Recently I read the news that the Governor of West Java had ordered all his civil servants to buy and wear shoes that are made in Indonesia. Governor Ahmad Heryawan started this campaign to support the local shoe industry; and was reported to give all his civil servants one month grace period before taking actions against anyone flouting his order. Thereafter if he find any civil servant wearing foreign made shoes, he will punish the offender with 200 push ups exercise. Really his campaign of Made in Indonesia shoes are very amusing to me.
Many international brands of shoes such as Nike, Reebok, Adidas and many more are made in Indonesia. So it means that Indonesia has the capacity and skills to made high quality shoes. Then why is it that the shoes with local brands are not in hot demand with the local Indonesians? I think the taste and the aspirations of the Indonesians have changed over the years. Many Indonesians especially the young are fashion trendy and with more money to spend. These young people are fashion and brand conscious, and they won’t want to be caught by their peers wearing local brand shoes or clothes -in their view this would be an sheer embarrassment. Even Indonesians in their forties and fifties are now increasing buying foreign brand shoes, clothes and accessories. When we go to any upscale mall in Jakarta, consumers are buying foreign brand products, eating in foreign brand restaurants, buying foreign brand home appliances and phones.
My view is that if you want more Indonesians to buy local products such as shoes, the manufacturers must first improve upon the quality, design and the brand of the product. When I go to Bandung for shopping, there are locally made shoes that are quite attractive in design, but the quality seems to be lower. I will not hesitate to buy local products so long as it is of good quality at affordable price. The local manufacturers and distributors must have a more competitive business attitude if they want to succeed in capturing the local consumers market.
An example of a successful Indonesian brand is Teh Botol produced by the Indonesian company Sosro. Teh Botol is a sweetened Jasmine tea that is very popular in Indonesia. I loved drinking it just as I also enjoy drinking Jasmine tea produced by Pokka. Drinking Jasmine tea from a glass bottle is unique to Teh Botol and in this instance, the company has a successful marketing strategy. Another example of a successful product and brand in Indonesia is the Bintang Beer. It is a very popular local brand of beer in Indonesia and I drink it all the time when I am in Indonesia.
I do own and wear shoes made in Indonesia but at the same time I also wear foreign branded shoes. I hope that the Governor of Java would not be too harsh on his subordinates. Perhaps he could just made it mandatory for his civil servants to wear local made shoes once a week – like every Monday which is the start of the working week. He could also worked with local shoes manufacturers and distributors to get special discount for his subordinates when they buy shoes made in Indonesia.