Interviewer : Ni Wayan Dessrimama
15 October 2017
Question : Hi Hugo, thank you for having us here and allow us to hear your experience about your business… At first we’d like to know about your story, when did you come to Bali, or when did you start this business? Why did you start this business?
Answer : Well I came to Bali for the first time just for Surfing, for holiday at 2013. I didn’t plan to stay longer, but I think to stay is one of my most important decision. And actually I met my husband for the first time in Airport. He was the first person I met in Bali also, because he was working at the surf camp, and he was picking me up at the airport. So, he was, like, the first person I met in the island. I decided to stay longer, and then my husband quit working at the surf camp and started to try private guide business. He just started and sometimes asked me for help, slowly we just start to do everything together. At start I was just helping, but then I got more interested and then yeah it kind of got bigger and bigger till now. Then he really wants to make a hostel or lodging for the guests he handled. At that time there were not so many competitors. He just wanted to make a simple, nice place for people to stay. It started from his guests first, and then the friends of his guests. We did everything step by step, so we didn’t plan anything and it just started and sort of like just happened.
Question : So when did the surf school In Da Surf started to establish?
Answer : The school he started in March, the lodging started in August 2014, but we usually do celebration for both in August. So it’s already been 3 years. That time it was really easy. We just knew, the people just asking us ‘Hey, do you know a place to stay?’ So we think ‘No, but maybe we have to one!’ then we just did.
Question : Let’s move to next topic. How popular surfing in Bali? In your opinion, it is.
Answer : I’d say it’s over popular. Because it’s very easy here, Bali has waves almost all year long. Even it’s the wet season or dry season. Take Europe for example, it’s not like they can do surf in winter there, or yes you can, but it’ll be more challenging. Or sometimes there’s a place where you can only found the big waves there so there’s no place for beginners to go or like in Australia for example. So a lot of people from Australia coming here to learn because there’re like good waves in Australia but they are not for people to try it for the first time! So that’s why… Bali has something for everyone, there is big wave, middle wave, and small wave for the beginners, moreover we have it all year.
Question : If we may know what is your first beach you visit in Bali?
Answer : Batubolong, that’s because I was staying in Canggu. But that time it was very quiet. I think I came here in the beginning of it all. Now’s getting more crowded, but in some point, it’s good.
Question : In da Surf has already going for 3 years, we’re sure that on these 3 years there are many things that happened. So could you tell us what In Da Surf strength is? What makes In da Surf stay strong?
Answer : Passion, maybe? I think we’re just doing what we like to do and that’s it. We really enjoy doing this. Even though sometimes it’s not easy, especially in the first year for it is the hardest. But my friend said if you survived the first year, it’s going be easier later. It’s like the steps, 1 year, 3 year, and then if you’re past that, you’ll be okay. Yes there are some times where we think ‘Oh we can’t do this…’ and we just stop and worry a lot… For me it was because I was really emotional, where I am a type of person who wants to get everything very fast, if I want something and I know what I want, I want to have it quickly. So maybe we survived because our combination is balanced. My husband Indra is really a calm person. His personality is balancing our relationship. My husband is doing what he loves to do. He’s been surfing since his very small age, and it’s already been his cure for his every problem. And that is what he’s doing now, sharing what he loves to do for everyone. He’s sharing his passion. Things like this are things that make us survive.
Question : Wow, knowing how you’re doing business with your husband is really inspiring. But do you face any difficulties in running the business?
Answer : Yeah, a lot of people said that it’s not easy to do business with husband or close friend because you can fight because of something, and mixing up your life with your work… But we have some rules. We’re trying to separate and not bringing work to home. So no matter what happening at work, we don’t bring it to our private lives. If at work, we’re like usual working partners, but we’re not fight about work at home. I think it worked quite well.
Question : What is the difference point compare with other surfing school?
Answer : There will always be competitors around us. There were already surf schools around us before, and there will be more surf schools after us. But we’re not creating bicycles here. But we believe that the way we’re doing it is a little different. Or maybe the same and we just feel it’s different by ourselves.
Question : So after you do your work on Surfer’s House, you decide to use website as your tool to boost your business. And you decided to make a website with us, Timedoor Indonesia. What made you choose us?
Answer : Actually Timedoor is the third website provider that we visited in the first time we decide to remodel our website. The companies we visited before yours was a local company but we feel like we had a lot of misunderstanding, in the communication. Maybe it’s just their way of selling, but we wanted to have a platform where we are able to run things by ourselves. We have checked 5 companies, but there are already two companies that we didn’t like since the very first time we met. Then we met Yutaka. Even though we still have another company we’re going to meet, I and my husband both have the same feeling about Timedoor. We really trust our feeling and if we both feel something, usually it will be good. So we thought maybe we don’t even need to go to the other company, but we went anyway just to be sure. And it turned out that we like Timedoor better, and decided to go with you guys. You answered our entire questions; like everything that we want to know, you answered it directly. You were very clear about what you can do, what you cannot do, what you know and what you don’t know. We had a lot of questions and we got all the answers in the first time, the first meeting.
Question : And what do you think about the result of our work, are you satisfied?
Answer : I think our second website we’re going to make with you is the answer. Yes, there are some person offering other options but we don’t accept... We already got guys who are doing it great, so… we won’t want to try again, for we already have what we need. We thank you for your great work. Without you, there are a lot of things that maybe not happen to us. Because all of your staff working as a team, everybody supporting each other, altogether you support your clients. This is the great thing.
Question : How's result of your website? Is there any significant change or comments in your business?
Answer : Oh Yes! First of all, every client coming here they said “You have such a great website!” and when we asked them why they chose our services they all said things about our website, whether it look so nice, everything is comfortable, easy to access, easy to communicate… And because all of the information needed by our guests is there. So I guess it’s the biggest point of the website. We had experience a lot of trouble with the previous website, where we have a website but there were so many things not working so we have to do everything manually by ourselves. Now with website from you, the results are increasing. Back before we got many bookings from agents but now most of our bookings are made directly from the website. This is the most important, where we can be independent with the direct bookings. We are really happy with our website and we all have everything going well there.
Question : We’re glad to know that our website can be a help in your business. Oh and we also know that you have a blog, and also social media with great contents. And you also did online marketing with us for those social media accounts. May we know what made you decide to do that?
Answer : Because I think now everything goes so fast, like Facebook, Instagram and other social media, they update every month and just have things to change. We tried to fulfill everything there and we do updates in Social media by ourselves. Nowadays we cannot just focus on one thing, for now everything moving so fast. We want to work to as many channels as possible, so if one doesn’t work, we have a backup, and can focus to something else.
Question : So we can conclude that you did online marketing also to cope up with your business, to support so your business. We’d like to know, as an entrepreneur, you must have something in mind about your future. Can you share with us a little bit about what your plan in the future that you’ve had in mind?
Answer : Well actually I didn’t have too many plans. Everything was sort of just happened one by one in the proper time and the proper place. Yes we do have a lot of ideas every day, but it doesn’t last too long. We don’t plan to make this business bigger, because we’re totally fine with how it is now, and we think that is also why people choose us. We’re just small, and we know each other, and that’s unique. Not many surf schools know every guest they had. We have many returning guests, and we want our guests to feel like they’re back to something they used to know before. There will be changes to be better, but not too much. We are improving everything, like upgrading the Surfers House, better staffs, but we’re not going to change our type of lodging. Instead we’re going to make another type of business that is not so related with current business. We probably will move to some more social project, but unfortunately because it’s just the two of us so we cannot handle everything by ourselves. In the future we’d like to do something related to surf and more social to the community, but we started small steps from Surfers House first. Started from changing the habit, reducing the plastic usage, or also separating the garbage type… And in the future we’d like to make something that we also can approach to the kids and the environment.
Question : And we also know that you’re going to make a new shop, Barefoot Island, which will focus on baby or kids products. Would you please share to us about your plan for it?
Answer : We started small, by selling kids’ poncho. It was for our daughter, because we think we needed something like that. Then one thing leads to another, it made you think you’ll want to do more and more. It also started because we had difficulties to find things and also our friends. So we think why we don’t make something to solve this, which is to provide things needed for mom, kids and baby around here. First we will make our lives more comfortable, and later our friends also. I think it’s a good idea that will help many people especially new mothers around here. We’ve been thinking about this and postponed and postponed, but now we think it’s time to do it for real now. We didn’t make a good business plan, and everything just sort of happened and we just want to try it out. Hopefully it will run well.
Jl.Pantai Batu Bolong #32, Bali, Indonesia