Ira Puspita lives in Sydney, NSW and designs and sells Indonesian-made wooden homeware at her online shop, Kayu and Co.

I came to Sydney when I started a Master’s degree in Social Entrepreneurship in 2018. I’m from Indonesia where I ran my family’s jewellery business. I was also an English teacher for kindergarten students in a free school in Surabaya. Most of my students lived in slums and orphanages, which inspired me to study and start a business while also giving back to the community.

At Kayu and Co., I’m selling wooden homeware products including wooden tableware and brushes. I work with three artisans in Indonesia, I design the products and they manufacture them for me. 

Before I started Kayu and after I finished my degree, I was trying to look for jobs, but I didn’t have experience in working in Australia, and I didn’t really have connections in Australia. I also finished my degree during Covid, when so many people lost their jobs. It was a big problem for me to find employment so I started my own business.

I sell from my online store and supply 11 stores across Australia and the US. I’m manufacturing for a brand called Beechworth Honey Australia, making wooden honey dippers for them – that was a deal I got through Global Sisters, they connected me with the CEO and since then we’ve been developing a product. I’m really excited – they’ve helped me connect with people I wouldn’t normally connect with. Without them, I don’t know how long it would take to reach those big businesses, it’s really accelerated my portfolio and my business.

They’ve helped me a lot, especially with photoshoots and preparing for my next round of fundraising. I used to run my family business but I didn’t start it from scratch, it was already established and easy, everything I did was successful. But when I started this business by myself, it was the hardest thing ever, I have never been so stressed and under so much pressure. It can be really good and then the next day, no orders at all. It’s a rollercoaster unlike anything I have ever experienced. Global Sisters are always there to help, I can reach everyone there easily and they are just one email or phone call away. 

As a migrant woman, I feel like we really need to reach out to people who can help and support us, especially to connect us with people. One thing that I really appreciated when I was at my lowest point was signing up to Beyond Blue’s small business owners’ mental health program.

Don’t be afraid or shy to ask for help, reaching out is the best thing.

Ira PuspitaKayu and Co