Last week, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Sinar Mas shared the remarkable journey of Sabi’s Sweet Potato Pizza. The owner of the “Dua Bersaudara” bakery is Trisna Wardah Ningsih - one of the 5 “Best Progress” award winners at our Business Incubation Program. Today, we share the next winner of the series - Susanty.
Susanty's journey began in the serene village of Belutu. A spirited soul at 38, Susanty had always sought to bring a twist to the ordinary, a touch of innovation to the commonplace. Her tale is one of transformation, of turning a mundane ginger drink into one of freshness and health.
The inception of her enterprise lay in a simple concoction - a ginger drink sweetened with the warmth of palm sugar. But her path wasn't one of instant success. In the beginning, Susanty struggled. “This business was not doing well because everyone in my village makes this drink, it's very common.” claimed Susanty. She longed for a spark that would set her creation apart.
The answer came through the doors of the Business Incubation Program. Armed with advice from mentors who challenged her at every turn, Susanty tried to tread a different path. She swapped white sugar for palm sugar, not just altering her drink but transforming its essence. The crystalline ginger elixir now carried a richer taste, a sharper ginger kick that danced on the palate.
Yet, challenges remained. Palm sugar brought not just flavour but complexity. Its natural origins demanded a different production process. Where white sugar flowed easily, palm sugar needed time and care.
“I didn’t have any trouble modifying the recipe to switch the sugar. In fact, using palm sugar, the ginger drink also tasted better, you could taste the sharpness of the ginger even more. The only problem initially was it was so expensive. Thank god now I’ve found a better and cheaper source locally. This month, I’ve sold 70 tins already. Last month, I sold 180 tins.” said Susanty with a smile on her face.
Challenges were not only in the production but in perception. The market, accustomed to ginger drinks laden with white sugar, questioned the essence of palm sugar. Armed with conviction, Susanty explained its virtue - a lower calorie count and a journey untouched by heavy processing. Her drink wasn't just a beverage; it was a step towards healthier living.
A price tag of IDR 30,000 adorned her 150-gram bottles. The mentors, strict yet nurturing, pushed her to question her purpose. “What makes your product so special?” they asked. I went blank and I didn’t know what to answer.” said Susanty, recalling their conversation. This moment of blankness led to introspection. As the days passed, Susanty found her answer - her drink was a blend of tradition and innovation, a journey from the known to the novel.
Still, the mentors urged her to expand her horizons, to infuse her creation with more uniqueness. Lemon and lemongrass beckoned as allies, promising an edge that would make her drink irresistible. But challenges lay ahead, for Susanty lacked the machinery to dry these ingredients. In adversity, she found opportunity; cinnamon would be her twist, a flavor that would dance with the ginger's tang.
As the tides turned, Susanty pondered new packaging. From bottles to sachets, her drink would find new homes, reaching a wider audience with every sip. The story that began in 2019 was now a journey, marked by determination, innovation, and growth.
A newcomer in the realm of beverages, Susanty had woven her path with patience and hard work. And then, the unexpected - the title of "Best Progress" came her way. A testament to her grit, an acknowledgment of her journey.
“When I first heard that I won “Best Progress” I was surprised I won despite my weak answers. I didn’t think I would win. Although my answers were not the best, I was very diligent with posting on social media and I saw my sales jump. This was especially encouraging for me because I started with zero, my product is completely new.” beamed Susanty.
The lessons from the incubation program sculpted Susanty's destiny. She learned to market with persuasion, to stand tall in the virtual world. Accounting had become more than numbers; it was her compass, guiding her through the tides of profit and expense.
In the end, Susanty's story wasn't just about a ginger-palm sugar drink; it was about the resilience of spirit, the power of innovation, and the unyielding pursuit of dreams. As her journey continues, the village of Belutu watches, inspired by a woman who has turned ginger and sugar into an elixir of success.