He folded a piece of faux leather neatly. He sewed it slowly, watched every stitch closely. He sometimes glanced outside to the street.
His name is Iwan Mahfud (56 years). He is one of the workers in car upholstery makers, Bekleding Mandiri. It is just one little kiosk in Kebon Sirih Timur Dalam Street, a center of car upholstery makers.
His kiosk is brimmed with various models of car upholstery. Leathers, threads and foam rubbers are scattered everywhere.
Mahfud said making seats was hereditary job in the area. It has been started since 1920. Back then, people made seat for horse wagon. The kiosks were managed in the street in 1960 when Jakarta was ruled under Governor Tjokropranolo.
Mahfud told that some of grandchildren of the upholstery makers had travelled to other cities and even countries to make seats. Their seats are known for its neat finish.
He said that the makers always made the seats based on consumers' demand. Consumers can ask for any fabric, stitch and color. A unit of seat worth 2.5 million IDR for car. They also make motorcycle seat for 75,000 IDR.
They need at least three days to complete a unit. Mahfud admits that sometimes he has no customer for a month. He also has to compete with other 20 upholstery makers in the area. But he promises that he open to any complaint from his customers.