Meme Florist started from a simple dream, Mariani Wijayadi - who goes by Meme - says. “My husband and I wanted to have a business wherein we could still teach our children, and I could still take care of the family. That’s why our business is online.”
Owner of Meme Florist in Semarang, Java.
Achieving this dream wasn’t so simple, and started when Meme and her husband Hero were going through financial hardship. The travel agency where they worked in Semarang went bankrupt and the couple didn’t have a lot of money. Meme was running the household, but always knew she wanted to help run a business as well. The couple saw it as a challenge, but also an opportunity.
“We asked ourselves what we should do? Our finances were bad and we didn’t have steady jobs,” Meme says. “At that time the internet was just starting out, and we tried to sell everything we could to survive. But then we thought, what would sell better?”
They thought through and tried a few different businesses, but the strongest soon stood out. Meme loved flowers and her husband loved working online. They combined the two passions into Meme Florist. Their model was to connect sellers to consumers through an online store. Using an online platform also meant they could start something without a lot of money.
Then we explained a website was a store on the web, and it was open 24 hours.
While she loved flowers, Meme still had to learn about the art of flower arranging, varieties, and how to best sell them. She used online videos and articles for much of her research as they built the site. Next, they needed to convince the local flower sellers in Semarang that the couple’s online knowledge could help the sellers grow their offline businesses.
First, Meme and Hero had to walk them through what the internet and a website was. “We explained to our partners that we have a way to sell your flowers outside of the city,“ she says. “Then we explained a website was a store on the web, and it was open 24 hours. Then we showed them our site.”
“We went to different florists. If we were rejected, we went to the next one, and the one after that and so on,” she says. As their network of florists grew, they used the data from their site to help the florists better understand what customers wanted, which led to stronger sales.
The hard work has paid off - Meme Florist has expanded to over 200 partners in 50 cities. And while it’s a complex enterprise, Meme now has more time with her family. Using digital tools, she can manage and monitor the business through her smartphone, allowing her to focus on her priority - her children.
We, the women of Indonesia, should have the courage to dream. Even if the dream is small, do it.
Reflecting on her journey so far, Meme says the experience of running her own business, with the learning curves and late nights, has helped her and her husband grow. “We were shaped by what happened, and we were made stronger,” she says. “We learned to appreciate other people more and we are wiser in our financial decisions. We learned many things from the experience.”
And to other women business owners, Meme says, ‘We, the women of Indonesia, should have the courage to dream. Even if the dream is small, do it. You don’t need lots of capital to start because technology is there to help us. And perhaps that small dream will become bigger, and make an impact on someone else’s life.”
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