Salvador Bali meets Suki, sunglass queen and energetic entrepreneur. Photo: Lukas Vrtilek.
LET’S start talking.
My name is Suki, I’m from Surabaya and I’m 27 years old.
What was your background?
My mom died when I was born and dad hit the road, never to be seen again, gone, out the door and I never met him. I was raised by my grandma in a small village outside Surabaya. I left the village at the age of nine when grandpa died and grandma couldn’t afford me, and moved back to Surabaya to my auntie – the wicked witch of the east … she actually turned me on to drugs when I was 12. During junior high school I ran away, that’s when the adventure started. I went on to study at tourism school and worked in that industry for four years.
Were you into tourism in Bali when you came here?
Yes, two-and-a-half years ago I came to live here and before that I came quite frequently in and out traveling from all over the world with my travel agency.
Suki, sounds Japanese?
It is, it’s really my nickname and I discovered that in Japanese it means “love”, great huh? I’m very happy about that.
Now you’re in business with your own unique style of wooden sunglasses …
I started to think I needed to do something independent – shoes, clothing, then sunglasses appealed to me, and the idea of wooden frames popped into my head. I talked to lots of friends and the results were always the same – you’re dreaming, you’re not going to do this, it’s too big for you, you have no idea about what you’re talking about … on and on. I did some research and decided I wanted to do this regardless. I didn’t tell anyone and just went ahead and did it. I don’t need negativity.
Did you know anything about wood or glass?
At the beginning I experimented with coconut wood, then rosewood, on and on … damn, I was ready to give up, then I realised I had put so much time and energy into this project. I spoke to other people with experience (in the field) and was supported. You can do anything if supported with positive energy, and so it happened. I created what I felt and saw and now I have six designs with four different special kinds of woods.
Where was your first outlet here?
Deus (Ex Machina), then Ku De Ta, the W Hotel and some selected outlets, and now going into New Zealand. I’ll be looking at a wider international market in the future. I’d also like to have my own shop some day.
We have the wood, what about the glass?
We’re using polarized lenses.
Your philosophy on life?
Dream big, it’s not going to hurt you, it’s free, whatever you want … I can’t imagine what you want, but the universe will give it to you.
I love this line and so appropriate for you – “I was born free but now I’m very expensive“.
Yes, yes … being born in a poor family is not our parents fault, but when we die in the end, it’s our fault if we do not succeed.
What do you have to say to your sunglass fans?
What I want is for them to feel sexy and free, united with love and colours.