Our first furniture order
The trip from Seattle to Indonesia makes for a long and laborious 24 hours fueled by airport noodles, iced coffee and quite a few podcasts. After landing in Jakarta we have another day of travel before we arrive in the quaint villages where Javanese traditions thrive. The city of Jepara is one of those locations, where woodworking and furniture making is a way of life that created a vibrant economy. Quality control was the mission of our trip, a business trip veiled by the vacation appearance of our destination. No one believes you’re on a business trip when you’re lounging in a hammock by the ocean. Luckily for us the village where our furniture was produced is located on the north coast of Java with sweeping views of the sea.
Our trip to the factory to see the products was successful beyond our expectations. The products are beautiful and it’s breathtaking to finally see them in bulk. We got to meet the men and women who have been working hard, sanding and staining to create our teak furniture and planters.
Leaving Jepara to visit our weaving partners puts us on a road past bustling cities and rural villages, over mountainous jungles and through expansive rice fields. There’s no shortage of lively action to watch as our bus speeds south towards Jogja.
Visiting our weaving friends on a weekday morning, we were excited to find their studio busier than we’ve ever seen it. An encouraging scene showing that the tradition of tenun continues to grow. We purchased what we needed to complete our upholstery order and had it shipped north. Now we eagerly await the final product, cushions sewn with hand-dyed, handwoven tenun on handmade teak chairs, benches and daybeds.
At Raya Exchange we are a family business that sources from other family run businesses throughout Java. We hope to provide transparency and promote conscious consumerism by sharing the stories of our partners. Imagining the final destination of our products, comfy chairs nestled by roaring fireplaces, benches draped with hats and scarves in entry ways and planters sprouting greenery on sunny porches around the United States is inspiring imagery that keeps pushing us forward in our endeavor.