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It is Christmas day and close to dawn, for the past seven hours I only thought about Della Nathaliaour technical designer who has joined our team for two years. At the end of this year, she will be leaving Tulisan and progressing to another professional experience. It is hard to face this truth, for she is by far the best apprentice in design whom I have ever met during my twenty years of being a visual mentor and practitioner. With all honesty, she is determined and hardworking individual who is adamant in delivering the best under all circumstances.

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Della has been involved in many duties and responsibilities at Tulisan, from the most difficult problem-solving tasks to the most unimaginable roles, such as modeling for our look-book photography.

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With her slender figure and graceful composure, she was always ready and accommodating all my needs during the photo shoot, both as a photo subject and as a set assistant. It was extremely easy to work with her and painless to art direct her.

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Della has always been supportive and dedicated to her work, to her co-workers and to her parents. Everyday before this young woman goes to work at Darmawangsa Square, she starts her day super early, around 4 – 5 am, to help her parents’ business selling Indonesian snacks. Regardless of her family obligations, she has never been late to work.

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At work, Della is responsible in creating the technical package for all our soft goods. She takes this meticulous job seriously, proudly and diligently. It was these attitudes that have propelled her to becoming our most trustable source in R&D, regardless of her non-creative and logic oriented academic background in accounting.

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I remember of one early Sunday, at 7 am, she woke me up to develop the prototype of Lilliput Tote at our atelier. Even under an extremely bad weather, agonizing traffic jams, or weak physical condition, Della has never given me any excuse to be absent from her work. She was always around to support both our Design department and R&D team.

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Della is a dependable team player, an honest apprentice and a loyal friend. All of us will miss her a great deal.

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She embodies many qualities that I seek as a one of Tulisan’s guardians and ambassadors.

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I admire the fact that she always acts boldly without any prejudice.

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Della is a die-hard perfectionist when it comes to her work. Often I wish that she can confront mistakes more openly, because life always takes us to an unexpected turn. The ability of embracing our imperfections and mistakes gives us a deeper understanding of our true beauty.

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We are a small team chasing for a big dream. Each member is required to take on many responsibilities in sales, design, R&D, marketing and finance. We can always count on Della, when it comes to handling cashier’s duty, customer care or as a brand spokes person. She has given us the confidence that she can complete these duties well.

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I get frustrated from how hectic and messy Della’s work space gets. When I expressed my discontent to her, she would try to calm me down by assuring me that it was an organized mess and that in fact everything was in order. I find that cute and annoying at the same time. At least, we can be frank to each other.

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She has also been in charge of building many of our exhibit installations and designing our planogram (a systematical technical plan of arranging visual merchandising based on a specific retail objective). This is a job that requires both strong logic and powerful imagination.

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Della carries and maintains a special toolbox which contains essential hardware instruments and measuring gadgets for building exhibition sets. Once we timed ourself in building one of the sets (as shown in the picture above), and it took 30 minutes for the two of us, crazy ladies, to complete the exhibit.

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Della takes our company’s vision close to her heart, every morning she part-takes in a team effort in caring for our work-space and making it a pleasant and clean environment.

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In 2011, Fadly, our Chief of Financial Officer, brought her in for the first time so that she can intern as an accountant. Della was Fadly’s student in Atmajaya University. Her very first duty was to account all assets, raw materials, and finished goods inventory. I believe that this was a very good foundation for her to build her passion and trust in my ideas for Tulisan.

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I have enjoyed every minute of this journey with her. I wish for her to be a solid leader who always march forward with confidence and content.

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To our Black Beauty, Merry Christmas and kisses to you, Melissa Sunjaya.

Photography by Melissa Sunjaya

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A Self-fulfilling Pursuit

by Athina Ibrahim

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“Our first responsibility is to ourselves – to be true to our sense of right and wrong, our sense of purpose and meaning. That’s how we contribute to the world. Anyone who is able to do that for him or herself is already contributing a great deal of human potential into our collective, shared pool of humanity.”Maria Popova of Brain Pickings.

Upon first impression, Della Nathalia exudes a cool and composed sense of being. She carries herself in such a thoughtful matter, often constructed with precision. Her choices of clothing undertones her interest for simplicity without being understated — classic, neat cuts, combined with occasionally colorful tones. Nothing that blatantly hurt the eye.

Her focus grabs the attention of those around her. She talks when necessary and joins the rowdy conversation of office breaks when needed. When it calls for work, she gets her concentration gear on and keeps distraction at bay.

Walking side by side, I cannot help but be engross in the sense of determination of her stride. Della remains calm as we sit for a cup of coffee. She eventually relaxes when I make a joke confirming of my intention to keep the conversation casual. Despite intruding her personal space with a recorder ready on the table.

It was only during minutes into our talk that her disposition changed. She slightly panics when the conversation revolved around her. Often, breaking into a nervous giggle when I ask about her personal achievements.

Maybe it is too difficult to lay it all out. For almost two years, Della has undergone a series of transformation. Joining Tulisan, she started as an accounting intern. As time went by, she was placed into different departments as learning experience to find what fits her capabilities. From an accountant to working under branding and marketing, before finally grabbing the responsibility she holds till this day: a technical designer.

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“I have a very strong sense of logic in calculation and imagining form,” she repeatedly exclaims, when asked about her final transition. She boldly jumped into the opportunity when presented by Tulisan’s owner Melissa Sunjaya. Being a technical designer at Tulisan encompasses various different aspects. An eye and sensitivity for detail is necessary to carry out this type of activity. Her days comprises of researching new fabrication methods, testing components, constructing product prototypes to developing cutting patterns with Zero Waste principle and reviewing final bills of materials.

Beyond that, is where the challenge may lie. Being a technical designer at Tulisan surpasses creating only patterned forms, you also need a humanistic approach in overseeing the artisanal fabrication methods done by the production team. Discipline to accommodate a standardized process can only be achieved with a certain sternness, ability to multi-task and and an acute awareness of Tulisan’s values and work ethic when operating each tasks – an extremely high requirement that not all can master, but Della takes with serious consideration.

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The roots of her logic may date back from her school years, when everyone was engulfed in romantic novels and Chiclit (Chic Literature), Della was obsessed with the proper structure of language. To my surprise, by high-school, she managed to pull-off writing her own novel only because she was irritated by the disarranged usage of language in novels of her age. Instead her daily readings then were by experienced literalist as Mira W. and W. Lestari. Her affinity for linguistic has grabbed her attention since.

Everything about Korea — the language, the films, and overall culture — maybe something that has captured her interests today, but she has grown up with a liking for so many other languages — Japanese and Chinese included. And language doesn’t defer to only structure and logic, it bears a cultural context to it. Language has its prose and poetic form – making it an equally beautiful and abstract form of art. Maybe, without her noticing it, a sense for the aesthetics have already been embedded in her since a young age. Despite her claiming only learning about aesthetics at this present age.

Her greatest influence are Melissa and Melissa’s Mother, Didi Hersubeno, giving her responsibilities and often visual guidelines on the proper way of designing the visual interiors of the store or even booths that bear Tulisan’s product elsewhere. She remarked her current environment at Tulisan is what made her more bold in her visual sense. Although, she claimed she probably would not be seen around with a pop-color scarf she pointed out I was wearing.

At a young age of 23 years old, Della remains dedicated to her work. Different from her peers who continue pursuing what they are most familiar with academically. Della continues to do the things that give her personal fulfillment. She hopes to see Tulisan flourishing worldwide, while being able to produce a product of her own once she has completely mastered the design and crafting techniques involved in making her responsibility as technical designer whole.

Photography by Tulisan Chronicles Team