Bali’s creative allure is undeniable. Drawing people from across the Indonesian archipelago and the globe, the island has long been a hub of innovation – constantly evolving and always invigorating. In our new series, Island Inspiratif, we talk to authors, artists and entrepreneurs who have made Bali home, and what it is about the island that gets their creative juices flowing. In today’s blog, we chat to social entrepreneur and Founder of FeelGood, Tess Tiaba.
Q. Tess, start by telling us about what you do here in Bali.
I’m a social entrepreneur. In late February this year, I launched a global online boutique called FeelGood with a community of empowered women. Feelgood makes handicraft pyjamas, and we call them Happy Helping Pajamas because we have three commitments: to be stylish, sustainable and helpful to others. Proceeds of sales help us support underprivileged children in Bali get the education they deserve. We support two pre-schools in West Bali and Lodtunduh, funding the school fees of children from families in extreme poverty.
In late June, I helped another community of empowered women to launch the Love Stories Market. It’s a little market with big purpose. A community of artists and change-makers, the market sells handicraft gifts that are both stylish and sustainable. It’s the first of its kind in Bali, we think.
Q. What brought you to Bali in the first place?
In 2016, I shifted my Wall Street career to community service. I accepted a one year volunteer position working in an educational center for underprivileged children in Jakarta. I came to Bali first, to (supposedly) take a relaxing break before the transition. Serendipitously, I met two empowered women running pre-schools. I was touched and inspired by their passion and determination to educate underprivileged children and train teachers to elevate their skills. So I committed to supporting their mission, instead of going to Jakarta.
Q. What is it about Bali that has kept you here?
The way of life in Bali inspires me. Everyday. Balinese people teach me how to patiently slow down and keep calm, how to be content with a minimalist life, and how to be strong and beautiful like them.
Q. What are some tips you’d give to people thinking about basing themselves here for a while?
You get what you give. Here it’s called Karma. You better believe it. If you embrace the local people and talents, culture, and positive attributes, you’ll get the same. If you genuinely express gratitude even for the littlest act of kindness you get each day, you’ll get the same in return.
Glow with the flow. Here’s its called Bali spirit. Yes, the spirit is alive. I speak from experience. Embrace it and watch yourself glow. And grow.
Q. What’s your favorite secret (or not-so-secret) place in Bali?
Love Stories Market. It creates happy connections and conversations with customers, locals and foreigners. We gossip about loving ourselves by creating our own style. About sustainability and loving Mother Nature. About the importance of giving back and not just taking. About cool things to do in Bali. All while you drink the best jamu in town.
Also Warung Siboghana. They have the yummiest local food ever, with no MSG. Their satay mushrooms are heavenly. And they do take away!
You can get in touch with Tess and find out more about FeelGood Bali via firstname.lastname@example.org.