SMEs Produce Eco-friendly Fabric Masks Using APR Viscose
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a global economic downturn, with companies having to respond and adapt to a new normal in order to continue running businesses. In many parts of the world, including Indonesia, this has been a challenge, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Challenges can turn into opportunities with the right mindset. This was especially true for a group of social entrepreneurs from the village of Juwono in Mojokerto, East Java when the pandemic and the resulting surge in demand for reusable face masks have proven to be an opportunity.
Members of Juwana Juwono, a group comprising mostly of housewives and students who run small businesses have been working hard to produce reusable fabric masks which are marketed and sold across Indonesia.
Eco-friendly fabric face mask by Juwana Juwono
These fabric masks are environmentally-friendly, reusable and using natural dyes and colors from plants. They are made with natural fibre, viscose rayon produced in Indonesia, materials sponsored by Asia Pacific Rayon.
Juwana Juwono is part of the ‘Rumah Mudah Terampil’ (RMT) programme run by Indonesia Business Links (IBL), in partnership with Indonesia’s Department of Industry and Trade, Department of Cooperatives and SMEs and Perkumpulan Warna Alam Indonesia (Warlami).
According to Fahmi Tibyan, RMT Associate Program Manager, “RMT was established following a mapping of the social, economic and cultural conditions found in villages like Juwono. With IBL assistance, we supported the local crafters to creatively design these fabric masks and it enabled them to find additional sources of income in this time when so many SME businesses are struggling.”
The attractive reusable masks produced by Juwana Juwono are very sellable. “As viscose is a soft material and airy fabric, people who wear viscose masks find them comfortable and at the same time stylish,” Fahmi explained.
Viscose fabric absorbs colour well, and crafters the material easy to work with in producing vibrant and colourful masks. Juwana Juwono uses natural dyes from common indigenous plants found in the surroundings, including indigo from Indigofera plants, red from Tingi bark and yellow from Joholawe bark.
Housewives and students in Mojokerto gathered to produced fabric face mask
APR’s collaboration with IBL is an example of positive collaboration, which encourages the use of domestically made products, in line with our ‘Everything Indonesia’ campaign aimed at advancing the Indonesian fashion industry.
Chrysanti Hasibuan Sedyono, Chairperson of the IBL Management Board, said “This has been a good pilot project that showcases local talents in Mojokerto. In the future, different types of products which are not as ‘seasonal’ can also be developed. Hopefully this programme will inspire many more companies to collaborate with us to support SMEs in the textile supply chain,” said Chrysanti.
Basrie Kamba, APR Director, expressed his appreciation for the initiative shown by the RMT program and participating SMEs to creatively support the production of natural fabric masks needed across Indonesia.
“Indonesia is the home to sustainable textile raw materials, creative designers, and human resources. With the right resources, SMEs can help to drive the fashion economy in the country, and go global,” Basrie said.
To date, Juwana Juwono has produced hundreds of reusable masks, which are marketed by IBL through social media platforms including Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on e-commerce websites that has been sold across Indonesia.