Java Connection as the Pioneer

Gunawan Trisaputra (Iwan to his friends) was born on 6 March 1969, the 3rd son of 4. His father is Kwan Hong Bie and his (late) mother Liem Liem Liang Hwa. His grandfather came from a small village near Fuzhou in mainland China and Iwan is the third generation to be born in Indonesia. Iwan has a love of Indonesian culture and art and has started a business trading in these arts, especially batik. In recognition of the importance of Batik as an art form, UNESCO has recently added batik to its cultural heritage list.

Java Connection was set up 6 years ago to promote the batik industry in Indonesia and the island of Java in particular. Iwan studied at the Yamaha Conservatory of music in Jakarta and then graduated as a Bachelor of Music from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Iwan was employed professionally at Yamaha teaching both piano and Yamaha Electone before moving on to marketing their vast range of products and musical instruments

Iwan chose to start his handicraft and batik business in Yogyakarta because it is the town in which he was born. It is also an ancient city and a centre for the arts, especially batik.

Iwan owns an exclusive boutique in the Omah Dhuwur Gallery and Restaurant, Jl. Mondarakan No. 252 Kota Gede, Yogyakarta. He also has several other outlets in Bali and Jakarta. Most of the batik supplied is fully handmade (batik tulis). Iwan employs and educates over 100 people, giving them skills in batik making including hand-waxing (canting), stamp-waxing (cap) and dyeing. Most of these activities are carried out using traditional processes with superb results.

What is more interesting is that many of the people trained are difable (differently-abled). The training boosts the confidence of these people and provides them with skills they can use to support themselves. Some of the trainees are taken on as employees of Java Connection or other companies. The training also supports batik communities, mostly in rural villages.

Java Connection has attracted batik lovers within Indonesia and also worldwide. Java Connection has a branch in England that retails products online and supplies customers in Europe, the USA and the Middle East. The most popular items are beachwear and batik sarongs.

As a new player in the business, Iwan has worked hard to establish a good reputation and gain exposure. Java Connection supplies the Martha Tilaar Group, one of the biggest cosmetic producers and spas in Indonesia, as well as other organizations and institutions, supplying made-to-order batik designs on uniforms, fabrics, gifts, stationery etc. Other clients include the Four Seasons in the Maldives, Hotel Sultan Jakarta (formerly the Hilton) plus stores in several large shopping malls in Jakarta and Bali.

Java Connection also provides batik training to local and foreign tourists at the Omah Dhuwur Gallery, employing batik teachers and batik makers (including difable) from the local area. These activities set Java Connection apart from other batik companies.