries. It’s about sharing values to the world.”

Had I never know BIASA, I would never come with such statement. Why? I guess I would have think that ‘sharing values to the world’ is just another theoretical concept. Good to read, hard to implement. But, BIASA is a proof that sharing values to the world is in fact possible and necessary.BIASA is a fashion brand. It’s a fashion brand from Bali, an Indonesian province mostly known for its tourism. I bet more people in the world know the island of Bali, but don’t know where is Indonesia in the map. Not much that I know about BIASA, except that it has high quality clothing product and a unique name. BIASA founded by Susanna Perini, with main office and factory in Seminyak, Bali. According to what I know, Susan Perini is not a native of Bali, but had live with her family there for more than two decades. Despite that she is not a native, I feel that she successfully translates the atmosphere of Bali into her high quality level of work at BIASA (you can check an interview with her here).

The word ‘biasa’ itself in Bahasa Indonesia is synonymous with ‘ordinary’ in English.

However, BIASA is nowhere close to ordinary. BIASA is an extra ordinary fashion brand, with extra ordinary artistic style. When I said ‘extra-ordinary artistic style’, I’m not referring to avant-garde style of fashion Lady Gaga likes to wear in her appearance. As a commoner in fashion, I’m certainly not an expert. But one thing I can see, BIASA is not a kind of fashion product we can easily spot in malls in big cities. Besides boutiques in Bali, BIASA only have one boutique in Jakarta. BIASA’s style of fashion can only be found in BIASA boutiques in Bali and Jakarta. BIASA has its own style, an artistic expression rooted in the unique character of BIASA.

If you visit a BIASA boutique, you will get an atmosphere of an international boutique with a strong hint of Balinese tranquility. A well-constructed fashion store with a distinguish artistic style, with many local foreign customers, and of course with nice service from the attendants; BIASA present itself as a local product with an international taste. In organizational context, this is how I describe what BIASA has done as local-going-global brand: BIASA has been successful in expressing its unique local values in an effective business strategy to impress customers from various countries.

Even though its name means ordinary (Bahasa Indonesia: ‘biasa’), BIASA’s brand is extra-ordinary (English: ‘luar biasa’).

Local-going-global, not the other way around

It’s not easy to put globalization and internationalization in balanced perspectives. Most people who had reaped the benefit will see them as a means to better welfare. As for those who has not yet received the fair advantage will see them as a systemic abuse over cheap labor and natural resources.

From BIASA, I learned that the real issue is not how fair they are, but how to make sure that we make it fair. And the inspiration would be: instead of being dependent to foreign brand, we need to bring our local values and branding to the world by presenting ourself with an international taste.

In addition to BIASA inspiration, there are several local values who are able to present themselves as potential international brands. One of them is Uluwatu, another clothing brand from Bali. Another example is Dowa, a fashion bag brand form Solo-Yogya. These bring local values to a special place among international customers, and proudly present themselves as Indonesian potential international brand. They are examples of success story in commercializing Indonesian local values to the global world. Indonesia has many potential local products that can join this league of local-going-global players. Indonesia has many potentials to become the proud ambassadors of Indonesia in the global economy.

We need more stories like BIASA. We need more local values who can presents themselves in a way that invite acknowledgement from the international communities. We need to become local-going-global economy, not the other way around. But, this can only be done by embracing internationalization with local wisdom, instead of twisted nationalism issue or other anti-modernism and anti-globalization attitude with shallow understanding.

I believe, the issue at hand is not about ‘how to say no to globalization and internationalization’. It is about bringing our own unique ordinary-simplicity to the world, and by doing that, we are extra-ordinary.

It’s our ‘biasa’ that makes us ‘luar biasa’.

2 responses to “Going global: An inspiration from BIASA

  1. Definitely agree with the basic idea of this article. This is one of the paradox in the human life; you can only be global by being an extraordinary local. However, the term local have to be interpreted critically. Being local is not being primitive (mind set or values), or just useless nostalgic of the past grandeur. I want to emphasize this point. Even though you already wrote that. Because, as you may know, we, as a nation, don’t have the proper hermeneutic ability to understand complicated concepts. Too bad..

    • I couldn’t agree more. Being local is not being isolated and outdated. This is why there are so many local potentials who end up become nothing, just because we reject to leave the past grandeur and acknowledge the necessity to present ourselves as the part of new world. The inability to embrace change had jeopardized so many potentials.

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