Fifty years is a length of time as long or short as you make it out to be. Fifty years is also cause for celebration for Tas Elizabeth, which celebrated its golden anniversary with a celebration where they showed off their latest collections a well.
At the press conference, we learned that the day was cause for three kinds of celebration: not only did it acknowledge the fiftieth anniversary of Tas Elizabeth, but it also happened to be Kartini Day and the birthday of Ibu Elizabeth herself. How surreptitious! The planets must have been in perfect alignment for the birthday of a very great lady and the day of celebration of modern Indonesian feminism. Could this be more than just coincidence? (Yeah it probably is, but I’d like to think not!)
Through their proud children, Lisa and Denny Subali, we learned that Tas Elizabeth started in 1963, when Ibu Elizabeth and her husband, Pak Handoko, began selling homemade bags door to door on Pak Handoko’s fixed-gear bicycle. It took a little time and a lot of hard work, but with support from customers, government, and dedicated employees, the business grew from having a capital of one fixed-gear bicycle to forty stores, and from having two craftsmen to having eight hundred employees.
The business plans on adding new branches in Ciledug, Mataram, Pekanbaru, Cirebon, and Lampung while expanding stores in Solo and Denpasar. It also has ambitions to run one hundred stores throughout the entire archipelago, but it is prepared to face globalisation and the challenges that come with free trade. Tas Elizabeth has also completed numerous CSR programs that really give back to their community; their most recent at the time of writing was a collaboration with Lions Club in the donation of fifty artificial limbs in Bandung, Garut, and Tasikmalaya.
The event most looked forward to by the media was the fashion show, displaying new bag collections alongside a fashion collaboration with Susan Budiharjo. The evening started off on a very upbeat note when Vegas-style dancers pranced onstage, and we were kept entertained by several musical numbers as well. The turnout and enthusiasm of the crowds remained solid all night despite the rain and chilly weather.
And then it was on with the show!
There were SO MANY bags and designs that made their way onstage, but Tas Elizabeth does not stop at catering to women: they also produce bags for men and children in a dizzying plethora of designs.
Towards the back of the courtyard was a record-breaking designer bag, which claims itself to be the largest replica designer handbag!
The morning after the celebrations, the media were let loose at the Tas Elizabeth store at Cihampelas Walk, where many of us spent more than ninety minutes trying to pick out which bags we’d like to take home with us. I ended up with a canvas duffel, brown sling purse, and faux snakeskin clutch all for less than Rp. 500,000! It’s a good thing they gave us a time limit on the store, or we could have been there for much, much longer.
Tas Elizabeth is a business that holds a candle to tireless determination and innovation. Thank you to Tas Elizabeth for a great weekend, and hearty congratulations to Ibu Elizabeth and Pak Handoko–here’s to another fifty years!