Be Different in order to Stand Out

Hello everyone! Yay, it’s Friday! This time is about a store that you all may have known if you have ever visited Pacific Place, the store called The Goods Dept.

In the middle of the crowd of luxury outlets in Pacific Place mall in Jakarta, The Goods Dept stands out. Most outlets sell high-end brands which are set in fancy outlets and even the smallest item can cost millions of rupiah. On the other hand, the design concept of The Goods Dept only uses plain cement floors and exposed concrete walls. Moreover, it sells local brands with price mostly below one million rupiah. Even the name itself, The Goods Dept sounds humble.

The founder of The Goods Dept, Anton Wirjono, confessed that from the initial goal of his department store is to be something different. “About 80% of our products are made by local entrepreneurs. Here, by using us as a marketplace, they have chance to compete against international brands,” says Anton. Some typical goods on display are shoes made by local shoemakers Inksomnia and Amble Footware, in which the price of both shoes are below Rp 1 million.

The idea of The Goods Dept came out when Brightspot Market, a bazaar-style market that Anton established in 2009 got popular in showcasing startup local brands. The first Brightspot was held in a 600 square-meter area in the EX Plaza in Jakarta, with 25 booths rented out at Rp 2 million per booth. This first event attracted 5,000 visitors over four days. Since that first event is considered to be successful, Anton held more Brightspots with each time attracting more visitors and more brands. At his 10th Brightspot which is organized at Lotte Shopping Avenue, there are 125 booths with each booth rented at Rp 8 million and successfully attracted 79,000 visitors. Anton even organized a side event called “Bright Ideas” in order to celebrate the successfulness of 10th Brightspot.

The success of Brightspot had inspired Anton to finally establish a permanent bazaar in the form of The Goods Dept, which is launched in 2010 with an investment of 1 billion rupiah. “I believe the power of underdog. If we help each other, we could raise people trust on our brands,” said Anton. In order to boost sales, The Goods Dept use a consignation system, in which their price is lower than any other stores and it doesn’t allow sales promotions.

In order to further expand The Goods Dept, Anton then brought his sister Cynthia Wirjono, her husband Chris Kerrigan, designer Leo Theosabrata and others to invest in The Goods Dept and sold shares in his holding company PT Cipta Retail Prakarsa. After the success of The Goods Dept, Anton also expanded into a number of new ventures, like restaurants, The Goods Diner and The Goods Café. He also set up an online shopping venture called www.thegoodsdept.com, and open two more The Goods Dept store altogether with The Goods Café.

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