Almost 75 years have passed since husband and wife, Somadi Kasigit and Niniek Elia Kasigit initiated an enterprise, which is now known as Batik Semar. The decision came after their first year of marriage, with the opening of a home based hand-waxed batik business, originally called Batik Bodronoyo.
The name Bodronoyo or widely known as Semar came from the Javanese wayang mythology, a representation of wisdom and sincerity in serving others. In Javanese culture, Semar has widely accepted as a symbol for sustenance to growth and prosperity. The unique name choice discerns Kasigit family's vision to continue to share and inspire others.
The still young family business however ran counter into serious hardships due to the critical economic condition of the newly independent nation following to Japanese occupation. With soaring price of fabrics at that time, the Kasigit had to give their best efforts to evolve the small batik initiative.
In 1949 they had to face extreme adversity caused the Dutch military agression, forcing them to flee to Surabaya. During their refuge in East Java, Surabaya, they collaborated with a batik entrepeneur from Sidoarjo to introduce Solo batik patterns accross the region.
In 1950 they returned to Solo to redevelop their own business. They started with five employees and expands into a company with some 200 employees in the 1960s. The new name of Batik Semar was oficially introduced in 1966, considering that the name is far more popular than Bodronoyo.
In the 1970s, textile technology began to develop in Indonesia. The use of printing machine has lowered the production cost and revolutionised batik into a mass-product. The market demands batik for a lower price, this condition also affected Batik Semar which must adapt their strategies in order to stay ahead in the market competition.
Aside from continuosly cultivating hand-made batik processes, Batik Semar also established Semar Mas Garment as a sub-company which specialise in producing ready to wear garment to cater for the needs of the ever expanding market. Expansion to international market began in 1989 or six years after Somadi Kasigit passed away, Batik Semar started to export batik and handicrafts to the United States, Europe and several Asian countries.
In 2002, Batik Semar experienced another trial, this time a fire incident which destroyed the main company's showroom and batik production workshop complex. The residence of Niniek Kasigit was also hit by the fire and the collection of antique batik also went up in flames. Today Batik Semar has about 30 in-house batik crafters and more than 30 plasma spreading across Surakarta, Cirebon, Pekalongan and Madura. The Batik Semar family is now consiting of approximately 700 employees and with 50 outlets reaching costumers nationwide.
Batik Semar is available at CENTRAL Grand Indonesia and Neo Soho, Men's Area.