May Farida shares with Edith Emeralda about how following one’s heart and facing challenges with a strong support system lead to a well-lived, successful life
May Farida is expanding her wings towards her passions in life
Meandering through life’s twists and turns, May Farida first joined hands with her husband to open an automotive business following his hobby. “We found a really good auto product from Germany that would sell well in the market,” May says. “So we decided to become its distributor here and opened Hurricane Indonesia in 1994.” Although now the company has more than 100 products, its main business is still focused on its performance booster products.
Helped by her background in public relations, especially during hard times following the Asian financial crisis, Hurricane grew to be a trusted brand. “There are many competitors out there, but we have good products, a satisfying guarantee and good customer service that they could trust,” says May. Today, the company has reached almost all big cities in the archipelago from Jakarta to Medan, Makassar, Papua and many other cities—also present to an extent in Malaysia and Singapore—filling demands to improve the performance of motorcycles and cars.
Along the way, May learned from her husband to stay focused and strong, while her spiritual mentor reminds her to anchor all hopes to the One above and to never forget to stay humble when success has been achieved. Another arm of support she receives is from her mother who: “Always encourages me whenever I feel down to never give up my dream,” says May. As a result, from life’s challenges she conquered, May is able to remain grateful and to always grow with those around her in the One above.
A major turn was in 2014 when May seized the moment to open a fine-dining Indonesian restaurant in the then-quiet Pantai Indah Kapuk area. “I’d never actually thought about opening a restaurant,” says May, “But I wanted to spread my love for good Indonesian food, which turned out to be a success.” Enter Pala Adas, which, back then, addressed the gap in the area for a restaurant that serves Indonesian food in such a conceptualised setting.
May has everything envisioned down to each small detail, such as the custom-order cage-shaped lighting fixtures that became Pala Adas’ signature. While the first floor is decidedly more Indonesian with its wooden materials and warm exposed bricks, the second floor is more modern with lighter colours and many mirrors including in its spacious private rooms. As for the menu, it includes May’s favourite duck, among others, served with just enough of a green chili kick not to burn the buds now perfected in her trusted chef.
The duck, however, will not be going around by means of franchise as May prefers to keep a closer watch on the food and service qualities. Instead, a branch will follow once Pala Adas’ standard is strong—perhaps in either South Jakarta or in Bumi Serpong
Damai, as others close to her have gladly suggested for its location. “Other than to have trust, [a] business also needs to have chemistry between the partners in the journey to grow together,” says May. “Building and maintaining a brand is full of struggles that require undivided attention and effort.”
Her love of Indonesia extends to beautiful designs and quality products, which led to her penchant for collecting pieces by local designers. Among the many talents are those such as Yogie Pratama, Sebastian Gunawan, Didiet Maulana, Yosep Sinudarsono, Michelle Worth, and Stella Rissa. From there, friendship grew and opportunities arose—with Barli Asmara, for example, who has been a good and supportive friend for five years. However, May dreams to contribute more to Indonesia’s fashion scene beyond collecting clothes.
“I’ve always dreamed of entering the fashion world, but it seemed unreachable on my own,” May says. “Barli, luckily, shared the same vision with me, so we partnered up for Mfxbarliasmara, which just launched its first collection for the Chinese New Year early in February at Pala Adas.” The results are limited-edition cheongsams blended from May’s taste of simple cuts and Barli’s signature of beautiful details that saw positive reviews, especially from invitees in the Pantai Indah Kapuk area.
Moving forward, they plan to collaborate more on collections based on special occasions, such as the upcoming Kartini Day, and perhaps to open a store. “I like challenges and when I dream to do something, I necessitate myself to pursue and to achieve that goal,” May says at the end of our talk. “In the end, success is not about material possession but what we contribute to others and that we have a good character.”
“Barli, luckily, shared the same vision with me, so we partnered up for Mfxbarliasmara, which just launched its first collection for the Chinese New Year early in February at Pala Adas.”