World’s first e-commerce site for Muslim fashion – with Indonesian entrepreneur Diajeng Lestari
Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the entire world. Over 85% of the Indonesian population is Muslim. However, there are not many brands that have catered to the Muslim fashion segment at a large scale. This is the problem that Diajeng Lestari set out to solve with her venture HiJup.com
With her unique insight into the HiJab community, while smartly leveraging technology and digital media to enable engagement and distribution, Diajeng has built a brand that hits the spot with many Muslim women in Indonesia.
What has this entrepreneur done right? What’s her story? We find out.
Birth of HiJup.com
I studied political science from University of Indonesia. Studying economics was a prerequisite for this course. I learnt a few very important basic things during this phase. For countries to flourish, one needs to produce more than they consume. Right now, Indonesia is consuming more than producing, and that is the problem. Being a political science student gives me a unique perspective on how the country should work, and I try to apply all the learnings in my company today.
Post my graduation, I worked as a researcher in MARS Indonesia. I noticed a lot of large players were coming to Indonesia and setting up their brands. However, what was surprising is that none of them was focused on pleasing the majority Muslim community here. I went ahead and spoke to a few of my friends who are into designing and were running their small stores. I thought why not bring them all online, and help create a brand for Muslim fashion. Thus was born HiJup.com three years ago – the first site of its kind in the entire world.
I started the site with 14 sellers, I went door-to-door to sign up designers on the platform in the initial days. I convinced them that with technology they can reach out to wider audience. I went out aggressively and spoke to a lot of Hijabers communities (a group of women in Indonesia). I started getting clients from these communities. Today, we have 83 sellers on the site. Today, we have about 8000 unique visitors on our site everyday. Today, we are 17 people team.
40% of women who shop with us are working women. Mostly they access the site while at office. Credit cards are not yet very popular in Indonesia.
We have a very large variety of garments for our audience. Hijab is a covering worn by muslim women. Right from Ciput (inner Hijab), to Manset (inner long shirt) to Mukena (prayer garment for women), we stock it all in really nice designs.
We have a studio at our office. We recently ran a contest to identify a model who could carry off Hijabs very well. This contest was very well received. We do photo-shoots at our office. We do video shoots for our partners products, we make it easier for the designers to go-to market and take care of their branding completely.
We have a Youtube channel with useful content for Muslim women. 40% of our channel visitors are from overseas. Which means there is demand for our products outside of Indonesia as well. We want to go to Singapore and Malaysia next. India and Pakistan have a large Muslim population too. Our Youtube channel is the 12th most popular channel in Indonesia.
Creating content and engaging audience has catapulted our growth.
My husband is an entrepreneur too
I think entrepreneurship runs in my family. My husband is a startup entrepreneur too. He runs Bukalapak (Indonesia’s C2C marketplace). It really helps that my husband is an entrepreneur. We share notes and learnings from each other’s journeys, and that is a big advantage for both of us.
On starting up in Indonesia
According to a McKinsey report, the emerging market size in Indonesia is going to hit 85 million people soon, so it is a good time to do business here. I think personally from my experience, Indonesians don’t discriminate against women who start their own business. However, right now the number of women doing their own business is really less here, I am sure it will change.
What gives me happiness
The site is open to designers and small businesses. For me personally, we are impacting the bottom-line of their businesses, and helping them grow. We want to empower them and help them build their brands. This one thing keeps me going and gives me happiness. I would love to see our designers and small business partners becoming big brands.
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