Tell me a little bit about your background – How did you get to where you are today?

My name is Ayang Cempaka, a home maker and illustrator. My mom was a painter and my grandfather was also a painter and sculptor. I think I’ve been raised and surrounded by creative people since I was born. When I was a kid, my parent always took me to museum and art exhibition. Sometime, I also met my mom’s friends; various artist and joined her art activities. However, I showed no interest in art, preferring instead to architecture. When I first started architecture school as a freshman in college, I realized it’s not what I really want and luckily for me, I could get the milestone that was an architectural degree.

In 2007, I built my own startup, a handbag line  “cocomomo”. I sold my products at Abacus Grand Indonesia. Unfortunately, I quit my own business because I had to move to Dubai with my husband, an architect, who got an offer to work there. Moving to a new country is a big life change that involves a lot of adjustments. So even if you’re not expecting it, a degree of ‘culture shock’ will almost certainly affect you at some point. It was also the moment when I decided to pursue may passion in drawing, but it was interdisciplinary so I also focused on art applicable to products.

What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?

I am so excited with my ongoing project – to create storybook about Sumatran tiger.  I was inspired by a small group of animal doctors in Sumatra who have dedicated their lives to preserve and protect tiger habitat with limited resources. Sumatran tigers caught in traps, stabbed, poisoned, and they hunted for their skin, their organs, blood, bones, teeth, eyes, even genitals. They are considered to be a ‘critically’ endangered species.  It is estimated that only between 500-600 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild, and the actual number may be as low as 400. Their population is dwindling rapidly. I was so sad and decided to contribute something.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from your business life?

Frankly, I’m not really ‘business’-business kind of person. I’m half artist and half entrepreneur. While in business, you have to believe in yourself, you have to devote your total focus and commitment. I’m a creative person. Most of the time, I always work based on my passion (and mood) and I get distracted so easily. It is good that I can make money from what I’m doing. I also believe that you need to love what you do first and money will follow.

What do you love the most about yourself? 

I am easy going, pretty much open minded and forgive people so easily.

The role fear plays in our daily lives. How do you keep motivated to overcome you fear?

Be present and focus. Set yourself an exciting goals. Be with positive people as often as possible.

What comes next to your world?

Our baby boy that will arrive by the end of July or early August!

I believe 

 Small act of random kindness


Daily must have

My family

My cat

My essential skincare

My iPhone

A paper and pencil


Things I love


Children books

Everything organic

A good back massage (I’m addicted to traditional massage)

Neutral palettes with a hint of happy colours

Genuine leather

Live street music

Happy laughter