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Two years ago, Rassi’s email to Melissa opened her path to become one of Tulisan’s great storytellers. Since joining the team, she has produced a number of stories which includes “Mrs. Picklenuts,” “Delighfully Yours,” and  “Hotel Batavia,” making her receive a Special Recognition for Her Imprints in Literature. Before she sets out on her new adventure in the UK, I sat down with her to learn about why Tulisan is special to her and what she expects to explore in the future.

What is your role in Tulisan?

I am a brand strategist.

I focus on making the brand known. Communicating the brand from its concept and positioning.  We share anything we come up with to the audience and make sure they get the message as we want to.

How would say is your daily routine?

There are a number of audiences that I handle in communicating the brand strategy. I communicate with media, online customers, and our followers.

My daily routine would start with checking online orders every morning and online interactions. After lunch, I would proceed with replying each email. I don’t have a specific schedule in answering emails because with international audiences, they would expect us to have fast replies, so you need to handle all requests as soon as possible.

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Could you tell us the story on how your first started as a writer and then the brand strategist of the company?

It kinda grew over time. When I first joined Tulisan, I was a writer for the stories behind some of Tulisan’s product. At the same time, I had always started helped in working on different tasks. At first, we wanted to make a bigger presence for Tulisan. We started communicated Tulisan’s values on various medium channels and different set of audiences.

I can’t say I gained the position — it was just a title to something I had always been doing since I joined.

What is the best thing about working in Tulisan?

You always have room for yourself. Of course you sometimes have to compromise with the commercial aspect of the brand, but I always have room where I can just write the way I want to.

What is your greatest achievement in Tulisan?

Writing the Hotel Batavia Story.

I never knew how to write fiction. I only started when I was in Tulisan. With hotel Batavia, I experimented with the history of Jakarta and actually put some visual incidents, cases, and periods of time. I had to do a lot of research for this piece.

It is a very personal piece for me. It also gave me leverage to expand writing fiction and made me wanted to explore writing a story infused with a complex layered past.

How can you translate Tulisan’s values into written words?

I think I am pretty good observer. The best way for me is just to be with the people and its surroundings. I realize every time I spend time away from the store, I loose of the warmth and the sense of Tulisan.

Visually, the colors helps in understanding the essence of it. Normally, I’d pay attention to the details and ask myself how I feel about it and put it into words.

Observation takes a big chunk. Another 35 percent is references and the 5 percent is me talking to myself.

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What are your hopes for Tulisan?

I hope I will bump into it somewhere, someplace, sometime. Without me knowing it.

What activities do you enjoy doing outside of Tulisan?

I really enjoy reading and hanging out with friends. Another thing I enjoy doing is volunteering. I have been volunteering in an organization that works with exchange students. I work with young students and see them go abroad, learn new stuff, and come back sharing their experiences.

What is the most exciting thing about living in Jakarta?

The Alleys. Because it always lead you somewhere, sometimes there is a dead end but there is always hope that it can lead you to a different path.

It makes you feel like you live in a labyrinth.

Where do you like to go to in Jakarta?

Jakarta coffee house. I have been going there almost every night for the last two months. They have really good coffee. The owner of the place is obsessed with coffee. He would grind and roast his own coffee there. He is very personal with his customers and enjoys educating people about what makes a good coffee.

Good luck on your new adventures, Rassi!

– Athina Ibrahim