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An Introduction Post: Getting to Know Your Shopkeeper :)

Hello, everyone! I’m Hanny, your shopkeeper at Cafe Analog 🙂

I know we have just met (or, for many of you—haven’t met), so I think it’s fitting to do an introduction post here—like knocking on your neighbor’s door to introduce yourself when you just moved in; or something like that 😀 Some of you have also posted some questions for me on Instagram, so I was thinking, why not do it all in a Q&A style—and give a chance for you to know me better?

Q: Well, for a start, who are you, and what brought you to the Netherlands?

A: Hello, I am Hanny. I am an Indonesian and moved to Amsterdam three years ago—after getting married. It was probably the worst time to move into the vibrant, free-spirited, and lively Amsterdam because not long after the pandemic hit and the lockdown started.

My husband Daniele is Italian, but he has a business here and has been living here for quite some time.

Fun fact: most Dutch people think Daniele is a woman’s name, so he got addressed as Mevrouw most of the time!

Q: What is your background? Have you ever run a webshop before? Have you always been working in this industry?

A: Actually, no. This is my first time running a ‘real’ webshop, and I am a bit nervous! 

I used to work as a Creative Director in a communications consultancy in Jakarta, Indonesia—working with multinational companies and government organizations (indeed, a corporate person!). 

When I hit 30, I decided to quit my job and be a location-independent freelancer. I thought it was the right time to try. I was ‘young’ enough to fail—but experienced enough to navigate the professional world independently.

Since then, I have consulted sustainable hospitality businesses on their communications and marketing strategies—and found my love for creative journaling. Several communities and brands found me through my blog, Instagram, or mutual contacts and invited me to conduct creative and journaling workshops. I enjoyed facilitating these workshops but never thought it could lead to something bigger or more serious.

Fun fact: Together with a colleague, I used to be a pre-wedding photo/videographer.

I am also a writer (children’s books, short stories, essays, magazine articles, poetry, and self-help books). This was how I knew Windry R. (or @beingfaye)—who draws the most wonderful girls and becomes a collaborator, partner, and friend of Cafe Analog. 

Windry and I knew each other from an online writing group back in 2007, and a few years later, we had the same publisher. So it was such a wonderful surprise when I realized that she is the woman behind the ever-so-popular Cafe Analog’s girl stickers! 

Fun fact: Faye in @beingfaye is the name of the woman protagonist in Windry’s novel, “Orange”—which I love!)

Q: How did you end up running Cafe Analog?

A: It was Daniele’s idea to contact Desiree—when I told him the news that Desiree needed to step back from Cafe Analog. Things felt like a dream from that moment on—in a sense that I couldn’t believe what would happen next. 

Running such a well-established webshop like Cafe Analog was not something I (or Daniele) had planned for our lives, but after meeting Desiree and Thijs, everything clicked. It just feels right. Everything moves so fast and so seamlessly. Suddenly, here we are, feeling like we are blessed with the trust and patience of Desiree, Thijs, and the Cafe Analog community, to continue Desiree’s legacy. 

Q: What do you think is your biggest challenge, and how do you deal with it? (a question from Goedele, on Instagram)

 A: My biggest challenge, I think, is to be okay with the imperfection when we start running Cafe Analog—and to accept that we can’t avoid stumbling, making mistakes, or trying to grasp new things, terms, and processes. We need to deal with it, evaluate, learn from our mistakes and keep things up to speed while improving our procedures.

Desiree and Thijs have built such a solid, fantastic business and a much-cherished legacy, so we definitely feel the pressure to live up to that (although everyone has been so kind and understanding!!!). However, we also keep reminding ourselves that this is our first time running such a loved webshop and soothe-talk ourselves to take things one step at a time. 

So, yes, the biggest challenge is to maintain the cherished legacy of Cafe Analog while also being compassionate with ourselves and allowing some room to get there at our own (learning) pace 🙂 

Q: What will change with Cafe Analog now that you’re running it?

A: Well, some things will stay the same. We’ll still provide curated high-quality stationery items, support women-led studios/designers and female artists worldwide, and build a kind, supportive, and encouraging journaling/creative community. We’ll still have your stationery box, rental box, and stationery cafe 🙂

However, we’re also curious about what we can do for Cafe Analog and contribute our touch here and there. We have some fresh ideas and initiatives for the coming months, but let’s keep them for another post, okay? 🙂

Q: Have you always loved stationeries?

A: There were only a few places where my late mother and I didn’t argue: the bookstores, California Fried Chicken joints (considered such a treat back then!), and the stationery stores. 

There were only so many stationery stores in my hometown back in the 90s. We had ABC and Dumbo in Chinatown—where they carried Japanese and Korean stationeries with soft pastel colors and beautiful characters that transported you to somewhere fluffy and warm. The rest are school supply stores that offer practical stuff like pens, notebooks, and rulers sans cuteness, beauty, and wonder (at least, that’s how I viewed them back then). 

I have always loved stationeries, paper bits, journals with locks, notebooks with beautiful colors, and funny-shaped erasers that smelled like bubble gums. I couldn’t wait for the beginning of the school year when my mother would take me to stationery stores, and we would choose notebooks, pens, pencils, wallets, notepads, and binders together—she had just as much fun as I did. 

For a split second in our existence, we’re marveling at the beautiful worlds of pastel-colored stationeries: a world of delight in a small, dark, and overfilled store next to the sidewalk; crammed with street food stalls and surrounded by frustrated passengers and drivers inside the city transport vans that were trapped in traffic jams. 

Our stationery store visits were one of those memories of us I cherish. The times when I felt like we somehow bonded: not so much as mother and daughter—with their quarrels and disagreements on living life, but just two women geeking over the same thing that made their heart flutter, something that made them forget who they are, how they should present themselves to fit in, and how they should live their expected roles in society. 

I guess writing in my journals, setting up my planners, or organizing my stationery supplies has always been my way to remember—as much as to forget. 

Fun fact: my hometown, Bogor—used to be called ‘Buitenzorg’ by the Dutch 🙂 This is because my hometown is located next to the capital, Jakarta (back then called ‘Batavia.).

Q: When did you start journaling, and how did you develop your style? (a question from Merel, on Instagram)

A: I started my first journal when I was 5 or 6 years old—when my mother bought me a diary with a lock. It was a wonderful feeling to think I had a locked secret ‘place’ to write down everything I thought or felt. I loved hearing the click-click of the mini padlock when I shut the diary, and I wore the key as a necklace. It made me feel so grown-up! 

I have never stopped journaling since then. I also write a post on my blog about why I write/journal—if you are interested 🙂

I developed my style by journaling a lot—and trying new things. I was once into romantic-classic style, then moved to a more playful/childish style, collage style, then symmetrical and minimalist—I love trying things and combining supplies, seeing what will come out of it. I always tell myself not to be too rigid and play a lot—to get out of my comfort zone and find the magic I won’t see otherwise.

Today, if I can describe my journaling style in three words, I think they are: playful, colorful, and symmetrical. 

I love combining high-end stationery supplies or products from my favorite designers/artists with scraps of paper, packaging labels, or other ‘found’ ephemera. There’s something fun in combining the old and new, the cheap and cherished, the neat and the wrinkled! 

Q: Your blog and your Instagram handle are called ‘beradadisini’. What and why is that?

A: Beradadisini (berada di sini), means ‘being here’ in Indonesian. Today, I think it’s a great reminder to be here—wherever that is, online or offline; and to be present. I believe journaling about my days is also a way for me to do that: be here, and be present. 

If you’d like to know the whole story, though, I will leave you with a link to an interview with Cheri Lucas, the editor of WordPress, when she asked me about the name beradadisini. You can read the full interview here 🙂

Q: How else do you enjoy your analog time, apart from journaling?

A: I love cooking! Mostly Indonesian food, but also some Italian dishes now. I also like making digital illustrations and painting with watercolors, gouache, or acrylics. I enjoy making wonky plates and incense holders with air-dry clay and creating ‘found’ poetries by putting together random words cut out from old books or magazines. I love window-shopping for beautiful product packaging and snuggling in bed while reading a novel. I also love slow traveling. I mean, reaaally slow 😀

Q: What would be one of your first moves for Cafe Analog now that you’re taking over? What can we expect soon?

A: Well, it started with the e-book of Cafe Analog’s journaling/creative challenge, #CAProjectMe23—and then Cafe Analog’s Youtube channel will follow soon! (Please subscribe and hit the notification bell if you want to watch our videos! We may post something in the next few days!). 

We will also post more regularly on the blog (expect some love letters now and then from Desiree, our Fairy Godmother—and some snippets of her journals and creative journeys!). 

For the rest, I guess we’ll need to wait and watch! 🙂 

Our priority this week (or month!) is to ensure that we have a grip on the daily/operational stuff—and the most important one is to package and send your orders smoothly and neatly! So, we must take other things a bit slower while learning the ropes. 

We are trying hard to learn as much as we can, as fast as we can 😀

Fun fact: Yesterday (Jan 9th) was our first day running Cafe Analog. Thankfully, our Fairy Godmother paid a visit to help us out! 

Q: What do you enjoy the most about running Cafe Analog? (a question from Anna, on Instagram)

A: I just looove my role as a shopkeeper! To enter the ‘shop’ in the morning and say hello to all the stationery supplies—picking up products you order, writing notes, and cleaning the shop at the end of the day before closing it 🙂 It feels like a ritual! I also love planning new things and initiatives for the shop and being on the lookout for the upcoming female artists/designers we’d like to collaborate with! It must feel amazing to bring your favorite artist’s products to life!

And the cherry on top: meeting you at Stationery Cafe!!!

That’s the highlight of everything, I guess! I am still overwhelmed by how kind and supportive Cafe Analog customers and community are! I am always smiling when I see or reply to your messages! 🙂

Love,

Hanny

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