Sun, 25 Nov 2001

A ringing success

Asniar Sahab, Contributor, Jakarta

When she was in the early stages of her pregnancy, Mira Sayogo was still on the catwalk for Sebastian Gunawan's and Oscar Lawalata's solo fashion shows.

After her son was born, she decided to spend more time with her family and less time on the catwalk. But she never entirely left the fashion world, and the past year has seen her teaching at the OQ modeling school and appearing in a number of fashion shows.

Then about seven months ago, a jeweler came to her house to visit her father. Mira was impressed by the beauty, uniqueness and color of his gems. Mira, who was a collector of rings, bought several gems and asked the jeweler to fit them on rings of her own design.

Much to her surprise, her ring designs and the gems she had chosen matched beautifully. So impressed was she by the results that she asked the jeweler to show her more gems.

"I liked the gems a lot. They were colorful like candies. Their shapes were also different -- oval, round, rectangular, etc. -- and beautiful. I was so impressed by the gems that I often dreamed of them. Later, it struck me that I should do more ring designs and buy more gems. That was the beginning of my jewelry business," she said one afternoon in a cafe in Plaza Senayan.

Since that time, Mira, with very limited funds at her disposal, has busied herself with her new enterprise. But this was not her first foray into the world of business. She was involved in a multi-level business scheme while still a model, and her success made her realize she had a knack for business.

So she read books on jewelry and carefully studied a wide variety of gem and ring designs. Then she developed her own designs and took them to a jeweler, who turned the designs into rings.

Satisfied with these early results, she began to make more rings. At first, she wore the rings herself, but soon her friends in the fashion world got wind of what she was doing and started wearing her designs. Soon, it became fashionable among singers and fashion models to wear Mira's rings, with their trademark large gems.

Mira designs the stones in big and attractive heart, oval, circular and square shapes. She makes only three rings for each particular design, and her creations are not mass-produced to ensure that they remain exclusive.

Noted model Okky Asokawati was the first to buy Mira's rings. Soon the rings were spotted on the fingers of numerous celebrities, including Ruth Sahanaya, Robby Tumewu, Melky Guslow, Indra Safera, Peggy Melati Sukma, Denny Malik, Inggrid and Titi DJ.

To stay on top of the fashion trends, Mira has kept busy coming up with new designs. She has also spent time studying different types of stones.

She took a trip to Malaysia to compare the stones found there with the ones she was using from Indonesia. She found that the Malaysian gems differed greatly in shape and color, and she says, with some amount of pride, that Indonesian gems -- from emeralds to sapphires -- are superior to Malaysian gems.

In making her rings, Mira emphasizes fashion and style. "In the future, I hope that my rings will come with a certificate and be covered by a guarantee. Yet, I've been doing things slowly. I try to avoid haste. My concentration is firstly on the market and then promotion.

"I'm still considering an offer to display my products in one corner of a department store. Perhaps Bali is the right place for my business because of the presence of many foreign tourists. I've got a good friend there with whom I can set up a joint business undertaking," she said.

In the meantime, Mira makes her rings at home and employs only a few craftspeople.

And are there any particular characteristics underlining Mira's rings? Yes, they are robust but simple in shape, and a little masculine without altogether abandoning the feminine aspects.

Mira is convinced that her jewelry business has good prospects, and with so few jewelry designers in Indonesia the future does indeed look bright for Mira and her rings.