TORAJAMELO-weaving the stories of Indonesia

TORAJAMELO-weaving the stories of Indonesia: Accompanying Indonesian women weavers to the world market via ethical fashion

JAKARTA, IndonesiaIndonesia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

TORAJAMELO aims to solve the feminization of poverty and the disappearance of indigenous weaving in Indonesia. We conduct community capacity building, ethically produce fashion & gift items made of the hand-woven textile. We market nationally & internationally, focusing on the young generation.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the world practiced ethical fashion purchase and became conscious consumers?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

TORAJAMELO focuses to bridge the gap between the rural poor weavers & the urban poor production artisans with the world market to create stable income. The gap consists of limited access to the local, national & international market; long supply chain (i.e.thread comes from Java, shipped to outer islands, finished hand-woven cloth travels back to Java for end product) and lack the understanding of quality and design demanded by the world market.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We practice our values: Community-Quality-Compassion We develop women weavers cooperatives, so the women can become micro-entrepreneurs, can get cheaper thread,command fair price,have access to micro-finance. We train young weavers for regeneration. We train on leadership, financial literacy, community organizing, textile design, fashion trend. We work with urban poor women groups who work at home to create hand-made slow fashion & gift products. We design contemporary fashion line, which can be worn in any part of the world for the young and young at heart. We give fair wage We market at national & international level, online & offline & focus on the young buyers We publish books & make films on weavers for awareness campaign


DIAGEO-British Council Social Entrepreneurship Challenge (2015), Honorable Mentions by The Arthur Guinness Projects-Ashoka Changemakers (2015), Indonesian Women of Change Award (2013), “The Best Creation Award” for design by BNI (2013)
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Aya runs her own semi machine-woven textile company in Java. She supplies cotton yarns according to our color scheme and ships directly to the weavers. Mama Anto, a mother of four lives in Mamasa, a remote village in Sulawesi. She has been weaving for more than 20 years. We introduced Mama Anto to modern color combination using cotton yarns from Aya and gave her feedback to improve the quality of her weaving. We work with Titik, a seamstress & widow who lives in the outskirts of Jakarta. We assess her skills and design an outfit according to her ability using woven cloth made by Mama Anto. We provide feedback to improve her skills. Yasmine, a young woman works with a group of farmers' wives transform the remnants from Titik into necklaces

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

ECONOMY In Toraja a women weaver cooperative was established in June 2015 with 125 members. They now earn regular income of $200-300/month, which is higher than the minimum local wage of $100/month. These women are mostly bread-winners and free to sell their textile to a growing local market. The textile bought by TM has been increasing to around 1,000 pieces in 2015. PRIDE&REGENERATION:The older master-weavers have started to teach the young who are cooperative members. Many women migrant workers have come back and live from weaving. Thus rejuvenating the culture. More Torajanese are now wearing their own textile. CAPACITY BUILDING on textile design & community organizing continues. ENVIRONMENT:Our products are considered green, because it is hand-woven (no electricity) & low waste because remnants are made into accessories. FUTURE IMPACT:the women stay home and make money from weaving

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

COLLABORATION:To ensure sustainability & scalability we partnered with several organizations. Since 2014 with PEKKA, which has 20,000 members, we work with 1,000 weavers in Toraja, Mamasa and Adonara & Lembata in East Flores. We plan to work with PEKKA’s 5,000 weavers in 5 years. Since 2012 we work with Biru Terong,which creates documentary films on weavers’ life and will launch a feature film on Toraja weavers in February 2016. In November 2015, we started collaboration with PlayMoolah of Singapore to market our products internationally using their COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUS BUYING Platform.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We used our saving to establish this community based social enterprise. We are now almost fully funded for our community programs with grants from Bank Negara Indonesia, Ashmore Foundation and MAMPU/Australian Government program. We have reached our break even in 2014. To grow the business, we need a grant/soft loan/investment to conduct a marketing strategy which educates the market to buy consciously &to pay more for ethical fashion products.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Most fashion designers simply buy the hand-woven cloth, then design. Our solution is end-to-end: a holistic approach in community organizing, which includes involving the communities in open & fair pricing, textile design, weavers regeneration; documentation; marketing with a concepted branding activity - we started with “Toraja Melo” brand, we have just rebranded to "TORAJAMELO" because we now work beyond Toraja; our products are hand-made from start to finish & of limited edition created by urban poor women; the business model is based on the principle of Community, Quality and Compassion.

Founding Story

Dinny, the founder, finished as the Secretary General of National Commission on Anti Violence Against Women in 2007. She went back to her husband's village in Toraja, where she saw that nobody was buying the hand-woven cloth, because tourism dropped & Torajanese didn't wear their own textile. She bought some cloth and took it to a friend, who has been working in batik for many years and suggested to create products from the textile. She went back to do a survey and found out, that the weavers are poor and many old techniques have disappeared. Later she found, that many young women went abroad to work and came back abused. This fact strengthened her plan to use weaving as an economic tool.


Dinny Jusuf, CEO, in charge of Community Programs, Marketing, Public Relations, Finance; Nina Jusuf, COO, in charge of Design, Production, Community Capacity Building; Lanny Jauhari, Community Program Manager; Erna Syahdin, Operations & Finance Manager; Penny Purnawati, Marketing Executive; Trisa Melati, Brand Story-teller in charge of Research & Resource; Total: 12 full time staff. Apart from the core team in Jakarta (who are all women but one-all have Bachelor/Master Degrees from local&international universities, all have complimentary work experience) , there are Field Coordinator and Field Facilitator working directly with the women weavers' in Toraja. 3 Advisors with various background of Academician, Social Work and IT. We plan to collaborate with organizations, so that our own organization remains slim with a maximum of 20 full-time staff.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Raw Materials, Manufacturing.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Advocate/Organizer, Brand Representative, Designer, Non-profit Staff, Researcher, Retail Representative - Specialty Store.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Consumers, Corporations, Designers, Factory Owners, Policymakers, Researchers, Retailers - Department Store, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - subcontractor, Technologists, Women, Youth.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Access to Essential Services (i.e. Healthcare and Education), Access to Finance, Conscious Consumerism, Gender Equality, Recycling or Circular Economy.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Advocacy, Capacity Building, Data, Media.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Unite More than Voice: Tap into Community Capital and Collective Resources, Transform the Chain into a Web: Link Unlikely Sectors that Open New Pathways to Sustainability.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?


If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

Microfinance, Poverty alleviation, Rural development.

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?

Connecting the rural poor weavers and Urban poor women end-producers to the world market by creating ethical fashion line

Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

Yes, we have delivered numerous talks and discussion with various stakeholders on our social enterprise endeavour.

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

We launch our new line annually at Indonesia Fashion Week and have been categorized as "Green Fashion"