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This story includes some good examples of marketing on a shoestring.

Thank you, ladies & gentlemen. My name is Yasa Paramita Singgih and I’m the president of Men’s Republic Indonesia. Now, I want to share with you guys the journey building Men’s Republic from zero until now
Facing so many ups and downs that happened while running this business, I describe my journey as a roller coaster ride. At the same time, I really grateful for everything that happened in my life because it made me who I am today.
Initially, my life was so ordinary, living a life that most teenagers have. Both of my parents are employees for more than 30 years. But then, my life has totally changed when I was 15. It was the time when my father got a heart attack because there were 3 blood vessels constriction and had to do a surgery as soon as possible. Unfortunately, my father didn’t have enough money. So, he instead told my mother to use the money for me & my brother’s school. It was a turning point for me as I realized that we were not actually a rich family. Since then, I promised myself to work hard to help them.
The first product I created was this shirt, Soekarno shirt as he is the Indonesian founding father.
Since I didn’t have any design skills, I created the design with Microsoft Words and my first logo was created using Paint. I remember that so many friends said that I was very stupid but I still kept going and produced 48pcs. Unfortunately, my first product only sold 2pcs in one month and 1 of them was bought by my mom.
One day, I had an idea to borrowing the products from the biggest wholesale center in Indonesia instead of creating my own products. I didn’t have much money at that time, so my first model for my brand is only this mannequin. Surprisingly, the result was very good. I could buy a land as my first asset when I was 17 years old.
Until one day I got a young entrepreneur main problems, it was the inability to focus. Instead of scaling up my clothing business, I opened my new business which was a coffee shop called Ini Teh Kopi. I thought I could get more money by running more businesses but in fact everything didn’t go well. The first day my coffee shop opened, Jakarta was stricken by big flood. Then, in the first 2 weeks, someone broke into the shop and stole the TV & the stove. So many problems happened. In short, the coffee shop only survived for 10 months and I lost more than 11.000 in 18 years old. Thus, my clothing business had to be closed because all of the money was used to substitute the loss from the coffee shop.
It was the lowest moment in my life. I didn’t have anything at that time.
I almost couldn’t go to university as well, so many friends mocked at me. I had to sell all of my assets to cover my loss. But I realized that I should move on. I think it was a very great learning for me, I have to be focus in one business before opening the other one. It was not the end of my entrepreneur journey, it was just the beginning.
February 2014, I started everything from 0. I came back to the wholesale center to borrow the cloths again. This time I asked my brother to help me to be the model because I didn’t have enough money to pay the real model. And we did the photoshoot in front of our house. However, after couple of times, my brother didn’t want to help me anymore because he was embarrassed with the neighbors looking at him. So, I took his place as the model.
July 2014, I came up with the idea to sell shoes rather than cloths. This idea came up as my father was an employee in some shoes company for more than 30 years and he has so many knowledge & network in shoes industry. I started by producing 60 shoes in debit, so I started the business with 0 capital. Surprisingly, the result was very satisfying as the sells exceeded the selling of cloths before. Since then, I chose to focus on building Men’s Republic as a shoes company.
During 2015 – 2017, my business was going very fast. From 60 shoes to more than a 500 – 1.000 shoes every month. Now Men’s Republic become one of the best in Indonesia. My friends who said that I was very stupid now said that I was very creative. Today, my company is running more professionally with a better management.
We offer men’s fashion especially shoes with 3 core values: Simple design, excellent material & gentlemen pride.
We realized that selling the product itself will have a similar design with other brands. So, we did an innovation to create unique shoes, that was the combination of casual & modern design with Indonesia’s legend culture, Batik. We want to bring Indonesia Global.
Now, we have sold the products around Indonesia and to 12 countries around the world.
I’m not a student who is trying out a business just for fun. I’m a die-hard entrepreneur who is studying in a university. I’m serious building Men’s Republic with a vision to be the best & the biggest Indonesia’s local men’s brand, media & e-commerce in South East Asia. I came up with the vision by seeing Armancio Ortega, Founder of Zara and Tadashi Yanai, Founder of Uniqlo as my role models. Before knowing them, I thought that rich people only came from property, mining or manufacture business. But they proved me that they can be succeed with fashion business. I learn about the power of persistence from two of them.
These are 9 people behind Men’s Republic now. The average age of my team is 22 years old. We always empower them to go the extra mile & make a difference.
One of my team, Linda only worked for photocopy shop near my university before. She has a twin sister, named Lisa who worked as a cashier in a milk shop. Two of them couldn’t go to university before. But after working in Men’s Republic, Linda and Lisa now can go to university majoring in accounting. Not only that, there are 5 people who can continue their studies because of Men’s Republic. It becomes a responsibility for me to grow the business and improve their life to be better.
We also empower more than 50 craftsmen. Instead of making cow skin to be snacks worth only a dollar, Men’s Republic offers them the opportunity to making cow skin to be shoes and can worth more than 30 dollars. So, they have a better economy life since creating products for Men’s Republic.
These are the pictures of our warehouse and when we held bazaars in Indonesia.
This is the roadmap. We empower more than 200 resellers around Indonesia. We also maximize our website in many ways. And we are also creating offline event every month. We are very big in social media especially Instagram. Furthermore, we have some Instagram accounts as a media promotion which supporting Men’s Republic with producing marketing content. So, the conclusion is we have more than 460.000 followers in all social media and become one of the biggest in Indonesia.
This is the viral marketing contents about men’s lifestyle and empower men to behave like gentlemen.
And this is the impact. This is the reason why we gain more likers, more followers and more engagement. Our strategy is educating first, selling second. We are not only selling the products, but the story, the emotion & the pride of the brand as well. Because, Men’s Republic is not just a brand, we are a men’s lifestyle media as well.
I believe that database is everything in this era. So, this is our demography of our customers. We know everything about our customers. From this database, we can monetize more and more.
We are really grateful that what we do is making a great result.
– In 2014, started from zero we got almost 15.000 dollars.
– In 2015, increase 235% we got almost 50.000 dollars.
– Last year, we got almost 100.000 dollars.
We got 20 – 30 percent profit from the revenue and this is our projection for 3 years later.
This is our project. I always remember that I’m not born in rich family, so we help to renovate poor people house from our profit. It’s about giving back to society. I want my business give an impact to many people life.
In 2015, competed with more than 10.000 young entrepreneurs around Indonesia. I won one of the biggest entrepreneur competitions in Indonesia, The Winner of Mandiri Young Entrepreneur, Student Category, Creative Field.
In 2016, the biggest marketing consultant company in South East Asia named Mark Plus awarded me as Marketeers Youth of The Year 2016 for what I did in marketing.
And this is one of the biggest milestone for me and Indonesia. A man who is not born in a rich family and only knew Forbes from Bruno Mars’ song Billionaire, “I wanna be on the cover of Forbes Magazine. Smiling next to oprah and the queen”. In the early of 2016, Forbes awarded me as Forbes 30 Under 30, the most promising, daring entrepreneurs & game changers. I also got the youngest predicate of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Retail & E-commerce category in 20 years old. It was like a dream came true for me but at the same time it was a reminder for me to always be humble and always strive for the excellent.
And in 2015, I wrote a book, the title is Never Too Young to Become a Billionaire and it became a national best seller in Indonesia as well as already inspired more than thousand young people in Indonesia. Now, more than hundred media already covered me and Men’s Republic.
Although as an entrepreneur I have a responsibility to grow my business, I realize my position as a student as well. So, I maintain my academic performance. As of today, my average GPA is 3.70 and can achieve the cum laude predicate as well as got a best student predicate in my university.
From all the achievements I got, I think this is the biggest achievement for me. It was when I witnessed my mom cried happily when she saw me got an achievement.
And all the people around her congratulate her and said, “Congratulation, you have succeeded to educate your son”. I started the business because I wanted to help my family. So, it is a happiness when I can contribute to my family and make them proud of me.
I believe I’m able to stand here because of these three personal values.
– The first one is having positive attitude. I try to be a person with an integrity.
– The second is having high motivation meaning I always try to perform my best to achieve my purpose in life.
– And the last one is being a lifetime learner by staying hungry & staying foolish like what Steve Jobs have said.
I’m a part time student, a full-time entrepreneur, and a lifetime learner.
So, what next?
– I want to get an investor to speed up my business.
– Open an offline store in several big cities in Indonesia.
– Focus to increase my sells to South East Asia countries.
– Build an Indonesia’s first custom shoes platform & app.
– After succeeded in Men’s Republic, I want to create as well as acquisition many brands to build the best & the biggest online consumer goods company in South East Asia.
– The last one, I want to make my company go public in 2030.
In this life, I want to inspire more people to dream more, do more & achieve more. I want to make a MARK and I want to make an Impact to many people life. So, people will come to me and said, “Thank you so much Yasa, because of you I didn’t give up”. I want to leave this world with a legacy. So, when I die later I want to be remembered as a man of value.
Today, I’m standing here as a GSEA member. I hope, I will come back here as a EO member. My name is Yasa Paramita Singgih. Glad to be here. See you at the top! Thank you.

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