Sulthon Mohammad Amin


Kharisma Jati Antik

Mr. Amin was born in Bugel, a village located at the District of Jepara to a farmer’s family. Yet, his father, other than being a craftsman, spent more time in selling es dawet in East Java. It was his mother who went to the ricefields more often during the planting season as well as the harvest time, in a limited economical situation. She died of stroke when he was still in fifth grade.

Upon completion of his elementary education, Mr. Amin joined his father in Sidoarjo selling  es dawet and had the chance to continue  his studies at junior high there.  Three years afterwards, he went home to Jepara to finish his senior high schooling.

Credits all go to his mother who asked him to learn how to do wood carving at their neighbor’s workshop when he was still in third grade.  This experience enabled Mr. Amin to take wood carving jobs which he did for about three years from mid-1997 to end of 2000, directly after completing senior high schooling.

Three years being a craftsman, he then decided to change my profession and worked as a shopkeeper in one of the antique furniture shops in Jepara. However, after 5 months working without a decent pay he made up his mind to leave the job. It was by coincidence that he met a foreigner who was looking for a hand drafter (tukang gambar) who spoke English and at the same time able to assist during the boss’ absence from Jepara.

Mr. Amin lost his father a month after he took this new job. At the early days of his career working for the foreigner; an opportunity came for him to enter college and continued my studies in the School of Design (Furniture).  I spent 7 years working in furniture with business people from Australia and the Philippines.

In 2002, to be exact, in the second semester of his studies, Mr. Amin decided to marry Hidayatun Nafiah, a woman from Karangaji village. Her father worked in the pasar selling rice. His wife and him now have two children, a son and a daughter. The reason he got married at a relatively young age was that he no longer had his parents and  needed someone who could take better care of his daily life.

What he dreamed of came true, a year afterwards he got his firstborn; moreover he was blessed to be able to build a small simple house for his family. Mr. Amin took one year leave of absence from his studies. Finally, in 2007  he was able to finish college and graduated.

In 2008, during the global crisis and in the atmosphere of hard competition, the foreigners he worked with could no longer keep their business running. This condition caused a very difficult time for him, especially in mid of 2008. Mr. Amin then made up his mind to work by himself,  making and selling furniture. It was not as easy as he had imagined. There were lots of problems and difficulties he had to face; such as getting buyers, funding his production, and entering the market with quality furniture that could meet the market demand.

Then, for two months, October and November, he had the opportunity to help as a research assistant for a researcher from Norwegia, before he got back to his own work of producing and selling furniture.

In mid 2010 Mr. Amin was asked to be a Field Facilitator Project for Furniture Value Chain in Jepara. This assignment lasted until August 2013 in which he met, mixed and dealt with many furniture craftsmen in Jepara. In between his job as a field facilitator, he still did my own work producing furniture even until now.

The difference is, earlier he did and handled the production on my own, but now he develops collaboration with my friends, other furniture craftsmen, who take his orders and do the job for him.

Now he owns a furniture business named Toko Mebel Bagus in Jepara, while keeping his membership with the Association of Wood Craftsmen  (APKJ) in Jepara, a place where he can share information with other craftsmen. Since MUSDA 2 in early 2013, he has been asked to be the secretary of this association. Here, Mr. Amin has gained a lot of new experiences and shared them especially with other craftsmen other than APKJ. This association serves as a representative of all furniture craftsmen in Jepara.