This year, it’s all about putting things to action and seeing the fruition of labour and preparation come to life for Gitta Amelia. Prestige chats with the brilliant mind behind Secondate, Filmore and Atola.
As a child, Gitta Amelia was curious about everything. She read and experimented from the comfort of her own bedroom and came up with designs and inventions for different products she wished had existed. She had tons of notebooks filled with drawings of the ideas she dreamt up.
Furthermore, growing up in a loving in and open-minded household where she watched her parents build their business from scratch laid out a solid foundation for Gitta’s future. And at the same time, her moral compass was set early on as well: Gitta’s parents would not praise her for getting good grades – despite the fact she was a very good student – but will express their pride whenever she helped a person in need, donated to charity or simply told the truth when speaking up.
Gitta’s formal training was in finance, namely from the Wharton School, and she was infused with the belief that securing lucrative jobs in fields such as investment banking or consulting was the ultimate badge of honour. She underwent multiple internships in banking institutions before she realized that external validation was akin to being on a hamster wheel where one could never fully be satisfied. In a way, Gitta wanted to make optimal use of her time by working from a place where she can focus on the impact of her efforts.
But it wasn’t until a dream one night that convinced Gitta to trust her gut. “I knew that the dream was bringing what was truly in my subconscious all along to the surface,” she recalls. Spurred by this newfound inspiration, Gitta decided to set up her own venture capital practice instead of following a more traditional path. Essentially, she loves the world of finance and how it can fuel innovation. And through venture capital, she was not only able to sharpen her portfolio management skills, but was also able to review over a thousand of different start-ups, from which she gleaned valuable market insights for her own businesses.
Gitta believes that business is a vehicle to bring sustainable impact. It is not the goal, nor it is the destination. The actual goal she focuses on is the impact. Moreover, Gitta doesn’t think that business is anyone’s “forte” – instead, the aptitude for business comes from a combination of macro-skills such as networking, empathy, public speaking, and organization, with micro-skills or specific areas of expertise. “Once we find our micro-skill, we spend the entirety of our lives sharpening our macro-skills,” she points out
The young entrepreneur started a beauty brand called Secondate back in 2020, based on the idea of empowering women to feel beautiful and own their narratives through the power of creative and natural makeup. This year, the drive for empowerment continues as Gitta helped launch a new brand, Filmore. She points out that this was one of her dreams. Through Filmore, she can provide access a clean, hassle-free and sustainable period care that is tailored for Asian women. And there’s also a sustainability angle. The average woman uses between 10,000 to 16,000 pads or tampons in her lifetime, and therefore produces over 5,600 kg of plastic waste as a by-product. Filmore, launched in late January of this year, plans to eliminate a significant chunk of that waste by introducing the first menstrual cup designed specifically for Asian women.
The uptake of menstrual cups, a sustainable alternative to period care, has been slow in Asia because current options available in the market tend to be intimidating and have not been designed with due consideration for the differences in anatomy between Asian women and the majority of women in the Western World. Gitta and her team developed the Girlfriend Menstrual Cup specifically with Asian women in mind, and designed their product with a triangular shape instead of a bell-bottom shape. It’s made of soft medical-grade silicone from Germany for extra flex, and is fully collapsible. Alongside the cup, Filmore has also introduced the Boyfriend Intimate Wet Wipes that is 100-percent biodegradable and contains five organic active ingredients to help the insertion and cleansing of the cup when it needs to be switched out in public bathrooms or places without access to clean water.
Through Filmore’s social media, the company also strives to educate and talk about female health and sex, while lifting the veil surrounding taboo topics. Within a short span after its debut, Filmore has been inundated with positive feedback, with plenty of customers telling how the product has changed their lives for the better. It goes without saying that this warms Gitta’s heart. Although it’s not easy to educate the public on matters of period care in a country where stigmas surrounding female health and hygiene continue to thrive, the brand is confident in the quality of its products. Filmore’s big idea is to create an ecosystem to support women. Currently, the brand’s line-up of future products includes a post-sex intimate area mist to fend off infection, period panties, a gummy to soothe PMS, and even period-stain detergent.
According to Gitta, the most challenging part in building any brand is maintaining relevancy. A brand must feel alive, as if it is a living, breathing person – a best friend, someone you can trust. Gitta addresses these challenges by building up and training her marketing team to spot sentiments and trends, and then connect the dots to see how it can relate to the brand’s market positioning.
Filmore was established under Gitta’s holding company, ATOLA, where she holds the position of CEO. ATOLA manages a number of direct-to-consumer brands along with supporting ventures that put sustainability at its core. To that end, the company aims to boost climate change awareness by encouraging the public to switch out daily products – from food, fashion, beauty and health to household goods – to more sustainable alternatives. By amalgamating resources and sourcing capabilities, ATOLA aims to maximize innovation and commitment towards reducing the overall carbon footprint.
Looking ahead, ATOLA’s next project will be a new brand called Kynd Beauty. Gitta hopes that this new venture can provide an all-new self-care experience that can be enjoyed by everyone of all faiths and religions. For instance, many current nail polish formulations have been found to be cancerous and toxic for the environment, while also being inaccessible to Muslim women. Water-based nail polishes that are currently available, meanwhile, flake easily and tend to be very translucent. Kynd Beauty aims to launch the first water-based nail polish with solid colour technology.
So, with all these newly-launched and soon-to-launch ventures in mind, how does Gitta define success? In short, she sees a brand as successful if it is able to bring like-minded people together and bring positive value into their lives. This value is translated as consumer trust in the quality of goods and services that the brand offers, which in turn will be translated into the price premium the brand can command in the future.
“Towards the end of every year, I reflect on the past year – what I learned from my mistakes and what I could have done better – as well as renew my short-term goals for the year ahead,” Gitta reminisces. “I envision what my professional and personal life would be like in the next five years, and adjust my short-term goals accordingly. I try to maintain a flexible mindset for it is often the serendipities of life that brings us to uncharted territories and exceed our hopes and expectations.”
Photography Eandaru Kusumaatmaja | Styling Safina Harys | Makeup Ami Becks | Hair Rachel Ayu | Assistant Styling Bagoes Abyoso | Digital Imaging Metodius Arfantyo