WHY WE ADMIRE HERDIANI BAHARUDDIN
I first met Herdiani (Ani) in 2013 when I traveled with VECO (now Rikolto) to Masamba in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. We stopped in her café and ate fried bananas drizzled with locally made hot chocolate sauce and sipped on iced chocolate drinks served by Ani. At the time, I had NO IDEA how special this was. Nearly eight years later, enjoying chocolate from locally grown cacao is still an unfortunate rarity in growing communities.
For context, there are two sides to our partnership in Indonesia: 1. Our agricultural partner, Koptan Masagena, and 2. Our food processing partner, Cokelat Chalodo. Ayu, who you’ve met in a prior post. Ayu works hand-in-hand with Ani, the Director of Cokelat Chalodo. Without Ani and Cokelat Chalodo, snacking cacao would have never made it to the US. From sharing her facility, to managing the women and navigating export for the first time, her efforts and commitment were nothing short of heroic.
The first word that comes to mind for me with Ani is dutiful, but the word falls flat when you know this dynamic woman. Combine it with unstoppable, responsible, magnetic, creative, and supremely capable and you begin to understand more fully.
If you’ve heard concerns about aging farmers and wonder how to keep the next generation interested in cocoa, Ani is a trailblazer for what’s possible. As the firstborn, and especially for the reasons I outline above, she is the natural choice to carry on the family legacy which spans well beyond cocoa into leading pilgrimages to Hajj (Mecca) and operating a local water park. As for her 30-year vision for their chocolate – we couldn’t agree more: her factory will produce chocolate on par with Belgian chocolate and be marketed in big cities around the world. Yes to that!
What I admire most about Ani (and you will see it shine through in her own words below) is the passion and commitment with which she carries BOTH her family and business responsibilities. Her life is full and not easy. In addition to being the oldest of six children (the five oldest pictured below under a photo of their parents) and the right-hand to her father and mother in their businesses, she is mother of two. Her children are being educated in Makassar (along with some of her siblings), the main city on Sulawesi about 10 hours drive from Masamba. She is therefore responsible for two households - frequently traveling between the two while being intricately involved in the family businesses.
If that doesn’t make you tired already, enjoy learning about Ani and Cokelat Chalodo in her own words (translated from Indonesian). While you’re at it – grab a bag of Strength (from Indonesia). We do not find it coincidental that her feature would fall on the same day Strength is back in stock after a four-month hiatus from COVID-19 related supply issues!
ABOUT HERDIANI BAHARUDDIN
Introduction to Chocolate
I was born and lived in North Luwu Regency now, to be precise in Masamba, South Sulawesi Province which is unique with its traditional Kapurung food with my family.
I have worked in chocolate from 2009 until now. My parents' background, especially my father, was a cocoa farmer at first. He started the business step by step. From seeing the opportunities that exist around and learning from various parties, until now owning a factory or company in the field of processing chocolate from farm to products. Seeing him so passionate about introducing and raising this local chocolate business made me curious and I jumped in to help him right away. I am hoping that by participating in training on chocolate processing, the chocolate in Masamba where I live can be recognized by the general public. In building a business in the chocolate sector, of course we have felt the ups and downs of profit and loss. But our passion for building this business is also unrelenting.
My education is not that high, I only graduated from Senior High School (SMA) and only had time to take part in a few semesters in college. This did not stop my intention to be successful in business. I had a chance to feel what it was like to work while in college but for various reasons I decided to focus on the business I was in. I have participated in various trainings to gain insight, experience sharing stories with others and one of them that I have received from the South Sulawesi Industrial Training Center in the field of Chocolate.
Empowered by Family
Family is a big support system that provides a good stimulus for every step of my work.
HERDIANI BAHARUDDIN’S CHOCOLATE JOURNEY
My Chocolate Dreams
My dream is to make my parents, family, and people around me happy with the business I have in the field of chocolate processing. With this effort, many people are affected by the economy and this local chocolate product can go global.
I was given the responsibility of managing a chocolate factory business and a cafe that serves processed chocolate. This is a big responsibility for the running of my business, ensuring the availability of raw materials, processing the cocoa according to the SOP (standard operating procedure) until it is suitable for consumers. Ensuring that employees who work are able to jointly build the company. There are several employees who work under my business and this is also a big responsibility for me.
Building a Local Chocolate Business
North Luwu is one of the districts in South Sulawesi Province where a lot of superior cocoa is growing. My parents also originally worked as farmers and cocoa traders. Seeing the opportunities that existed, my parents seriously participated in a cocoa processing training. The training my father underwent sparked his enthusiasm and dream to build a local chocolate business. Apart from helping to provide jobs for local communities, this can also be a starting point for promoting and marketing local products in the form of chocolate.
I once read one quote that said “Women are full circle. Within her is the power to create, maintain and change ”. -Diane Mariechild. Women have more resilient instincts than men. I think that in certain conditions the energy in women is so great. Even in stressful conditions we can create a more manageable situation, nurture something well because it is basically more tasteful. Without realizing it, we are also multitasking in several fields of work and outside of office work.
Growing the Business while Caring for My Children
The challenge is to become a female leader in a company. It is often considered whether I can carry out this mandate - can I raise this business? But these questions become my motivation to prove that as a woman I can build a business. And I can prove that I can also align my obligations as a household parent who takes care of my children with my job.
Being a good mother to my children, a good child to my parents. I can provide jobs.
2020: A Year of Great Challenge
One of the challenges I experienced was when the COVID-19 virus broke out. Where one of my businesses in the culinary / cafe sector has decreased. In the same year, Masamba experienced a flash flood disaster which caused part of the factory land to be swept away by flash floods. Our waterboom agro-tourism was destroyed instantly. But because I and the people around me and my employees don't want to linger in this situation, we together build and improve this business. On the other hand, the challenge is when there is a decrease in turnover in my business, at the same time I am responsible for several employees that I have worked with. This presents a challenge for me on how to be able to make innovations in my business and provide enthusiasm for my employees so that together they can realize hopes for good and company goals.
Making Innovative Chocolate Products
My favorite part is when making an innovative chocolate product, both food and beverage. Discuss with several parties whether this innovative product is marketable or not.
What is one thing that would make your job as a woman in cocoa better or easier? The funny thing is I always imagine a sophistication in the factory we manage. The processing of cocoa beans to produce the product can be easily entered into the machine which can save time and effort for employees.
Kampung Cokelat Chalodo Masamba is the only factory that focuses on processing chocolate from the land to produce finished products that are suitable for community consumption. Now we are planning to build an agro-tourism for waterboom baths where visitors can also get education about the chocolate processing process.
I hope that this work in the cocoa sector will be able to have a positive impact on women in various fields of work related to the process of using cocoa, both raw and finished materials. One example is providing job opportunities for MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises). I also hope that this chocolate processing business can get better, our factory can produce chocolate in the same class as Belgian chocolate. Our chocolate can be marketed in big cities or big countries.