Indah Fitriati is an art geek who loves anything that allows her to explore her creativity, including music, painting and making jewellery. Although she did not obtain a formal education in art, the subject matter is not something alien to her. Her father, Aidit Alfian, is a songwriter and producer.
While most parents would not encourage their children to pursue a career in art, Indah says she is “blessed to have a family that is supportive of my choices and lets me do what I like. I have been exposed to this area since I was young because of them After completing high school, I began exploring my skills and capabilities beyond what I learnt there. I started painting and became an artist”.
From a young age, she has enjoyed watching people make arts and crafts. “I’ve tried doing a lot of things, including pottery and clay jewellery, but the material was not something I enjoyed working with. So, I tried wire wrapped jewellery. I learnt that on the internet and tried making my own pieces by replicating the designs.”
Slowly, she picked up the skill and created more patterns of her own. Her first handiwork was a ring made using copper wire and semi-precious crystal. “It was not the best I could do but it was not bad either,” says Indah.
For the uninitiated, wire wrapping is one of the oldest techniques in jewellery-making. The wire is intertwined with one another without soldering or heating to create accessories such as bracelets, rings and necklaces.
Indah has always been in awe of crystals for their physical qualities, but she was not concerned with their benefits in the beginning. It was when she decided to get serious about the business — Indahnye was established last July — that she started studying why people wear the semi-precious stones, as well as their healing properties.
“I believe crystals can impact someone’s energy and I want people to feel great wearing my jewellery. I like working with crystals because there are so many colours to choose from. They are also different from what I have seen in the market as people normally use crystal beads to make wired jewellery.”
Crystal beads make work a lot easier because they come with holes in the middle, says Indah. In contrast, she opts for stones such as opalite, lapis lazuli, rose quartz, aventurine and obsidian — which she handpicks and purchases from local suppliers — and works to keep the original shape of the crystals.
She wraps each piece with copper or stainless steel wire to create rings, bracelets and necklaces. “I use wire because it is easy to shape with pliers. I don’t have to solder my products — that is a different jewellery-making process altogether.” She recently experimented with stainless steel wire, and found it harder to work with than copper because the metal is durable and more resistant to damage.
For Indah, deciding on a design for her jewellery is not complicated. “I normally start working on a piece of accessory right away using stone and wire. If the stone has a complicated form, I would need to sketch [a design] to create a nice shape for the wire.”
Although managing the business by herself takes up a lot of her time — from production and creating content on social media to packaging and setting up physical pop-up stores — Indah makes sure to set aside some hours each day to produce accessories. Customers can choose from an array of ready-made products or place custom orders by picking the stone and wire of their choice.
The production process is impressively short for the handmade products as Indah only needs around an hour to complete one piece. She can normally deliver the items by courier by the next business day, but it is advisable to place an order three days in advance.
Since the business started, Indah has only used Instagram to promote her brand. Even so, marketing takes a lot of her time as she needs to take photos as well as edit and write captions for each of the images. As her strength is not in the business side of things, she makes sure to constantly learn by reading and reaching out to other business owners to ask for tips and advice. Moving forward, she plans to establish her presence on TikTok to expand her audience.
Indah, who also works as an artist, was introduced to pop-up markets around the Klang Valley by a friend who had invited her to share a booth at Rumah Tangsi in Kuala Lumpur. “The response from people who visited the shop was great, even though it was my first time there. I was surprised but excited to keep doing more of it.
“Those who come to my booth sometimes request for a personalised accessory on the spot because the size they want is not available or they just like a stone in a different shade. They are willing to wait and I’m more than happy to do it for them.”
Customers can look forward to more exciting products in the near future as the brand is planning to expand its range of offerings to include precious stones and gold-plated wire.
This article first appeared on Feb 6, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.