We just had a nice article posted about our founder in the online Lifestyle magazine Giejo. This magazine focus on Health and lifestyle but also shares stories about entrepreneurs and people that inspire others through their story. Here an excerpt of the story.
Our Farm is under Water
That statement, although correct, would not be reason for concern for the Bali
Coral Farm and its owner and manager Wieke Endang. While the operation is financially thriving, the actually farming of live coral happens under water; in a shallow lagoon located off the south end of the Indonesian Island of Bali, to be precise. While happy tourists enjoy the beach, they don’t realize that in a protected cove near by is the hidden gem of an ocean based coral farm. The workers place small coral fragments on tables under water and grow them to size. Those coral then gets packed and shipped all around the globe to aquariums and ornamental fish tank wholesalers.
The Indonesian native grew up in a small farming community on the main island Java. Her father is now retired from a long career as school principal, her older sister works in finance and her younger sister went into the fathers footsteps to become a junior high school teacher. Her mother sold farming crops in their town and on the local market. Wieke wanted to do something meaningful and interesting after her studies at the university Yogyakarta, but had no clear vision what that might be. Her sister had a job at a local coral exporter where she could find work and learned about the trade. She was fascinated with the intricate profession and its environmental sensible way to propagate an otherwise endangered and protected species. She decided early on that this is her calling. The coral farm business would determine her future in more than one way. She worked for a different coral farming operation in Bali where she met her husband. Now they are happily married and raise their son. The entrepreneurial Wieke Endang started her own shipping operations and shortly thereafter signed the first contract with the government on her own leasehold claim to raise coral. Just when business started to pick up and she managed to built up a good clientele of wholesale buyers overseas, the unthinkable happened.
The most difficult times
In 2018 the Indonesian government put a moratorium on all coral exports. “That was by far the most difficult time in our business,” explains the bright eyed entrepreneur. “We had to maintain our underwater operations to not lose our crop and leasehold claim of the farm, so I had to continue to employ my staff. I also did not want to loose my qualified workers, which are very difficult to find and recruit. Raising coral is a real art form. There is so much that can go wrong, and then months, if not years of work can be wiped out in an instant. During the two year hiatus we had no means to generate revenue. We were living of savings and I was lucky to had the means to keep all our staff.” The determined business woman finds herself extremely fortunate to been able to continue with her operations through this tough time. Many similar small farming outfits had to close shop and lost everything. Even well established operations had to conduct massive layoffs, and experts calculated the island nation lost around 12,000 jobs during the coral export ban.
Even after the export resumed it was not all easy for Endang. A worldwide health crisis brought her business to a virtual standstill. Her shipping option dwindled away when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the travel industry. Without international flights her usual shipping routes vanished. Her staff worked countless hours to find obscure airline routes to bring the precious cargo to their far flung destinations in a timely manner. To read the full article go here. https://shopgiejo.com/balicoral/
As a thank you for the coverage we post some links to the sponsors of their