Belajar dari Paskalis Kunang: Membaca Peluang dan Tantangan

Learning from Paskalis Kunang: Reading Opportunities and Challenges

Paskalis Kunang never thought before that he would become a toy artist who was quite popular at home and abroad. If you go back five or six years, he was an ordinary employee at an agency. The days of the man who is familiarly called Kunang are filled with deadlines from the company. However, when his friends often invited him to various art and toy exhibitions, that's where Kunang began to open the door to his new career.

The FSRD graduate of Maranatha Christian University, Bandung, was then interested in exploring character design and trying to create it. Starting from digital design, a feeling of dissatisfaction then encouraged him to create art toys. Unfortunately, at that time he was again dissatisfied, so his first work was never released until now. Kunang also turned to graffiti art but it didn't last long because he found it difficult to find meaning in it. He also returned to the world of art toys. When he was involved in making art toys, Kunang observed that people were crazy about Instagram. According to him, this is an opportunity to market his works to a wider audience. Moreover, from his observations, he saw a big business opportunity from art toys. Abroad, art toys are in great demand, in fact people's purchasing power there is quite high even though the unit price can reach millions of rupiah.

However, Kunang's question is why there are no art activists in Indonesia who are involved in the art toy business. For him, this condition could be a great opportunity and also a challenge. As an opportunity, he could become a big player in this business because there are not too many competitors. Meanwhile, this can also be a challenge because there are no business players in this field, indicating that a sufficient consumer base has not yet been formed.

Even so, Kunang still sees art toys as a promising option. Therefore, he started displaying his works via Instagram using the name Mr. Kumkum as a nickname. That's where he got many customers from abroad. In 2020, he admitted that he could get 20-50 customers per month. Apart from that, offers to collaborate continue to come. He also had the opportunity to hold exhibitions in various countries, such as the United States and Taiwan.

Kunang's smooth journey with art toys cannot be separated from the creative principles he applies. Something like this, "A little bit different is better than a little bit better." He tried to create a new style that no one had ever created. According to Kunang, that is what many people are interested in. In finding the idea, he said, there is no need to be grandiose, it is enough to look at the surrounding environment. If you find concerns there, this can immediately be used as inspiration for ideas. For example, when he was in Jakarta, Kunang felt that this city was like a snake ready to coil around anyone who came. Therefore, he tried to make it happen in an art toy in the shape of a snake. Apart from that, Kunang also tries to explore cross genres in art, which means combining several art genres at once to find an authentic artistic identity.

When faced with a large number of orders from within and outside the country, Kunang made a big decision. He decided to focus on art toys and left his job at the agency. According to him, the more actively he publishes his work on social media, the more requests he receives. However, when he was busy with office matters, interest in his work also dwindled. In short, if you do it half-heartedly, the results will also be half-hearted. Even though his big decision was still shadowed by fear, Kunang still tried to be optimistic and continued to seek validation. The validation that Kunang means is a kind of test market, whether the goods he produces are in demand or not.

The challenges Kunang faces don't stop there. As a beginner in business, he sometimes gets confused about work management, especially when orders are piling up. To gain further knowledge about business, he tried to chat with his former boss and listened to various podcasts. In the future, he hopes to find the right partner to collaborate to advance his business.

From Kunang, many things can be learned, such as reading business opportunities and overcoming all challenges that arise. It could be said, in reading existing opportunities, apart from being creative, observation skills are also very important. We must be sensitive to trends and developments in our fields of interest. The results of these observations should be immediately actualized and validated. In this case, Kunang underlined, if our work has not received a good response from the public, then don't stop immediately. Make it a hobby first and remain consistent until you can find the right moment to market it again.

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