All I remember about Eiger-Indonesia is they are probably the early player for producing outdoor gears mainly backpacks. I never actually try them out as I could not afford the price, or not really put attention on the functions when I was starting this passion.
So when Heni contacted me to ask an article published in CeritaAmbar blog to appear on their bimonthly newsletter, well it's a sweet surprise.
Talking about Outdoor Shops in Indonesia, I have vague memory. It was dingy, dark, dusty and even rusty. Location's wise also a bit problem. Most of the shop is just small corner one which is adequate for retail. But the interior really freak me out. There weren't enough light that allow me to see details of the gears, also the way they were arrange the items seems not really good in division. Either mis-match nor understand the function of each gear.
Most shop also have few stocks, specially if you are living outside big cities like Jakarta, Bandung or Surabaya. You will also encounter some fake products, like The North Face or some fancy Berghaus. In the past, Indonesia used to be off-shore production of big company. In recent years, most of those move to Vietnam due cheap materials and labour cost.
The only chance to get a good deal was using the 'insider man' to gather rejected export gears -product couldn't pass quality control to been bought in bulk. It's usually have some minor problems, sometime not significant. To get better deal, you have to understand what you are looking for. That's what small retail do, by selling rejected items, selling again for a good amount of profit.
The victim here is end-customer, people have few or no experiences for choosing a right gear. Because the shop's attitute not helping you dealing with many choices or finding the ones that fit with you. Another problem is lack of education about the gear itself (or to be precise lack of will from some people to share their knowledge about this). When I was in highchool hiking club, there was zero conversation or lesson about gears. How to choose a good backpacks, what boots that suit to tropical country like Indonesia, what jacket that we should wear etc.
Outdoor gear is not cheap, some of those cost millions of rupiahs probably about third of average people's salary. It's regards as a big investment, specially when you are starting advanced outdoor activities. The newest products always have a better technology that allow adventurer cope with the challenges. In Indonesia to buy these products need second or third thought, especially when you have limited options.
My experience in Nepal where you'll find fake gears as easy as find a cup of chai that sometimes we have to lower our expectation. But if comes to safety, I wouldn't dare. My dream about outdoor shops in Indonesia would be like fashion retail just what North Face did in foreign outlets. More hip, with knowledge to help customer for better size or color, have a trial mode indoor to allow you playing with boots and sandals.
Other experience in USA when I bought backpack for Everest Base Camp trekking is another good sample. My body is pretty small, petite Indonesian. It will problem to find backpacks that fit with length of my upper body. When I arrived in REI, I already have list of brands to try out. Well, I ended up have to try the ones that available on store. An assistant helped me to fit it and put enough weight to see how its works. He allowed me to wear backpack up-down the stairs, walking trough flat terrain inside the shops for more than 30-40 minutes. The experiences and expertise that I couldn't get in Indonesia.
Yes some products can be buy online though. But some can't. Product that you never buy before or don't know the size as each brand having their own measurement. (if you notice, some brand follow US or UK/Europe size chart depend on their home based). I bought Berghaus jacket online which was OK because most of close family know the quality. Adventures backpacks and boots are different. They have to fit with our anatomy which is different for everybody. We're all unique.
I'm really wish Eiger Indonesia would bring a light for new concept of outdoor shop. As a home brew gear producer, Eiger and others company should be fully supported. We should proud that we actually made our own with our design. I knew some of their products from catalogue and some of them looks great. Eiger should evolve and change into hippier shops. (I would not say as trendier as sometime this would sacrifice the quality) and making outdoor activities is more kind a hobby for any range of ages or social class. Rather than believe an old myth that hiking or climbing is highskol pursuit.
Again thanks for Eiger Indonesia. And please keep it up!