Angelique Andari reps her hometown… hard.
As the owner of Casa Lovina, an ethical lifestyle brand, Andari has spent the last six years building a business that bridges the artisanal craftsmanship of Indonesia with a Canadian market.
What she sells: Casa Lovina offers a range of products to keep you feeling Bali beachy vibes year-round. Items like large woven towels, Balinese-made handbags and jewelry (50% of which is handmade by Andari in her Toronto home.)
How she got started: Andari spent two years as the creative director for a boutique hotel in Bali, managing the gallery and working with local artisans.
- She then worked in the fashion and accessory industry for 17 years, finally settling in Canada, where she decided to try her hand at entrepreneurship.
- She began with trunk shows, moved up to the market circuit and finally launched sales through her website, learning how to run a business as she went. She also got some help from Digital Main Street.
What she spent: Andari invested around $6,000 to get Casa Lovina off the ground.
What she makes: After three years of running the business as a side hustle, she turned it into her full-time gig bringing in between $3,000 to $5,000 a month.
Her advantage: "I realized I have connections with all these artisans—this is something unique that many businesses don't normally have," Andari said.
- Andari is rigorous about selling only high-quality products—she can spot a knockoff rattan bag from a mile away.
- "The artisans I work with are notorious for their craftsmanship," she says. "A rattan bag can take up to three weeks to produce traditionally. They are hand woven, baked in a coconut oven and then laid in the sun to dry. The process can take three weeks, and it's labour intensive—it needs to be to get that authentic finish."
- "Many other (knockoff) rattan bags are painted to match that look."
Another advantage: Working directly with the communities and making her products removes the need for a middleman.
- "Because I have these relationships, I don't go through the supply chains, and I don't pay another person, so the profits are split between myself and the artisans."
What’s next: Andari wants to open a physical store in Bali and re-invest into the local community.
- Bali's economy is heavily dependent on tourism. When COVID travel restrictions were in full force, she partnered with two local charities: Feed Bali and the Sungai Watch Project.
- "I know the situation over there, a benefit of why I work directly with the artist," she said. "I know the silversmith and his family. He has a wife and two daughters. I know where the girls go to school."
Her advice for new entrepreneurs: "You can always go back to working for someone else," she says. "But if your heart is in entrepreneurship, then never give up and never surrender no matter the obstacle!"