The hardships faced by new mothers cannot be overstated. The postpartum period can often be overwhelming and difficult. Like many other women, one young Indonesian mom, Ega Ayudini, had to confront this.
In the first few months after giving birth in 2016, Ega went through breastfeeding difficulties as she wasn’t producing enough breast milk for her newborn, which led to uneasiness and frustrations. “As a new mom, I wanted the best for my firstborn baby. So when I couldn’t produce enough milk, I was terribly worried that my baby wasn’t getting enough nutrition that she needed,” Ega told KrASIA.
Ega wasn’t alone. Her friend from college, Tina Maretina, also experienced a similar problem. Together, Ega and Tina searched for information to solve this issue. They discovered the torbangun leaf, a lactagogue from North Sumatra.
New mothers in North Sumatra consume the leaf to improve the quality and quantity of breast milk, and to restore their stamina after giving birth. Ega and Tina tried it themselves and found out that torbangun really works. Surely, then, other mothers experiencing problems with breastfeeding could also benefit from this.
The pair studied forestry cultivation in college. Leaning on their educational background, they brought torbangun leaves to Jakarta and processed them into tea leaves. They built the brand Inang Booster Asi, adopting the North Sumatran word for “mother.”
The entrepreneurs promoted their product through Blackberry messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram. They received dozens of orders each month and packed the shipments themselves.
But business really took off when they started selling on e-commerce sites like Tokopedia, Shopee, and Blibli. Now, their business has a longer, more substantial supply chain, and Inang even has its own organic gardens where torbangun is grown, as well as production and packaging equipment.
“Inang breast milk booster is a brand that promotes local products and preserves Indonesian culture,” Ega said. “I think the market potential for Inang is still wide open since not many people are familiar with the torbangun leaf and its benefits.”
Inang now has three lines of the product—ready-to-drink torbangun tea, torbangun cookies, and premium torbangun tea leaves. Ega and her partner sell nearly one thousand items online every month and they also have a number of customers in the USA, Malaysia, India, and Australia.
According to Ega, digital platforms have played crucial roles in promoting and growing her small business. “In order to focus on this growing business, my partner and I decided to resign from our previous nine-to-five jobs. We routinely participate in various online and offline programs conducted by SMSE communities to improve our skills and knowledge, so we can evaluate our sales and branding system,” she said.
As a mother, there’s another bonus for Ega: “Running an online business really helps us to improve our standard of living without having to leave our kids at home.”
Inang may be a small enterprise, but it has obtained an FDA certificate for the home industry food category and a halal certificate from the Indonesian Ulema Council. The brand is also registered in the directorate general of intellectual property.
This year, Ega and Tina plan to expand their business by adding production machines and partners to increase production capacity, launching new product lines, developing reseller opportunities in Indonesia and abroad, as well as launching Inang’s official online store.
This article is an entry of “People of the Digital Economy,” a series by KrASIA that visits individuals in Southeast Asia whose livelihoods and habits have changed because of the advent of commerce facilitated by the internet.