Interview with a small business owner. Bali Indonesia 13

Meeting Mrs. Arik 

“Saya ketemu Bu Arik.”  

Is saying I met Mrs. Arik in the Indonesian language. Mrs. Arik is a local shopkeeper and seamstress in Ubud Bali. She owns and runs a small shop here located at the entrance to my villa where I am currently staying. The store’s name is Arta Dika Kebaya. It is located on the outskirts of Ubud, not in the main tourist area. Her target market is local people, made-to-order and custom traditional clothing. They are the Kebaya that is worn to the local ceremonies in Bali. 

I have seen her a few times and decided to stop by and ask if she would be kind enough to make some video content with me. At the same time, we did an interview for the blog.  

She was thrilled to talk about her business and her family. But what surprised me the most was that she was taking care of all this on her own.  

The small business. 

My background is in cutting and sewing. So yes, I can cut, sew and make patterns. My family business began making aprons and cushions for wicker and rattan furniture before it grew into a large-scale operation over the years. She has no such aspirations…  

She is happy and very content in her little shop that is probably no bigger than 7m x 7m. She has a place to cut and sew and make some patterns. There is one sewing machine placed to one side of the shop with a few mannequins displaying her work. Bali is known for its numerous monthly ceremonies. There is some sort of ceremony in Bali every day. It could be deaths, births, and the rest of the regular ceremonies that go on in Bali. Of course, there is plenty of competition, and getting to the temple during Covid was not allowed. Though Bali was quite lenient on all this during Covid businesses suffered greatly.  

The family. 

Mrs. Arik has a great attitude and each time I saw her she had a great big smile. While it is the general attitude of most Balinese, she was truly happy.  

Her story is one of many in Bali. Her husband is a driver, yet he is unemployed at the moment. He lost his job during Covid. Pre-covid being a driver was a very sought-after position in Bali and a very common job in Indonesia. Nearly all the foreigners in Indonesia employ a driver/guide because a local license or an international driver’s license is needed.   

Her husband is local and was born right here in the Ubud area, while Mrs. Arik was born in the capital city of Bali, Denpasar.  

She is the sole provider for her family which includes three children.  

Wayan Ariska is 17 years old girl, Kade 15-year-old girl, and one boy named Komang Andika is 12 years old. 

No small undertaking. 

Now the food in Ubud and the surrounding area is rather inexpensive even by local standards. But having three teenagers whose needs are let’s say those of modern families is not easy.  

Every kid needs a cellphone, they need decent clothes and of course, they need to be dressed and fed as well. A small one-person shop can only do so much. Arik works hard in her small shop and yet she is content and happy in her own little world.  

This is one reason I feel the need to tell the stories of such individuals. My story on Kevien, who was a farmer and Arik are only a few of many stories to come.  

As usual, I gave her a chance to ask me a few questions, and here they are. 


Where are you from? 

Me: Toronto Canada. 


Why are you so happy? 


I am just a generally happy person. Life is easier that way than being miserable. 


What made you successful? 


I just work hard at what I do and I am happy to be able to be a writer. 

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Published by Zsolt Zsemba

Zsolt Zsemba has worn many different hats. He has been an entrepreneur, and businessman for over 30 years. Living abroad has given him many amazing experiences in life and also sparked his imagination for writing. After moving to Canada from Hungary at the age of 10 and working in a family business for a large part of his life. The switch from manufacturing to writing came surprisingly easily for him. His passion for writing began at age 12, mostly writing poetry and short stories. In 1999, the chance came to write scripts. Zsolt took some time off from his family business to write in Jakarta Indonesia for MD Entertainment. Having written dozens of soap operas and made for TV movies, in 2003 Zsolt returned to the family business once more. In 2018, he had the chance to head back to Asia once again. He took on the challenge to be the COO for MD Pictures and get back into the entertainment business. The entertainment business opened up the desire to write once more and the words began to flow onto the pages again. He decided to rewrite a book he began years ago. Organ House was reborn and is a fiction suspense novel while Scars is a young adult drama focused on life’s challenges. After the first two books, his desire to write not only became more challenging but enjoyable as well. After having several books completed he was convinced to publish them for your enjoyment. Zsolt does not tend to stay in one specific genre but tends to lean towards strong female leads and horror. Though he also has a few human interest books, he tends to write about whatever brews in his brain for a while.

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