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Mining gold from headscarves
Publication Date : 08-03-2013
Businesses geared specifically toward Muslim women are enjoying a windfall all over Indonesia
A cashier, Rita Wahyuni, opened a locked door with a sign saying “Laki Laki Dilarang Masuk” (No Men Allowed) in front of beauty salon Moz5 in West Jakarta one afternoon, when a woman approached the door.
After the woman entered the salon, Rita locked the door of the again, which has a tagline “Salon for muslimah [Muslim women]”.
“Our salon is sharia, so no men are allowed to enter,” Rita said, while dealing with the customer.
She said none of the customers complained about their regulations and most of her customers wore a hijab and so would feel uncomfortable if men were around.
Rita said the business was quite good.
“The customers need to book first by phone one or two days in advance,” she said, adding that the booking was to avoid customers waiting or coming in vain.
Business people have responded to the growing market of hijab-wearing Muslims in Jakarta who want private places to enjoy leisure activities, like spa treatment and sports.
According to Islamic law, women are only allowed to show their hands and face in public. Hence, they need private space for activities related to their bodies.
After deciding to wear a hijab in the second year of high school in 2004, Satyanaya “Naya” Widyaningrum, 23, considered going to a salon was serious business.
“I need to go to a salon once a week because my hair becomes soggy fast when I use a headscarf,” she said.
Naya, a medical school graduate, eventually found a salon and a swimming pool in Tebet, South Jakarta, designated for women only.
Moz5 co-founder Lindawaty said she and her sister, Yulia Astuti, started the business based on their necessity as women who wore headscarves themselves.
“We wanted to have a modern beauty salon, especially for female Muslims because it was so hard to find one at that time,” Lindawaty said.
She said they opened the first Moz5 salon in Margonda, Depok, in 2002 and their business has continued growing ever since.
Moz5 now has 26 branches and franchises in various Indonesian provinces - Jakarta, Banten, West Java, East Java, South Sumatra and South Kalimantan.
Lindawaty said she also expanded the business by opening a boutique and launching halal-certified cosmetics.
Halal means 'permitted' or 'lawful' according to Islamic law, which forbids the use of ingredients considered unclean and harmful to the body.
Lindawaty said the salon would take part in a franchise exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this month, “to expand our business to Malaysia”.
Besides leisure, Jakarta’s fashion industry is also enjoying catering to a growing market of women who wear hijabs, and the city could become a Muslim fashion capital as suggested recently by Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
Hundreds of millions of rupiah circulate every day in Pasar Tasik, a series of markets offering inexpensive and fashionable Muslim attire in Tanah Abang - the largest textile market in Southeast Asia - and in the basement of Thamrin City, both in Central Jakarta.
According to city-owned market operator Pasar Jaya, shoppers from across the archipelago and even abroad, like Malaysia, shop for their Muslim attire in Tanah Abang market.