Global financial crisis did not seem to affect handicraft industry producing statues in Banyuwangi, East Java. Demand for their products from Bali remained stable so far, even tended to increase. Beyond Bali, similar situation also seen in various European markets.
At the beginning they were worried about impact of global financial crisis to their business, especially related to export of their products. “Fortunately our prediction was proven to be wrong. Demand on our products remain stable”, Atim Ismail, a handicraft producer in Banyuwangi told the press. Orders from Bali and European markets kept on flowing in. He even struggled in fasttracking his production to cover the demand.
Atim delivered 40 statues to Bali every month, of out which 50% were forwarded to Europe. Most popular were statue of Buddha and different sorts of godess. Almost all exported products were on those two forms. He was certain that most Europeans like Buddha in meditation pose.
Popular material was white stone brought in from Yogyakarta. Material supply was easy. Producer could get as much material delivered as they need at anytime. Easy to carve and popular as holly stone for its glossy white color, white stone was also free from moss.
Priced at between 2 to 8 million per piece depend on size and level of difficulty, a statue took about a week to complete. Atim employed 7 carvers at his studio. Interestingly Atim admitted that he was not making a lot of money out of his business. His main objective was to spread talent and wealth to the youth in his village, his very reason behind his relocation from Gianyar, Bali, to Kalipuro, Banyuwangi. “Obviously it is riskier to have the production in Banyuwangi. In addition to higher cost, transport risk is also quite high”, he explained.
Whilst he was enjoying 20-40 orders a month, he was unhappy with the fact that he could not sell his product directy to Europe. “We could not sell our product directly to Europe, we are dependant to? buying agents in Bali”, he said.