Gung Ayu is a Philatelist at Mienayoe available in To~ko Concept Store. She’s a collector of stamps and antiques. Here she talks with Rumah Sanur about stamp design, products and vintage collecting.
What types of things do you collect?
I really focus on stamps and friends’ communication – old letters, postal items since I was about eight. It’s a collection that was inherited from my Grandfather, who gave it to my mother who gave it to me.
I focus on postage and post items because I like them the most, but other objects like dolls, displays, and other collectibles I also like.
When did you start collecting stamps?
I started collecting stamps in elementary school because there was no modern technology and communication as there is today. If we needed to communicate with people, it had to be through the post office. And stamps are one of the most numerous post items we can collect.
You see if the pictures in a stamp are interesting, we can learn a lot from that. So that’s why I focused on stamps and the history of post for my thesis when studying cultural studies and media at UGM in Yogyakarta.
I think that stamps are a popular medium for delivering messages. I saw that stamps have many things that can we can academically explore and examine further – the history, the period is clear which I have been researching seriously until now.
What type of things do you focus on in your collecting?
For people who collect stamps, it is natural to focus on a theme; figures, events, flora fauna and more.
I like to focus on themes like food photography and then change to a different theme. I like to change the theme of my collections. But to sustain and care for the collections and keep collecting, I need to create and sell products.
For me collecting is a kind of profession not just something that I do in my spare time, not just a hobby. It’s not just about accumulating goods or collecting as much as possible but really a good thing to be liked. Especially for these items in Mienayoe, I should be able to tell the story of each item I have collected so far.
Do you think stamps are still relevant and popular to collect?
Stamps today are still in production and used to send letters all over the world. Every country still has a postal system, a schedule for issuing stamps each month with a variety of themes including campaigns on public issues to engage people.
Up until now, there were numerous stamp collectors – lots of young people – not only nerds. I want to change the paradigm that people who like stamps are nerds, old and boring, it’s also young people.
Stamps are very interesting because of the design, in one way stamps are printed art, design, visual.
What is the meaning of the name Mienayoe?
The name Mienayoe came from my Grandmother’s Grandfather’s name whose photos and stories I am familiar with.
I was raised in a family who liked to collect various family documents including photos, letters, knick-knacks, displays, dolls and magazines. That influenced my fondness as a child until now as a collector of not only fashion items but other things as well.
I decided I had a passion in this area to not just disassemble goods but to also treat them with care and find value in them.
What types of products and collaborations do you do with Mienayoe?
All the frames that I use for my products and customised and made in Bali. I would like to explore using other materials, not only wood maybe acrylic too.
I also use vintage stamps that are often waste or without collector value to decorate tables, collages, lamps and flowerpots.
I do it all by myself, marketing, collecting and development and production, for example giving a frame to every stamp.
Currently I am collaborating with the brand Baby Alien that produces bags and wallets. They make bags made of materials upcycling the remnants of fabric or some designers to give traditional fabrics and leather.
I really want to make something wearable, I want stamps to not only be on shelves or decorations but also for them to be able to be taken anywhere like the temple in a small wallet or clutch. People seem to like this idea and find it interesting.
Now I am trying to make wearable art, not only in display with unisex models for anyone to wear. However postage stamps have thematic images so when choosing materials with stamps to be selection I have to enter a process rather than just selecting.
What is your vision for Mienayoe?
To introduce stamps to young people in a popular and trendy way or showing history through stamps.
My general vision for Mienayoe is to tell the history of the collection that I have especially the vintage objects because I got them from my family first.
What are some of the challenges you face?
The difficulty for me is pricing. The pricing of collectables is very subjective and other people can say this is a very expensive item. Actually an item has a story behind it and also treats collectables it is a price to be calculated because it can be painstaking and difficult to calculate the old collection items.
Also Indonesia and abroad is different, overseas people understand the collection of goods that have history, the cost of care and more.
It’s really a dilemma pricing.
Also for me a marketing strategy that is not maximised, I started three years ago but the strategy is not clear and consistent. Because I am also a freelance teacher, speaker and a lecturer I have not had a focus on maximising sales or business for Mienayoe.
What is your dream for Mienayoe – where to next?
In the long-term I want to have my own lookbook. A website that integrates with other social media such as Instagram, Facebook and more. But if every platform is done alone then it is not maximised and I currently only use Instagram which is not optimal
I am very happy with the brand I have created in Mienayoe because it is my passion.
How does To ~ ko and Rumah Sanur help you develop as a young business?
I joined To~ko from the start and I feel I have an emotional bond with Rumah Sanur because meet many creative people here and get inspiration at Rumah Sanur.
I talk a lot, meet many people and feel their support from the beginning so it encouraged me to explore my passion.
I found a lot of knowledge at Rumah Sanur in Bu Aty and Stefani and Pak Ayip created the Mienayoe logo.
Rumah Sanur, To~ko they helped me strengthen my brand image and identify by providing useful feedback and helped me become sustainable.
I really like the strict curation process in To~ko and the feedback they give on products.