As more of our time is spent watching tutorial videos to keep us entertained (and somewhat productive), it’s unsurprising that personal projects and DIY crafts are growing to become a favoured past-time, one that is actually bringing in the money. We need only look at the rise of independent businesses offering one-of-a-kind, handmade goods; taking the form of beaded necklaces and crocheted bags, to name a few.
Toko Maju, a little gem tucked in an alleyway in Pasar Mayestik, has been welcoming regulars of this kind for over a decade. With its unassuming storefront and compact architecture, the humble craft store is not to be downplayed, as it has been a go-to spot and a word-of-mouth amongst the city’s creative industry; from fashion designers, photographers, and stylists in search of a creative spark.
Inside, the shop stretches into a maze-like layout that takes up two floors, displaying an expansive inventory that covers its entire walls: shelves are stacked high with threads and button boxes, colour coordinated on either side. While trimmings and bundles of zippers hang overhead and within arm’s reach. All is made even more festive with colourful ribbons of varying kinds crowding the tight hallways; sequined, woven, to velvet and satin, leading to a series of rooms with fabric rolls piling high.
At first, it might seem overwhelming to navigate your steps in a store that offers so much, but the shopkeepers are quick to assist as if every detail of the products are drilled into them. When asked about prices, numbers are simply scribbled on paper or uttered from the top of their heads, leaving you to ponder if they’ve just made that up on the spot.
For some, the store might seem claustrophobic. But for others, it very well resembles a land of possibilities. There is a slight thrill of discovery as one wanders around the store, pausing every so often to take a closer look at the assortment of embroideries, beads, and any other curiously-shaped items whilst contemplating what to make with it. But the store’s charm remains to be its unpretentious atmosphere, and in Toko Maju, what you see is what you get.