The secret behind Ismaya’s success. By Luiz Sanchez.
When it comes to high-profile luxury brands, every industry has a few names that come to mind. Hugo Boss represents luxury fashion and design, Rolex is the pinnacle of watchmaking, and Oberoi encapsulates luxury accommodation at its finest. The Ismaya Group belongs among the list of top-tier luxury brands, being leaders in the hospitality industry in Indonesia. 2018 marked 15 years since the lifestyle brand opened its first venue, the Blowfish Kitchen and Bar in Jakarta, and entering its 16th year Ismaya has big plans going forward.
Ismaya currently operates 27 lifestyle brands ranging from restaurants and lounges to entertainment, operating under the philosophy of ‘Creating the Good Life.’ In 2018 they built their first lifestyle establishment in Bali, Manarai, and have opened several more in Surabaya. This year the company is focusing its efforts on expanding beyond the Indonesian market and into Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. By the end of the year, the company plans to double the number of venues operating under the prestigious Ismaya brand, with 80 new locations slated for construction across Indonesia.
Not many brands have managed to so successfully continue to expand and dominate the market. So what’s their secret? According to Christian Rijanto, Co-Founder and Director of Ismaya, the answer lies in the diversity of their portfolio. “Each Ismaya property is unique in terms of product offering and design,” he says. “Each caters towards a different segment or demographic. I’d like to think Ismaya is known for its attention in all aspects that create a positive, memorable customer experience – starting from the interior design, creative branding, passionate service, product quality, variety and, most importantly, good value.”
Take Manarai in Bali for example. Chefs Stefan Poyet and Philip Mimbimi have brought together some of the best and most popular dishes from across the Ismaya catalogue, added their own twist to them, and created a fine-dining experience that gives even the best restaurants in Bali a run for their money. Having eaten there several times and tried everything on their menu at least once it is one of the few places on the island where a pricey meal really delivers a bang for your buck, and their ever-changing menu means there is something new to try every time. The venue itself is stunning, with two swimming pools and dozens of lounge chairs by a pristine beach in Nusa Dua. Not only is the venue beautifully designed in a modern architectural style, but it also blends in nicely with Bali’s cultural and geographic aesthetic.
It’s their attention to detail on all levels, from architecture to customer service, that attracts new guests and keeps them coming back. “It’s what makes customers eat, drink, and celebrate time and again at Ismaya,” Rijanto says.
The past two years have been a gamechanger for the Ismaya Group. “We have massively expanded during the last year or so, and we did it not only by opening new outlets and concepts in major cities in Indonesia, but we also brought some of our most beloved brands overseas,” Rijanto says. Ismaya expanded to Dubai with brands such as GIA, Social House and Markette, and this year is looking to open several new outlets in the Asia region.
Following the popularity of their On/Off Festival in August last year, Rijanto is looking to build on their success. “From our entertainment branch, each year our festivals are growing bigger and better in terms of value, service and quality of not only the performers but also the whole festival experience itself,” Rijanto says. “We are looking forward to keeping on creating new festival concepts that encompass music, food, and art, not only in Jakarta but also elsewhere.” Ismaya runs We the Fest, a yearly Jakarta-based music, art, fashion, and food festival in the summer, which began in 2014. We the Fest features famous artists from around the world, including Azealia Banks, Ellie Goulding, and the Australian electronic band Miami Horror, as well as a plethora of prominent Indonesian artists.
For the more culinary inclined, Ismaya runs the Jakarta Culinary Feastival every year. JCF hosts coffee workshops, kids cooking classes, a mystery box challenge for the aspiring chefs among us and a number of other activities. The Feastival is a must for lovers of good food and coffee, and is fun for the whole family.
Now, if you are looking for a massive party experience headlined by some of the biggest names in music then look no further than the Djakarta Warehouse Project. DWP began in 2008 and starting in 2010 has been a yearly event with artists such as Steve Aoki and Skrillex rocking the stage.
From their modest beginnings in 2003, Ismaya has grown to be a trendsetter in the hospitality and lifestyle industry in Indonesia. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, Ismaya looks set to grow well beyond Indonesia to become a global leader in their industry. If they continue to develop innovative concepts with a team of passionate and well-trained staff members then it would not be surprising to see Ismaya become the most prestigious lifestyle brand in Asia. “Within the next several years, we will certainly be continuing this trend of ‘Creating the Good Life’ in other cities in Asia and beyond,” Rijanto exclaims.