Fri, 22 Dec 2000

The younger beauty business queen

JAKARTA (JP): Once upon a time Mooryati Soedibyo and Martha Tilaar, founder of Martina Berto, were friends. In fact they did business together.

Today the bitterness between two of the most prominent houses of cosmetics has become talk of the town. Martina Berto has been sued by Mustika Ratu for violating intellectual property rights for allegedly trying to use Taman Sari, a brand name belonging to the latter's exotic spa. However, Martha claims that many brands under the word Sari are registered by her, from Sari Ayu to Cempaka Sari.

Martha, the younger beauty business queen, started with a salon at home where she tried out cosmetics she called Sari Ayu, mainly on friends. As more and more women left home to work, their desire to look more modern and presentable also grew. Many of them consulted Martha on how to look their best, making the housewife's business expand unbelievably. And in 1981 Martha finally founded Martina Berto along with the pharmaceutical company Kalbe Farma.

Although born in a family of professionals, Martha worked for years as a teacher before her fascination with the philosophy of the rulers of Java, of beauty from within and without, got the better of her and she branched out into the beauty business. But combined with the sprawling business is also a mission to spread the total beauty concept to as many women as possible.

She is also enchanted with the wealth of information about Nature that lies deep in the different corners of this island country. Having traveled the length and breadth of Indonesia in search of the hidden wisdom among its ancient people, Martha is a virtual store house of knowledge today.

In Jakarta she tirelessly tries to combine all the information about traditional cosmetics and herbs with modern technology. And it is the generous investment that she pours into continuous research and development that make her products popular, not just for being environment friendly but also for being the most effective.