Medina Harjani: Determined to advance local products

PRETTY, smart and expert in business. That describes Medina L. Harjani well. The second child of Abdul Latif, Medina has been entrusted by the father to continue and further develop the business of Pasaraya. Medina, as she is known to those close to her, started to be actively involved in Pasaraya in February 2011.

According to Medina retail business in Indonesia is growing rapidly and there is stiff competition, as foreign investors are also active players. She said this is an open competition and only the strongest will survive in Indonesia’s highly promising retail business.
In order to survive and to be able to compete with others a special capability is required according to Medina and she realized that she had to make a number of changes and is also determined to revive the image of Pasaraya as a retail center of local handicraft products. “For local products such as batik, handicrafts, furnicraft and so forth Pasaraya is the largest department store in Indonesia and it has an expansive reach just like our tagline Pride of Indonesia,” she explained.
The mother of three said that Pasaraya’s previous concept was not changed very much as Pasaraya already had a good position, but it has to be updated continuously, which means Pasaraya must meet the market demand and tastes as well as the ever changing lifestyle.
“Next to local products we also have products with international brands. However our priority remains local products as we want to support the local economy and provide added value to local products. This does not mean that we have forgotten foreign products because many of our consumers are still loyal to certain foreign brands, and that is why at building B, previously known as Seibu, we have built a semi mall area with store facilities,” added Medina.
Another strategy is developing the F&B business; because according to Medina today’s urban residents entertain themselves at restaurants and cafes. Apart from F&B Pasaraya is also now developing children playgrounds on its 9th and 10th floors as families are also its target. “We are currently focusing on family entertainment and family shopping, especially younger families, as they require a lot of things not only for the parents but also many items for their children,” said Medina, who has a Master’s degree from Lincoln University of San Francisco, from the school of international business.
When asked about the strategy of a number of other malls that are focusing on the youth segment Medina had her own answer. “Today malls are already segmented, so if Pasaraya focuses on the youth and teenage market I fear our current customers who are already loyal will leave us. Our young families need a place like ours for themselves and their children. Besides, in conducting business we have to be consistent and not change direction every now and again, she explained.
Medina, who also has an economics degree from Trisakti University, has also revamped the human resources by recruiting young, fresh, and creative employees who are further trained until they become expert employees in order for Pasaraya to maintain its position as a top retail store selling Indonesian handicrafts for B class consumers.

Medina consistently supports and motivates her employees. “I always provide them with positive energy to overcome all sorts of challenges and I always emphasize that opportunities are always available to realize their wishes and that there is always a solution to every problem,” said Medina, who is a fan of Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt.

In comparison to other malls Pasaraya can be categorized as a pioneer and it has not only survived but is one of the more successful malls in Indonesia. Age wise Pasaraya is quite ‘old’ as it has existed for the past 38 years. It is a mature age in the retail industry here. Medina said one of the keys to Pasaraya’s success is its consistency and priority given to local products and a number of other features that lend Pasaraya a character of its own.
Each company leader has his or her management style. Medina, also has her own style of management. Medina, who was formerly the marketing director of Lativi, is fully oriented toward the end result and is fully democratic while relying on teamwork as well.
She has a dream that one day soon Pasaraya will become the most modern and the favorite shopping and entertainment complex for Indonesian families. She feels confident that her dream can be realized. Just like most businesswomen her days are hectic, so whenever she has spare time she spends it with her family. “I spend my spare time and holidays with my family. I cook for them, have meals together with them, watch movies and dance with my children,” she said with a smile. Apart from being widely known as a successful businesswoman, Medina also has a reputation for being a good mother, because however busy she may be she always attends to her children and their needs.
Talking about her hobbies, Medina loves singing and likes musicians such as Cold Play, Vivaldi, Black Eye Peas, Rihanna, and David Foster. For traveling Medina, who practices yoga and gymnastics has five favorite destinations. The first one is Mecca, where she said she always finds peace and enlightenment. That’s why she goes back there again and again. Second is Bali, because Bali according to her is good for relaxation and fun. The third destination is San Francisco, because it is romantic and she had stayed here for quite some time. The fourth one is Paris, which like San Francisco is romantic. And the last is London, as London has an attractive culture and its fashion world is quite unique. (Satria Rangga Fausta)
The Jakarta Post, September 24, 2011

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