Stephen Lucas from VOYEJ. (photo courtesy of Stephen Lucas)

Over the past decade, VOYEJ is arguably one of the leading leather goods brands that emerged and is always active in Indonesia. Recently, they were celebrating their tenth anniversary by collaborating with many local brands, one of which is Public Culture. The collaboration with VOYEJ is one of the anticipated ones this year. 

Thus, we are curious enough to ask some questions; not only about the collaboration but also about VOYEJ itself. Therefore, we directly contacted Stephen Khrisna Lucas, one of the important figures behind VOYEJ during their existence so far. We talked about the issue of “Stronger Together” which became the main fuel for this collaboration and the influence of VOYEJ on the development of local leather goods.

How was the initial idea of collaboration between VOYEJ and brands, including Public Culture, this year?

The initial idea was in early 2020. We wanted to try an initiative which is arguably quite ambitious to develop something when celebrating a 10th anniversary. We want it to be massive, because it looks like the last 2-3 years before the pandemic we were too deep in our comfort zone. Because for us the 10-year celebration is something quite sacred, even before the pandemic entered, we have already planned to collaborate with many brands that have both raised the local industry.

Speaking of collaborators, why did VOYEJ choose these names? Is there a special reason?

The red thread is of course, something sentimental and personal for our brand. We believe that these collaborators have had a story and an intersection of the journey with us.

“Stronger 2021 Together” is the main theme of this collaboration. What is the background?

Looking back on what happened in 2020, it seems that all of us must have experienced hardship and uncertainty when it comes to running a brand. We also got lost within our path, but we tried to easily adapt to that difficult time and the spirit that we brought as the background of our theme. We wanted to invite the collaborators collectively and rebuild themselves after the uncertainty of 2020.

What does “stronger together” mean for VOYEJ itself?

Usually, a person becomes stronger after facing difficult and challenging situations. That’s how we felt in 2020; We want to bring the spirit to survive so that in 2021 and beyond, we can be stronger in facing other situations and sustain together with others.

Was there an interesting process during the manufacturing and processing process?

Aligning one vision from a total of 9 brands is challenging. But because internally we have the ultimate goal and the same commitment in this project, so doing it, feels fun.

In your opinion, how is the result of this collaboration, in regards to the product?

In general, there are a lot of distinct final outputs and it manages to showcase the uniqueness of the collaborators in the VOYEJ product. For the PC itself, the “fun” and “playful” directives were created to make a product that is very different and certainly has its own appeal compared to the others.

Celebrating 10 years of VOYEJ, how do you see yourself walking for the past 1 decade?

It’s been a hell-o-decade journey for sure. We have had a lot of experience over the past decade, honestly speaking; if the comparison between good and bad experiences, it might be said to be 50:50. Many say that a brand can be said to be sustainable when it is 10 years old, we hope that we can make this sentence happen & not just a metaphor.

What are you grateful for over the past decade as a brand? Are there any dreams that haven’t been fulfilled yet?

What we are grateful for for the past decade is that we have fellow voyagers (called VOYEJ customers) who have supported us from day one, those who have shared the journey with us. Their trust in our brand is what we are most grateful for. We can slowly realize our dream/brand milestone organically. Btw, we do love organic growth. If it’s a dream that hasn’t been fulfilled, we have to learn a lot from PC to grow & maintain an overseas presence.

In your opinion, how is the influence of VOYEJ as a leather goods brand on the local leather goods scene?

In an optimistic view, we believe that VOYEJ’s influence can make many brands / crafters / home productions that have a core in leather crafting even more daring to make something. “If VOYEJ can do it, why can’t we?” Maybe that simple question is what we can say as a sum-up of our influence on the local leather goods scene.