It’s not every day that we could see Putri, Mita and Dita Soedarjo all together in one room. The three sisters are daughters of entrepreneurs Soetikno Soedarjo and Dian Muljadi. Each of these young women holds an important position in the family business, Mugi Rekso Abadi. The MRA Group’s interests span five sectors – media, lifestyle and entertainment, F&B, automotive and property – and include such illustrious brands as Bulgari, Ferrari and Bang & Olufsen.
Putri: Making a Silent Statement
Putri leads MRA Group’s retail division from day to day. She is in charge of Bulgari jewellery and Bang & Olufsen audio and video products. “When I joined the family business in 2014, I had no operational experience in the luxury industry. But I have always been able to grasp how businesses work as I used to look into companies across sectors for investment deals,” says 32-year-old Putri. She had spent more than five years at a top private equity firm in Jakarta after graduating from University of Southern California with a business degree, majoring in finance and marketing.
“My financial services background gave me a good starting point for my responsibilities at MRA Group,” says Putri. “I learned about
the family company by studying its financial operations. From there, it’s been a daily learning process for me.” Three years on, Putri has developed a strong knowledge of luxury products and an affinity for her job.
Putri thinks of jewellery as “a way to communicate” that allows her to “make a statement without saying a word”. She admits that Bulgari, just like every other company in the sector, is feeling the impact of the global economic slump that has hit the luxury industry. She remains optimistic, however. “It takes effort, especially for the high-ticket collections,” she says.
Putri is married to digital media entrepreneur Armando Siahaan. They have two-year-old twins. Putri starts her day at 5:30 every morning. Early rising allows her both to hit the gym and spend at least an hour with her children before she goes to work. After office hours, she goes straight home to see her children before they go to bed. “I think the fact that I manage my time well enables me to balance work with family life,” she explains. “I have a routine of setting reminders for myself, even for small things like buying fresh milk.”
Her sense of discipline makes Putri a role model for her two younger sisters. Says 29-year-old Mita: “Putri and I went to St. Mary’s Anglican Girls School in West Australia, and then we moved to the US together for college. We spent most of our teenage years together and shared many experiences. Putri always sets a good example and shows me what to do next in my life.”
Mita: Inspired by Motherhood
Mita has followed in Putri’s footsteps on her professional path. After graduating from University of South California, she worked for
global media and marketing services company Mindshare before joining the family company. Her experience in the media industry has led her to focus on the all-important advertising sales side of MRA’s successful magazines, including the Indonesia editions of Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar.
Now, she is a working mother. “I thought it would be hard for me to get back into the working life rhythm after three months of being a stay-at-home mother. But it turns out, motherhood has inspired me to be more responsible,” Mita says. “I was not a morning person before, but since Jemma came along I wake up early every day and I don’t mind it. I like spending time with her in the morning before going off to work.”
Mita credits her husband, the lawyer and singer Maruli Tampubolon, for easing the adjustment process as a working mother. “He has more flexible working hours than me and he’s been really good at taking care of Jemma,” she says. “Also, he’s very calm. Although he’s a new father, he doesn’t panic in handling different situations with the baby. He gets it all under control, and that’s a very good influence for me. He’s a very active person and he motivates me to be active as well. He’s juggling many things – from law cases to music gigs – and it shows me that marriage is not an excuse for someone to stop living life to the fullest.”
Dita: Enthusiast Philanthropist
Putri and Mita still think of Dita, 26, as their little sister and “forever baby girl”. “There’s quite an age gap between us and Dita. She’s always been the one with high spirits,” Mita says. Asked for her best sisterhood memory, Dita reminisces about her college days in Los Angeles, where her sisters would visit her. “I missed home a lot, so it was always good fun when they came for a visit,” she says. “We would go on culinary adventures and hang out with each other all the time.”
Living in LA taught Dita the meaning of sharing. She did volunteer work for children there. When she came home to Indonesia, children’s charity work remained at the top of her mind. Dita is one of the initiators of Let’s Share, a charity that focuses on education and healthcare. In the last 18 months, the initiative has benefited children in Panti Asuhan Dorkas, a shelter for street children in Pejaten, South Jakarta, and at an early learning centre in Cilincing. They also raise funds to pay for operations for children with cataracts and cleft palates.
“Next month, we are providing cataract surgery for 50 children and cleft palate surgery for another 20,” Dita says. “To raise funds, we are setting up a photo exhibition featuring some of Indonesia’s most influential figures. So far, we have photographed Eyang Habibie (former President B.J. Habibie), Addie MS, Anies Baswedan and more.”
Although the three sisters don’t meet each other every day, they maintain a very close relationship. “There is never a day that goes by without us talking to each other,” Mita says. “We have a sisters’ chat group where we share photos. Funnily enough, we’ve actually grown closer since we don’t live together anymore. Maybe because we cherish each other’s presence more now that we don’t meet every day.”
Dita describes Putri as “someone with strong determination and discipline.” She goes on to say that those traits are apparent even in the smallest of things, like the healthy eating habit that Putri swears by. To Mita, Dita is always full of surprises. “In a good way, though!” she laughs.
For Putri, their sisterhood is a lifelong relationship. Despite everything, they stick together. “We need each other, we piss each other off, we borrow each other’s things and don’t return them, we are proud of each other, we help each other, we support each other, we talk bad
about each other, we gossip with each other,” Putri laughs. “Also, we gossip about each other!”
Read the full story in the November 2016 issue of Prestige Online. Subscribe to firstname.lastname@example.org to never miss out on latest issues.
Photography: Robby Agus
Fashion Direction: Peter Zewet
Styling: Koko Namara
Hair: Kiefer Lippens
Makeup: Slam Wiyono