Andrio Suhendro

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Boosting Local Casual Wear Brand Logo to Compete with Foreign Brands

HUNDREDS of Logo stores are available in high class malls in numerous major cities in Indonesia. For the past three decades this brand has become a sort of reference or icon for the youth here.  

What is the secret ? Besides its up to date designs and prime quality the passion of the brand owner is the key to Logo’s success in the market.  

When Andrio Suhendro, or Abeng as he is known to his friends, launched Logo in 1980 he was determined from the start that his brand would soon stand equal to foreign brands.  

Abeng, who was born in Gombong, Central Java on May 27, 1957, always had the ambition and passion to produce Logo products with international styles. This means the designs and quality are equal to jeans and T-shirts imported from other countries. So he went all the way and used material exactly the same as used for DKNY. “I just wanted to build a perfect image for Logo,” he explained. Of course the margin was reduced, but it did not matter for Abeng.  

In Abeng’s opinion Indonesian human resources are equally to those from other countries and this is proven by the fact that many garment manufacturing companies here get lots of orders for making quality products for international brands. So, technology wise the domestic garment industry can meet the international specifications.  

This was the reason behind Abeng’s daring move to start a garment company that produces jeans, T-shirts and shirts. “Well, I said to myself why not good products with a local brand,” said Abeng, the father of two, a boy and a girl.  

He also focused on the teenage market. “Teenagers usually like to wear unique clothes and they always like the challenge of new things,” he said. Abeng himself is fanatic about jeans and shirts which he wears every day. Even at his age, he still wears youthful clothes. As wearing jeans is his passion he definitely knows a lot about jeans and the comfort of wearing jeans. So he is also very concerned about the comfort that his products can provide. “The fitting of Logo is just right, so it is comfortable to wear.”  

To find out the newest designs he often browses through foreign magazines and also flies to Hong Kong twice a year to check out the latest developments in fashion. He keeps up with the latest manufacturing techniques, raw material, designs and colors. He also makes use of the Internet to keep up with trends, especially related to teenagers. In addition, he frequently conducts local market research to find out what designs are in. According to him all this is important to find out the market demand.  

For teenagers and university students Logo products are identical with their daily wear jeans and T-shirts. Yurika, a student of Communication faculty at one private university in Kebayoran Baru area said that she fell in love with this brand in her secondary school days. “Logo is comfortable and up to date,” said Yurika. A small scale research on the brand among the youth will certainly position it as Top of Mind. For three decades not only teenagers opt for Logo but also young mothers and those who love fashion as well.  

Next to Logo there are other successful brands in the market launched by Abeng, such as Bomb Boogie targeted at men and Ninety Degrees for female teenagers as well as Body Talk, which is a new brand for young mothers.  

Apart from the up to date designs the products are easy to find. Just go to any Matahari Department Store, Galeria, Centro, Metro and of course Logo stores available at malls. Currently more than 100 Logo stores are available in malls in various major cities in Indonesia.    

The success of Logo certainly did not come easily but due to hard work, so it is not a gift from heaven. “I started from zero, not like what you see today,” explained Abeng. Not having a university diploma Abeng chose to sell a number of products.  “I was not born into a well to do family,” said Abeng who went to elementary and junior high school in Bandung and graduated from high school in Jogjakarta. “I used to be a naughty and stubborn boy,” he recalled.  

However he was determined to change his life and secure a better future and this determination guided his every step. Initially he started his business with whatever amount of money he had for capital and he rented a small shop in King shopping center. He sold T-shirts and supplied T-shirts to other shops. He saved the small profits he made.

Soon he had the inspiration to order several dozen T-shirts he had designed and besides selling them at his small shop he also sold them to other shops who were already his clients. Slowly from an order of five dozen it became 10 dozen and then increased to 15 and the orders kept going up.  

Abeng was delighted to find out that the market liked his taste. In 1980 with the motto “I certainly can” he launched his own brand: Logo. Initially the products were just T-shirts and shirts, but soon jeans were also included. His market was limited then, just a number of shops in Bandung. It was understandable because at that time there were no malls.

To expand his market he inserted a catalogue in the teenage magazine Gadis which was a trendsetter. The insertion of a catalogue was in fact a brilliant strategy. The magazine’s large readership in major cities here automatically boosted Logo’s sales and when malls started to be available Abeng made good use of the opportunity.   He admitted that Logo did not immediately perform like a rising star in its sales. There have been many factors hampering the marketing of Logo, he recalled.

At first the market rejected his brand but did not give up. He educated the market through promotions in teenage magazines and placed large photos of top models wearing logo in numerous stores and gradually the market accepted his brand. It was in fact an enthusiastic welcome from the market by then.   “Well there were many risks, but I had to take those risks to achieve success,” he said. According to him one of the keys to success is daring to take risks and at the same time having a keen sense of ‘smell’ for the right opportunities.  

“We must be courageous in facing the risks and keep fighting, but not all business people dare to take big risks,” he said.   Right from the very first day in business Abeng already had a dream that some day Logo would transform into a major brand. “I have always been determined to build this brand and make it equal to foreign brands,” said Abeng.  

He said that the success of Logo was very much based on his determination and passion. Of course everyone has a dream to achieve success. “If one has a dream then hold on to it every day in fact every moment,” he said.  

Abeng’s dream is now a reality: Logo is not only well accepted in the market but is able to stand equal to any foreign brand! (Budiman Sendjaya)  

The Jakarta Post, May 28, 2011

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