She has always dreamed of having her own business since she was a child. She even once wrote about her dream of becoming an entrepreneur in a school memorial book. The urge comes from seeing her parents who work as traders and inherited Ghea Anisa with the talent to create or make something to be resold. When finally building a brand of her own, Tiasa, Ghea’s inspiration came from her father who had a stroke and from there she was determined to introduce the value of healthy food to many people through her brand.
GL : Hi Ghea! Thank you for your time. As an opening question, can you tell us the story of how you built Tiasa?
G : Before starting Tiasa, I worked under the marketing and sales division for a well-known e-commerce marketplace and start-up that serve transportation needs via motorbike taxis (motorbikes) in Indonesia, Gojek. In the second year, Gojek gave me the opportunity to become the Head of Gofood (food delivery service from Gojek) in Bandung. This position made me encounter plenty of merchants and dive into the culinary world. I learned various types of foods that are going to sell in the market and which won’t. From there I realized that the culinary business was very interesting, so I decided to start a culinary business named Martabak Mertua and Ayam Madu Si Bangkong with several colleagues. Both of these brands managed to become Top 40 at Gofood Bandung, and I have learned a lot about the culinary business system and management to challenge myself to make my own brand, Tiasa, in July 2019 in Bandung.
GL : Apart from having related work experience, do you have the experience or an interest in the kitchen that ensured you to choose a culinary business?
G : I never call myself a chef because I’m not good at cooking. I prefer to be called “ibu-ibu kantin”. What enabled me to develop all the recipes in Tiasa and my newest brand, Eath Food, is that I love cooking. Starting from my love for cooking, I learned by self-taught. In addition to my hobbies of traveling and eating, the dictionary of flavours on my tongue is varied and quite good. My tongue is very sensitive when I taste a food.
GL : Is there any special meaning behind the name Tiasa?
G : Tiasa in Sundanese means ordinary. According to the original goal of building this brand, I was determined to get people used to consuming healthy foods and the menus we often meet every day. Starting from the devastated feeling of seeing my father having a stroke because of high cholesterol which is closely related to lifestyle, I realized that food can change people’s lives forever. From there, I built 3 big values in Tiasa.
GL : Can you explain the three values that you mentioned?
G : I want to tell many people that eating healthy is not difficult. Home-type foods when using better ingredients including how to process them are sufficient. That’s the first one. And the second one, healthy food does not have to be expensive.
The goal is to make people healthy, if you want to be healthy you have to consume it every day, as often as possible. But when we have to pay too much for it, not everyone can consume it very often, right?
So what’s the point of selling healthy food in that way?
And the last one, Tiasa is open for all people. It doesn’t matter if they are vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, and so on. The most important thing is to get everyone to eat more vegetables.
GL : The most important thing is to get everyone to eat more vegetables. That suits with Tiasa’s campaign, #Eatmoreplants. Is that right?
G : Correct. I don’t want to compartmentalise people, every person’s journey to a healthy life is diverse and cannot be judged equally.
GL : Do you apply a calorie count onto Tiasa’s menus?
G : I get a lot of questions like this and the answer is no. We don’t really focus on the calories of each food, but rather on the value or nutritional content. For me personally, calories aren’t everything. The most important thing is the balance of the life that we live.
GL : Do you live the balance of life that you are talking about?
G : Me and Tiasa are in one direction. I am Tiasa, and Tiasa is me. Since I was a child, I rarely eat meat and love to eat vegetables and herbs from familiar to unique ones such as papaya, bitter melon, and bay leaf tea. In addition to that, I also maintain a balanced life from routine exercise and sleep time, never eat more than 6 in the afternoon, and drink at least 3 liters per day.
GL : In 2020, you also launch a new healthy food brand called Eath Food. Is there a difference in concept between Tiasa and Eath Food?
G : After running Tiasa and opened outlets in two cities namely Jakarta and Bandung, a question arose in my head. Why is healthy food, especially plant based, doesn’t have a good enough market in Bandung. This can be seen from the significant profit comparison between Tiasa Bandung and Jakarta. After I did the research, the awareness level of the people of Bandung is still low, especially millennials. In order to introduce healthy or plant based foods to them early on, Eath Food was born with a more pop, cheerful, and interesting approach than Tiasa. I want to raise awareness in Bandung and break the Bandung market.
GL : In your opinion, what are the prospects for the healthy food industry in the future?
G : Wah, I think it will be something very big because the interest and market for this industry has also started to form, especially in big cities. Many large companies such as Unilever, Ultrajaya Milk Industry, and KFC have also held healthy food competitions. This means a very good thing, that these big companies want to jump in and take part in it. In the next few years, we will see a lot of plant based or vegetarian food everywhere.
GL : For Tiasa and Eath Food, are there any certain goals that are being aimed for the next step?
G : Until now, I prefer to make it personal for the Tiasa and Eath Food brands. I like to manage the management myself, like things as small as replying to DMs on IG that I do myself because I want to get closer to the consumers. The closest business expansion plan is that I want to open new Tiasa branches in several locations while maintaining the existing core values at Tiasa and Eath Food, and invite more people to #Eatmoreplants.