Checking the checklist of 2019

IMG_20190328_154900Time flies so fast! I cant believe it’s already May and we’ve passed almost the first semester of 2019! I’ve been pretty stoked with work and life recently that I didn’t post on this blog as often. At the beginning of this year–as always–I made a checklist of my action plan. Let’s see how many of them are already checked or in progress:

  • 1. Build my portfolio website (design and content)

Status: DOING (in revision). I finished my first design in January then decided to totally change it again from the design and content as I’ve known more about the kinds of jobs that I’d like doing. Take a look at my brand new design HERE, I’ve been getting many compliments on it!

  • 2. Put some content to the web that’s related to my service (content marketing)

Status: DOING (in revision). Due to the change in my content, the articles I’ve made before are not relevant anymore and I need to make new content.

  • 3. Offer more service exchange (my web design for others’ copywriting skills)

Status: DONE. No more service exchange, I’ve had enough experience already.

  • 3. When content is ready, set up an email list (email marketing)

Status: To-Do, still untouched.

  • 4. Create some affiliate links to new and existing posts

Status: To-do, still untouched.

  • 5. Draw more digital illustration project for portfolio

Status: Started, in progress. I’ve re-colored my illustration Instagram page with my color theme.

  • 6. Apply to more gigs directly or through freelancing sites

Status: Started. I’ve been getting a steady number of work regularly recently.

  • 7. Set up accounts on other 3 more freelancing sites

Status: Started. Made only one so far.

  • 8. Create digital products to sell (templates, icons)

Status: To-do, in June the longest.

  • 9. Learn how to create a WordPress template

Status: To-do, untouched.

  • 10. Learn more about branding

Status: To-do

  • 11. Complete 200hr YTT

Status: Done in April 2019!

  • 12. Yoga practice at regularly, at least three times a week

Status: To-do

  • 13. Start to teach yoga classes

Status: To-do

  • 14. Take/ continue my patternmaking class

Status: To-do

  • 15. Learn more about technical fashion design

Status: To-do or maybe postponed. Because I have more priority now in graphic design as it’s been making more money for me.

  • 17. Master Pinterest marketing

Status: To-do

  • 18. Publish at least 12 Youtube videos on my Youtube channel

Status: Started. OMG, I only have made 1 video so far! It’s sponsored by one of the main online marketplaces in Indonesia. So proud!

  • 19. Upload around 2 videos of my sewing process (for gowns)

Status: To-do

  • 20. Apply for an internship to apparel manufacturers in Bali

Status: Done, but no continuation from their side, I also don’t think I will have time. I have many other things to learn now.

  • 21. BETA on my own Pinterest account

Status: To-do

  • 22. Reach out to people

Status: Started. Wow life has been great since I moved to Bali and networked with people. Been getting more clients from referrals!

  • 23. Move to Bali more permanently and research on business opportunity (for me and my BF)

Status: Started. One of the best things happened this year! I moved in March!

  • 24. Travel abroad (at least to Thailand)

Status: Still planning, not sure. 

  • 25. Buy fancy gifts for my parents

Status: To-do

  • 26. Open custom-orders in Bali

Status: Kicked out from the list. Not possible to do anymore. I’ve been busy with other things.

  • 27. Take my BF to a super nice date/ buy him a fancy gift

Status: To-do, OMG his birthday is approaching!!

  • 28. Buy a decent laptop/ travelling backpack that doesn’t hurt my back and fits my 15.6 inch tablet

Status: Done! Bought my brother’s Kathmandu Backpack that I really love the most. It’s the most expensive bag I’ve bought!

  • 29. Take a graphic design mentorship course

Status: To-do. 

  • 30. Buy an iPad Pro 12 inch + Apple Pen

Status: Maybe imagination. LOL!

  • 31. Upgrade my Mac’s RAM to 8 GB

Status: Done in January, best decision ever!

  • 32. Have a proper VPN service for work

Status: Kicked out from the list, at least for now.

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Introducing my new website: citraayu.com

citraayu.com

The reasons why I have been MIA lately is that I’ve been caught up with creating my business website. I designed and created it from scratch by myself. (well, not literally ‘scratch’ like coding, I use Divi theme builder and just a little bit of CSS I found from Google). The domain name may sound not creative as it’s 80% very similar to this blog, just missing “W” and .wordpress.com.

By having this website, I nailed the wishlist and to-do list that I made in late 2018 and early 2019. The website is gonna be just pure business and unlike this blog, it’s gonna be full English and targeted content. I won’t talk as random as I am in this blog, because actually when I set this blog, I had no goals. Now this blog’s traffic has been increasing a lot (200 views per day, well for me that’s a lot) that maybe I should also give this blog more dedication and attention.

It took me long to decide things for the biz website, like what to name it, where to host it, what to put in the content, which one should go first, etc. I built the site on WordPress after thinking back and forth whether having it on drag-and-drop website builders like Squarespace, Wix, etc that’s very easy to use but expensive, or WordPress that requires a longer learning curve but cheaper.

I decided to have it on WordPress because it’s more powerful for the long run, and WordPress has much better SEO push if your business is based on content marketing. Actually, this is not the first website that I designed, I created my theater club’s website years ago and didn’t even use Divi, I forgot how at that time I managed to do that, sometimes I am surprised by the things I did in the past but was not aware of it as an achievement. LOL. Even though Divi claims as the ‘drag-and-drop feature for WordPress’, it’s not as easy as those in other site builders. Seemingly WordPress doesn’t want to make it too easy for everyone because otherwise web developers and programmers are going to be mad and lose their jobs.

It’s hard to learn in the beginning, and I’m still learning a lot, but as soon as I get the hang of it, I believe I can do it faster. And to be honest, the hardest thing to learn is not the technical issue, because you can google it. It’s the design aspect that’s the hardest and the price that people should pay more, because there’s no direct answer to present an idea into a design well, you can’t google it.

I’ve done three makeovers for the web in one month for both the design and content. My first design was just okay, I didnt really feel the click, but at that time I was getting myself used to the technical aspects of designing a website. What really made me stuck was the content, because in the beginning, I had too many services to offer and I tried hard how to connect all my different skillsets in one website, because each field has a different target market. And because I had many things, it’s hard for me to build the portfolio for each service, because my mind was scattered and always felt in a rush.

Until one day I had a free business coaching session from an FB group, there was a business and life coach–her name is Tamara–that was giving away limited free 1:1 calls for the launching of her business. I felt so lucky that Tamara chose to give the chance for me because really after the call, I got a clearer vision that I need to do one thing at a time, which one that can solve my current problem, solve that problem first then go to the next goal. Tamara also made a customized action plan for me that suits my situation and goals. After the call and limiting my focus, I’ve seen that I managed to do more stuff than I was before. You know what, I was 1 month stuck on the website and it was so far from ready. Meanwhile after that, it only took me a week to set it up like what it is right now, as well as getting paid projects for web design that I’m currently working on. I also managed to build my web design portfolio while getting copywriting for my website content done.

One thing that I also appreciate from the call was that Tamara reminded me not too overthink it too much and dont worry about making it perfect at the first shot because in your journey, just like everyone else, you will probably makeover your website (design and content) three times. Just focus on getting started. I now can’t afford a business coach like Tamara but I really recommend her to anyone who’s looking for assistance in getting their visions clearer and to get things done.

My website now is still far from perfect or the way I really want it to be, I’m limited to my knowledge in coding. Talking about coding, there’s good news. I’ve been shortlisted to the top 15 finalists out of 800 scholarship applicants from 23 countries for a web development bootcamp program in Bali!! I will have to make an application video to make it to top 5 and eventually win the prize. I really hope that I can win this scholarship because it’s gonna help me in my career to get life and lifestyle that I want! Please hold thumbs for me!

Not A “New Year, New Me” Resolution

the 1-day

Gosh, today’s already the second week of this year! Why the H time flies so fast, while I’m learning things slowly.

Goals are the most important part of life, describing what you want to achieve. They also provide focus because once I have a clear target in mind, I can rededicate myself and confidently neglect ideas that aren’t contributing to my success <<— ideally, it should happen like this when my mind is not easily distracted nor procrastinates tasks.

Anyway, let’s not lose hope of making this year a better year than before or at least not fall very far from my expectation. From an online course, a mentor told that a goal is better when it’s in the form of verbal sentences, because setting a goal into a “WHAT” can be somewhat unhealthy. So now I want to elaborate my goals into a list of small things that should turn into a habit (hopefully) in order to really achieve a “WHAT”. This is the first time I do it this way, usually I always state my goals in a form of nouns. Here are some things I will be doing for the next 9 months

  • 1. Build my portfolio website (design and content)
  • 2. Put some content to the web that’s related to my service (content marketing)
  • 3. Offer more service exchange (my web design for others’ copywriting skills)
  • 3. When content is ready, set up an email list (email marketing)
  • 4. Create some affiliate links to new and existing posts
  • 5. Draw more digital illustration project for portfolio
  • 6. Apply to more gigs directly or through freelancing sites
  • 7. Set up accounts on other 3 more freelancing sites
  • 8. Create digital products to sell (templates, icons)
  • 9. Learn how to create a WordPress template
  • 10. Learn more about branding
  • 11. Complete 200hr YTT
  • 12. Yoga practice at regularly, at least three times a week
  • 13. Start to teach yoga classes
  • 14. Take/ continue my patternmaking class
  • 15. Learn more about technical fashion design
  • 17. Master Pinterest marketing
  • 18. Publish at least 12 Youtube videos on my Youtube channel
  • 19. Upload around 2 videos of my sewing process (for gowns)
  • 20. Apply for an internship to apparel manufacturers in Bali
  • 21. BETA on my own Pinterest account
  • 22. Reach out to people
  • 23. Move to Bali more permanently and research on business opportunity (for me and my BF)
  • 24. Travel abroad (at least to Thailand)
  • 25. Buy fancy gifts for my parents
  • 26. Open custom-orders in Bali
  • 27. Take my BF to a super nice date/ buy him a fancy gift
  • 28. Buy a decent laptop/ travelling backpack that doesn’t hurt my back and fits my 15.6 inch tablet
  • 29. Take a graphic design mentorship course
  • 30. Buy an iPad Pro 12 inch + Apple Pen
  • 31. Upgrade my Mac’s RAM to 8 GB
  • 32. Have a proper VPN service for work

WHOAAA…. that’s a hella list!! 30 goals to go starting from now, I’m already doing number 1,3 and 6 for now. Even when writing this post, I’m surprised by how clearer my vision is when I do it this way. Hopefully I will be able to checklist all/ most of them by October 2019. To track the progress of the plans, I use Trello apps.

I asked Heidi from Successful Fashion Designer podcast how she managed to get many things done in her life. And she said it’s because she makes lists of what she wants/ has to do, otherwise, she’ll have not done as much as she has today.

Okay then, it means I have to go back to the action plan instead of mumbling more in this post. However, I would like to know about other people’s goalsetting for this year, please comment below if you’d like to share 😀

My 2018 Recap

2018

Can’t believe today is the last day of 2018 already! It feels like just yesterday I packed my stuff back from Bali at the beginning of this year and last New Year’s Eve, I spent it in Bali.

2018 has been a good ride, just the way I wished it would be in last year’s post. Many things happened and some milestones achieved in this year. Here’s how my 2018 has been so far:

  • 1. Had the best last two months in Bali (Januari – February).

I lived in Bali for almost 6 months since the end of 2017. My last two months in Bali were so special than the first months. I’ve had more friends and got more familiar with the people and the area. I’ve been convinced that this is where my soul belongs to (at least in national level). I hope next year will go as planned and I can stay more permanently in Bali.

  • 2. My first fashion collection launched.

My first step to establishing myself as a fashion designer! I know my way is still long and far from success, but everyone has to start somewhere. I started with my first bridal collection, some of them have been sold out and I’ve had some custom-made orders. I’ve been evaluating my fashion design path and want to shift it from bridal to technical fashion design for apparel manufacturing. For someone who does not have a formal fashion education, I’m proud of myself!

  • 3. Travelling overseas to three different continents!

This year, I travelled like crazy! Out of 12 months, I travelled at least once every month for 11 months. The wicked thing is that I’d never travel abroad before in my life and this year, I just nailed it to three continents in a row, Asia, Australia and Africa and 4 different countries; Malaysia, Australia, South Africa, and Singapore. Travelling experiences has given me new perspectives and knowledge, I love seeing the person I’ve become after every travel experience. Whoa, this world is soo so so big and diverse and I just can’t get enough of it!

  • 4. New skills learned: Digital Drawing & Graphic Design

I know that I’m still doing many things right now even though I really want to niche down my specialization. I just can’t choose one (at least for now), I love both fashion and graphic design. That’s the narrowest I can get my niche for now. I also have to do both for now so that I can still make money because each skill back up each other. I learned how to use Adobe Illustrator and make my hand-drawings into digital products. I wish in the near future I can live off my drawing skills (graphic and fashion). Also I’ve dived into graphic design more to be able to be a better designer. I just love everything about design, the more you learn about the theory and science in design, you’ll be amazed by how this field is really all about understanding human.

  • 5. Another new skill learned: Social Media Management

I just can’t sit still until money comes to my lap, so I always think and look for ways to make money faster if my first plan doesn’t go as planned. Yes, I do have have a stable day-time job for now, but I don’t actually really enjoy the job because I think my time will be more appreciated financially somewhere else. And it seems like the easiest and fastest way to make money is by doing social media management. It’s because I charge in dollars while my expenses are mostly in Rupiahs, so I don’t really need to get and work to too many orders. I feel optimistic that my income target for next year will be achieved, at least in the end of next year.

  • 6. And still another new skill learned: Web design

This is epic! I’ve never thought I would be able to design a web from scratch! Well, what I mean here is not totally the nerdy web development thing with HTML code whatsoever, it’s just a simple WordPress site. I’ve been helped with the existence of Divi builder which is though still not as easy as Wix’ drag-and-drop feature, but still been a big step for me! I realized that not everyone is as fast as I am in learning it, and I’ve seen how it could help me to make another income stream by combining with my graphic design skill.

  • 7. I’ve got a remote day-time job.

I now work full time 8 hours a day from Mon-Fri. The good things are:

  1. This is a remote job, I can work from home and I don’t need to spend on transportation nor make-up expenses. I can work straight from my bed with my pillow face.
  2. The pay is higher than most jobs for Indonesians in general that require them to go to offices with sleek attires. Though it’s still far from the pay I used to earn in my previous job.
  3. I work with an international network and we actively communicate every day.
  4. I work from 5 or 6 am to 2 or 3 pm, so I still have time to do other things.

The cons are:

  1. I don’t enjoy the work, possibly because I feel I could be economically more valued somewhere else.
  2. Even though I still have time to do other things after work, in reality it’s not easy because I always feel drained after doing 8 hours of the thing I dont enjoy.

However, I’ll hold on to it a little longer before I quit. At least it’s helped me to get the knowledge and money to achieve other things. I hope that my online freelance career will kick out as soon as possible so that I can totally leave this job.

  • 8. Electricity purchases: Pen tablet and a new smartphone!

Big purchases this year, a new smartphone and a graphic display monitor! Both are Chinese products and very very good quality. I’m happy I chose them. I’ve converted from an Iphone believer to a Xiaomi believer.

  • 9. A new family member: my baby cousin!

My parents’ house has been noisy with kid’s laughs and cries this year with my baby cousin spending a lot of time in our house due to some circumstances. We’ve never had little kids in our house because my parents kept waiting for me to give them a grandchild. Lucky now we have her, my parents are kinda distracted from the grandchildren thing. I really love my baby cousin, she is very cute and likes to imitate me. She likes to sing and every morning she wakes everyone up with her singing though she cant really speak words clearly.

  • 10. Youtube milestone: 5,000 subscribers!!

At the beginning of this year, I celebrated my first 500 subscribers on my Youtube channel. Fast forward to 11 months later, I now have 10 times that number, which is 5,000 subscribers! This is unbelievable for me! I know it’s probably still a small number for many youtubers, but I dont see them as merely a number, they are people who chose to spend their time watching my videos. I know I should’ve been more focused into making videos regularly seeing stats have been doing very well for a new channel!

  • 11. I snorkelled in the best marine biodiversity site in the world, Raja Ampat!

I can’t be thankful enough for the views I’ve experienced in Raja Ampat, and I can’t forget the amazement I felt the first time my boyfriend taught me to snorkel and he held my hand. That is so so so amazing! All the colorful fish and corals, they have their own kingdom down there. My boyfriend has taken me to many beautiful places and I cant thank him enough, South Africa was, of course, memorable because I met he his family and friends there. But this is the most beautiful place he’s taken me to so far, who had known it’s gonna be underwater!

  • 12. My brother came home to Indonesia.

My only one brother has been living in Australia for 2,5 years and he’s never been able to come home during those years because it’s fricking expensive and we’re all struggling with the education fee (even though it’s already reduced by a 60% off scholarship). But the storm must be temporary, now that he’s been accepted to a full tuition Ph.D scholarship, we can breathe easily and he came to Indonesia. My dad had not seen him in those years because my dad cant travel that far due to his condition. It’s nice having him home at least for the time being we can feel how it was when we were kids and all the kids were home. At least for the next 1.5 months, we’ll have meals in the same table. You know, after high school, this is rare as we already left home.

  • 13. I just registered myself to two whole new trainings!

This is my next big thing for 2019, these two training programs will help me to get the best of 2019 hopefully. The two help me to get more money in two different fields and one of them is Yoga. Already sounds interesting, right?? This is a big investment for me!

  • 14. I’ve started earning in dollars.

I cant believe why I waited this long to finally took a chance to make money in international level with an international currency. I totally just started out, but I’ve been slowly growing. I feel that even if sometimes I got gigs that I don’t really enjoy, at least I feel happy because the pay is good in the end. Actually, the salary I got now from my job is fine for Indonesian standard, but I’ve been surrounded with people that are making in currency higher than mine (my bro, bf, friends etc), so I feel the pressure to also earn in dollars, otherwise I will never be able to pay back what my Boo has given to me, I want to be able to give him a fancy gift someday, it will be hard for me if I just earn in Rupiah as rupiah is very low.

  • 15. Meeting the family

This is one of the most important events happened this year! Both me and my BF had the chance to meet each family for the first time. I was nervous to meet his family because we’re from a totally different culture. I always felt confident when my ex BFs (locals) introduced me to their families, I always nailed it because I know what Indonesians like (if I have to fake, I at least know how to fake, lol.). But this time I totally had no idea, even though I’ve had friends from all over the world, it doesn’t mean I understand their western culture. What if they misinterpret what I do or say and many what if questions I had in my mind. But I knew I could not be anyone but myself, even though there were some awkward moments that I realized, haha! I’m glad that I could learn more about the factors that made him who he is today, now I understand where the habit of giving compliments and thank yous come from and many little things that they probably didnt realize that I was observing and taking notes. Just recently, he also spared a time to meet my family, I cant describe how meaningful it is for me!

  • 16. My relationship, I just love him more and more!

I just love my boyfriend SO MUCH and my feeling for him grows stronger each and every day. I hope that he feels the same. Looking back at how things started, I didn’t even know we could make it this far. He’s been the most important aspect of my life this year (after me, of course. Because I’m a narcissist, LOL!), if I look back, many beautiful things that happened to me this year involved him and I’m looking forward to many years to come with him!

Technical Sourcebook for Designers

IMG_20181218_102721Woohoo, finally after waiting for literally two months (I even already gave up hoping that the book would arrive) the book that I ordered from Abebooks finally arrived! It’s a secondhand book about technical fashion design for apparel manufacturing (product development) by two American fashion educators, Jaeil Lee and Camille Steen. The title of the book is Technical Sourcebook for Designers.

The online secondhand bookshop where I got this from already refunded me because they thought that it’s lost in transit and told me if the book ever arrives, I can keep it or donate it. I was sad because I really need the book, and the brand new price will cost me a fortune. Now that the book has arrived as well as the other textbook that I purchased, it means that I got them for free!

Before I bought this book, I already read a few pages of it from Google book page views, but of course, it’s only limited to about 50 pages out of 390 pages. I’m also renting it for 6 months from an online library for arts, Bloomsbury Fashion Central. So I’ve been studying with it. So I’m very certain that I need this book. To be honest, even though the brand new price is expensive, it’s nothing compares to what this book can teach me. The content and knowledge are like what I’ll never get from my circumstances here, especially for fashion design education in Indonesia.

And I’ve heard from so many fashion design graduates (abroad and local), they didn’t even get it in school. Most people are more interested in designing creative unwearable clothes only, meanwhile, the reality is, much of the works in fashion design is not about that. I just fall in love with how complex the field is, even to produce a simple T-shirt takes a lot of technical knowledge and attention to details.

This book is a geek book for people who want to study or work in the garment industry. It covers almost everything, and I think it’s as essential as Apparel Production Terms and Processes by Janace E. Bubonia.

In the first chapters of the book, the authors give a thorough explanation of how the global garment manufacturing works; the labels, causes, cycles etc. Then it gets more complex when we start talking about tech packs, the rest of the book is about the details in tech packs, from seam, pattern, measurement, even how to fold the garment for sales.

If compared to Janace E. Bubonia’s books, I think it’s easier for me to understand the language that Camilla Steen and Jaeil use, even though all of them are Americans. I found the explanation is more straightforward and does not use fancy words (except the fashion terminologies). Well, maybe only I feel like that because I am not a native speaker.

To be honest, this book is kinda intimidating because it makes me feel like I totally know nothing. It’s so thick and every page is important, so it takes me a long time to read one page until I really understand. And I think even pro technical fashion designers will still need to look up the book sometimes. I don’t think I can grasp it in even 3 months. This is so difficult especially since I don’t have first-hand experience in garment manufacturing yet (I will apply for an internship next year). So hopefully, these books will help me to prepare myself to meet the industry standards.

IMG_20181218_103421

How I learned English (I’m still learning until now though!)

Many people asked me about how I learned my English; both locals and foreigners. So I’ll write this post so that later I can just copy-paste the link to them. And I’m writing this not because I feel so confident about my English, in fact, on the contrary, I realize how imperfect my English is even though I’ve worked a lot for years since I was in middle school to master it, still I will never be close to native, not even advanced level. At first I hated it, I hated myself for not being good at something that I like. I hated the fact that my English is far from perfect, that I have a strong accent sometimes in speaking and you can feel it too in my writing that English is not my first language (even though my writing is better than my speaking).

Maybe for many Indonesians, they consider my English more than enough. Many people hope that they can speak English like I do. Many foreigners were also surprised with my English, but I think they’re not amazed with my English, they just didn’t think any Indonesians would be capable of communicating in English because we are from a poor country and our education is not our best quality.

Also, I’ve been made fun of and mocked because of my English, sometimes not in a friendly way, and even by a guy I was dating at that time (a foreigner). He said, “How pathetic that you are an English graduate but your English is sh*t.” , when we were having an argument (that’s not even related to my English, he just suddenly said that to hurt me).

I realize that when a westerner (especially those who like to call themselves “expats” instead of immigrants) speak broken non-English language like Bahasa Indonesia, it’s considered cute. But when non-native English speakers like me speak broken English, we’re considered less educated, less important, or have lower thinking ability. I realize how easy it is for someone to feel more exclusive than others just by a language, even if English–their mother tounge–is the only language they speak/ understand.

My story is just one of Indonesians’ stories about how hard we work for something that we dont easily have access to. Especially for people like me who don’t come from the upper class where they speak in English more than they speak in Bahasa Indonesia. Indonesians in big cities and the upper class minority speak English very very well, they study and travel overseas. One example of this class is the breakthrough young rapper, Rich Chigga/ Rich Bryan. People won’t think that he’s an Indonesian if you listen to his English and music.

My parents sent me and my brother to the best private school in the our city at that time, it’s quite expensive and far from where we lived, so my friends were from families who are richer than us, that every time I was invited to my friends’ birthday parties or just to play at their houses, I was amazed by how big their houses mostly were, felt like mine was the smallest and modest. Many of my friends already went to English courses since very early, kindergarten maybe. My parents, even though they understood the importance of English, they couldn’t afford that for me and my brother. So it’s like we started the marathon late, because we did not get any English courses until we’re in middle school. At that time, there’s no Youtube, there’s no internet and kids didn’t play 80% of their days with tablets/ phones. Even I had to go to my neighbor’s house every afternoon and Sunday morning to watch cartoons because he was the only one who had TV cable in our neighborhood.

I never realized I was good at learning languages until I was given the opportunity to learn other language, that’s when I was 13 y.o. My parents could not afford the expensive English course for us, so we went to the mid price, none of the teachers were native. That’s when I realized I fell in love with this subject, I didn’t know at that time if English is important, I didn’t know how it’s gonna help my life in the future, I just fell in love, I enjoyed it and I want to be able to speak it. I have no target nor expectation from my self-study. I think that’s the purest kind of love, when you love something/ someone with the least reasons.

I only got 4 hours of English lesson in a week from that course, two hours per meeting. I realized how little it is, that it’s not gonna be enough. I asked my parents whether I could get another English classes, like 4 times in a week or everyday, but my mom was angry. She said I have to learn math, YUCK!!

Mostly, I learned English from my self-study. In this case, movies and music helped a lot (remember, at that time internet was so rare). My interest in English turned me into a nerd. I skipped playing with friends just to have some hours to watch english movies or read books over and over again. I used to watch every movie three or four times. The first play was to enjoy the story, the second to take notes of the english, third is to repeat how they are used in conversation, forth to practice speaking it during the movie ( I dont think I can do that anymore, because we have abundance of options now that I even can’t play Youtube videos or podcasts in normal speed anymore because I’m afraid I dont have time to watch/ listen to others).

At that time, english books were not easy to find. So I went to my english course’s library almost every day just to read English books. No matter what book it was, I just needed something that’s written in English. I compiled my own grammar notebooks (those notebooks were even photocopied by my friends in college!).

I had no one to practice my English speaking. So after I watched english movies, I spoke by myself to repeat the conversation in the movies. Then a DVD rental just opened near my school and it had a promo of 6-month free DVD rental if we bought a DVD player from there. So my brother and I begged to our parents for that, and we finally bought a DVD from there. Literally EVERY DAY, we rented movies, we could only rented 2 movies max every day.

I knew about internet earlier than many Indonesians did at that time. I didnt really have much time to play with other kids, because I would rather  either watch movies or be in internet cafes. Internet cafes were very very rare, only 2 in my city at that time. If I could fly, I would fly to the cyber cafe as soon as my school finished, everyday. And the internet was very very slow, to load a page could take like 5 minutes (wow I just realize how patient I was before, now I can’t even stand a pop-up dialog box!). I signed in to mIRC (chat rooms) in order to chat with westerners. I thought that was the cheapest conversation class! Well I had to lie about my age, otherwise no one would talk to me. I had to keep a dictionary next to me every time I was in front of the computer, then I would write them down, whatever I learned from every day.

Then I started to write something in English everyday, at least for one page. Anything, it’s just for practice. I would not review my writings right away, because I would think it’s perfect. But if i give it time and just review it after 3-5 days, I will able to see my mistakes easily. Then I train myself to start to think in English rather than in Bahasa Indonesia. In 2009, started to write a blog. Unlike this one, my old blog was 85% in English, but I didn’t write as often as I do now.

Even though my English is still not perfect, I’ve been able to make money from it. Started from teaching, translation projects, and now it helps me A LOT in my job that I can make money in dollars. I can get my other skills valued more because I can bring it to international marketplaces. I’ve worked with foreigners since I graduated uni, and I’ve made friendships with non-Indonesians. Not only in my job, but also in love life, I havent dated Indonesians anymore for years (trust me, the cheapest, and most enjoyable way to learn conversational English is by dating. Haha!! But dont get me wrong, I didnt date them because they’re foreigners, I never planned to fall in love with them, it just happened.)

One day, I stumbled upon this video, and it made me feel like that’s probably what my future kids will feel about me. But I wont be the sad broken-english speaker parent, I dont care that much anymore if people wanna laugh at my English. At least from their laugh, I learn something. And my broken English means I’ve worked for something. I’m proud of myself even with those limitations I’ve had, I’ve made it this far. And my brother, he got scholarships from his university in Australia until Ph.D. Not perfect indeed, but like my lecturer ever told me, “It’s okay if your best is not good enough, but it’s not good when your good is not your best.”

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From Bridal to Technical

IMG_20181111_212953My achievement this year is that I managed to launched my first bridal collection and sold some of them as well as got custom-made order in my first year as a fashion designer. End of last year, I took patternmaking course, I had totally zero experience and knowledge in garment construction before.

I can’t afford fashion school, both the fee and the years. So, I made my own curriculum and research, where I can learn about fashion. I am so lucky that I live in this internet era that saves a lot of education money and bridges people from all over the world. I’m so grateful for people who share amazing free contents on platforms like youtube and online libraries or even cheap online courses like Udemy and Skillshare. Because of them, I can learn the theories and process that they learn in fashion schools as long as I’m willing to put in the dedication and commitment. But still, for some fields, I need professional training, especially when it comes to construction. Even the patternmaking course alone is already expensive for a regular person like me ( I was so lucky that at time I got my bitcoin money went five times higher).

In the beginning, I just wanted to be a designer, any kind of designer, it does not matter. I just wanted to get my designs out and I made it. I think, me not taking a 4-year fashion study is also a benefit for me in terms of getting the realization of how the fashion business works faster than those who do. Many people who had the opportunity to really go to fashion schools are more relaxed and not as ambitious because they enjoyed the status of being students and once they graduated, they didn’t really think it’s gonna be like that and what’s really needed and which one are more sustainable careers in fashion. That’s why fashion design major is much more favorited than product development major.

Unfortunately (and fortunately at the same time), I got to travel a lot this year, like every month, which I am thankful for it but at the same time, it slowed my progress down a lot. Eventhough I was only 2-3 weeks on holiday, it takes at leat 1-2 weeks to really get back in the mood to study and practice again, and then 1 week after that, I traveled again. Anyway, even with that travelling schedule, I still make progress.

I’ve begun to realize what kind of fashion designer that I wanna be and which parts of design jobs that I wanna do, at least for the next 15 years of my life. Being a designer and entrepreneur is indeed fancy, but it’s crazy, I have to admit that at this age, especially as a sarcastic introvert, it’s too hard for me to handle. This one-woman show thing is tougher than it seems, because I have to do the design, cutting, sewing, finishing, marketing, photography, fabrics shopping, etc etc. I ended up doing more non-design works than designing. I tried to employ someone before and it doesn’t fit me because I’m a perfectionist and at the same time I hate being a nagger and depending on others. One thing that bothers me as well is the fact that I had to be location-dependent. I love travelling, I wanna be able to work from anywhere as long as there’s internet.

One thing good about me is that I react to situation fast, if something doesnt work, I need to do something. If I only waited for my gowns to sell, I’m not gonna make it. I can’t wait until I’m famous.

There’s a case that is very common among Indonesian designers. Indonesian designers mostly dont have formal education (which is okay, just like me) but what is not good is that many of them dont have strong will to learn from the basic. Because it’s easier in Indonesia to be a boss and call yourself a designer because the labor cost is not as expensive as in other countries. So, many designers just take exactly the same models from Pinterest, modify a bit (sometimes not even bother to modify), and pay tailors to make it. Hence many designers don’t even have unity in their designs. And they survive by arse-kissing the socialites. They got fame eventually, but it’s temporary. Because if you let your clients dictate you, you wont survive when they have new favorites. I witness this right in front of my eyes especially since I was a runway model before I became a designer. The designers that I used to work for, they’ve disappeared now, outshone by new fashion designers who can get a long better with the new generation of the socialites. So these old folks, they ended up depressed and broke. They’re used to being bosses, their career jumped without learning basic skills, so once they’re out of orders, they have nothing to offer when applying for jobs in fashion companies. That’s why not a few of them turned into fugitive (taking people’s money, selling drugs, prostitution etc).

It’s so easy to be like that if I never evaluate my steps. I dont wanna be like them. I want a sustainable career, I want a skill that allows me to work from anywhere and needed in and by many countries. Just in case Indonesia someday turns into the next Syria, at least I’ve been preparing my escape, or if my future husband wants to move to other countries, one of us does not to worry about starting a new job anymore, because I’ve already started my career in remote freelancing. I may need to hustle more now maybe triple than what I’ve done, but I believe it’ll be worth it. I reached out to and consulted with some technical fashion designers that I found online (because they make content, like podcast etc), the career is really promising. But I have to struggle a lot in the beginning since I lack field (factory) experience.

It started with me learning computer drawing because I was looking for ways to make money beside waiting for my gowns to sell and I am interested in graphic design. So I started with Adobe Illustrator and made garment flats. Then I started to dig more, and it’s sooo challenging, drawing flats is like only 20% of the job of a technical designer. The whole tech packs is another new level. So I started selling my flat sketching online. My skill now is still limited in simple garment, not enough yet to draw flats for more complicated garments, but at least I’m making steps and I have to start somewhere.

Now also I just started my new job that’s not related with fashion at all. I realized that I need to keep a day job instead of just throwing myself to the unknown world of entrepreneurship. It keeps me sane because now at least I know I’m having a stable income every month. I keep the learning and freelancing on the side, so I work from 6 am to 2 pm, after that my day is full with study, practice and yoga until late at night. And repeat. I’m also happy that finally after 10 months of travelling every month, finally I have a peaceful month to work and be committed. I was supposed to travel to Bali this month (I already booked the tickets), but I cancelled because I got scared of flying with Lion Air after the tragic incident.

Next year, I plane to move to Bali. So I’m saving my money for that. I have plans to pitch to apparel manufacturers in Bali that’s managed by foreigners. I’ve stalked them already since last month, I’m gonna pitch for an internship opportunity, because I have to gain field experience if I want to increase my rate. This is gonna be a long process. It’s gonna take me another year probably (lol my boyfriend has to deal with my poverty for another more year! Be patient, hon. I’m working for us too! Hehe) But I have to learn how to crawl before I can jump. I have to start somewhere, and if it means doing small steps, being rejected many times and etc, I’ll take them.