Julius Ruslan: Meeting demand for luxury products

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HE’S only 35, but Julius Ruslan has proven to be a true entrepreneur. Under the umbrella of Milestone Pacific Group, he has spread his wings into a number of lines such as the hospitality and lifestyle businesses. “We are currently focusing on the creation of a niche market for high-end products,” he said while showing his showroom, LuxeLiving, the newest business under Milestone Pacific Group featuring premium brands in beds, kitchen systems and furniture.
In addition to being the distributor of Hastens high-end beds from Sweden, LuxeLiving also stocks kitchen products and iconic chairs – Bulthaup from Germany and Carl Hansen & Sn from Denmark, respectively. “The three brands’ high-quality of craftsmanship and precise measurements make it unfeasible to manufacture them locally. That’s why I’m convinced that I can penetrate the market here in spite of the products’ high prices,” the owner and chief vision officer of Milestone Pacific Group asserted.
“Indonesia is in the process of transforming into one of the world’s major economic players. Heading to economic recovery, the country has a staggering number of affluent people with high purchasing power,” he said. “Unquestionably, there’s more room for premium products in the market here.”
Being a resource-rich nation, Indonesia is home to some of the world’s largest mining companies and producers of key commodities such as palm oil, rubber, tin and coal. Julius further said that a lot of Indonesians are riding on the resources boom. “And these people want a comfortable life.”
While showing the three types of Hastens beds at LuxeLiving, Julius referred to Toyota as the metaphor of the best bed in Indonesia prior to the coming of Hastens. “And we have Rolls Royce now.”
He added that fashion and class are of great importance when it comes to luxury products. In the pursuit of luxury, anyone can buy fashion, but class is something that needs to be taught through the four stages: recognition; search; experience and convenience; and the holy grail.
Recognition is the acknowledgment of famous branded products. Search is where eyes are opened for embarking on luxury in travel, culinary, clothes and so on. “But you are only able to experience and bring luxury to comfort when you experience and feel convenient about any particular product apart from the brand itself,” Julius explained, saying that both the second and third stages are where one can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.
The last stage, the holy grail, is the goal sought after for its great significance. This is what Julius refers to as ultimate luxury where a rich individual becomes a true philanthropist by contributing a significant portion of his or her wealth to a cause.
In appreciation of the good life, Julius and his wife have visited countries on all of the continents. Be it for business or for pleasure, food and learning about a particular culture are what the two treasure the most when traveling.
Asked what his most memorable travel experience is, Julius replies excitedly, “Our visit to Stockholm, Sweden, in the fall of 2008. “We unintentionally went to a H*stens showroom. Amazed at the brand’s high-quality beds, which has 35-year lifespan, we decided to open a business in luxury living.”
Having a passion for the good life, Julius and his wife run the exclusive Black Cat Jazz Supper Club. Located in Plaza Senayan, Black Cat is a fine-dining restaurant featuring live jazz bands that serves continental food, wine and champagne.
Julius, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the College of Notre Dame, Bellmount, California, in 1998, is aware that he wouldn’t have achieved such success if hadn’t he been highly confident in building his business. “That what keeps me on track in the business fast lane.”
His optimism matches his business confidence, particularly when in 2001 he established Level Eight, a digital signage company he started from scratch. Operating under the umbrella of Milestone Pacific Group, Level Eight is the fastest growing billboard company in Indonesia.
Being the distributor of light emitting diode (LED) under the QS-Tech brand, Level Eight was the first company in the country to use LED screens for billboards. A visionary entrepreneur, indeed, Julius is also adding hospitality to his business empire. He is in the middle of building a budget designer hotel chain under the name of Max One Hotels.Com. The first hotel is scheduled to open in Central Jakarta in June 2010. “I’m planning to open one each year,” he says.
Despite his busy daily routine, Julius still finds time for leisure. Other than spending fun time with his family, he likes to satisfy his interest in world affairs through reading. “I also like reading magazines on interior, architecture, product design and fashion. WallPaper, Li-vingetc and Surface are my favorites.”
Julius is aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Cardiovascular exercises and weightlifting are routine workouts for him at the gym. “I try to go to the gym three times a week. I used to play golf, but have quit as it is too time consuming.” (Burhan Abe)
The Jakarta Post, October 28, 2009