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Aamron+Yuwono%2C+Co-founder+and+Manager
Aamron Yuwono, Co-founder
and Manager

Co-Founder Amron Yuwono
of Gecko Gecko

Imagine a place where all the treasures and pieces of art that you came across during your travels in Asia and wished you could keep were all housed. A reminder of a distant place, of fond memories and beauty that can only be found in the East. Welcome to Gecko Gecko – your destination to find all the artwork from Asia you wish you had but never able to bring back. Amron Yuwono, Co-Founder and Manager, is fortunate to find a profession that allows him to fuse business with lifestyle and passion. Flying from destination to destination in Asia, Amron handpicks the exciting items you will find in Gecko Gecko. Don’t expect to find the touristy, mass-produced items in his store. Each piece is unique and captures the personality of the area or region it came from. Learn more about Amron, Gecko Gecko and his love for art and business as we feature him in this week’s Young & Professional Profile.

Company

Gecko Gecko, Home of Indonesian & Asian Art
Jogja Village Inn (Dusun)

Founded

Gecko Gecko (2004) & Jogja Village Inn (1995)

Website

www.geckogecko.biz
www.jvidusun.co.id

Name

Amron Paul Yuwono, Co-Founder and Manager

Hometown

Yogyakarta, Central Java Island, Indonesia

Current residence

San Francisco, California

Education

Miss Marty’s Beauty & Hair Design School, Cosmetology, 2004;
San Francisco Hospitality Management Training Institute, Hotel Management, 2002;
Oral Roberts University, Telecommunications (emphasized in Drama-TV-Film) Fine Arts, 1989

Work Experience

Gecko Gecko, Co-owner & Manager (2004-present);
Jogja Village Inn (Dusun), Founder/ Designer/ Creative Director/ Int’l Rep Mngr (1995-present);
Indonesian News Channel, News Anchor and Creative Director (2005);
Academy Of Art University, SF, International Student Liaison & Resident Housing Mngr (2000-2002);
SF Residence Club, Night Manager (1998-2000);
Vagabond Int’l Youth Hostel, Owner & Manager, (1990-1998);
Sobek Mountain Travel & Wilderness Tour, Tour Leader & Host (1990-1995);
Bali Bounty Restaurant & Club, Public Relations (1989).

Ethnicity

Indonesian

About the company

Gecko Gecko is more than just a store. It is my home, a home of Indonesian and Asian Art. It is overflowing with items I collect when I travel some of which are only for guests to enjoy, and some of which are available for guests to purchase. Many of the items are original and old, though people will also find new items, including reproductions, accessories, jewelry, fashion, wayang puppets, masks, batiks, sarongs, wood carvings, bronze, silver and stone carvings. A place where anyone can find that something unique in any budget.

Most notable milestones

– Honorable Mention in Art Jury Show in Tulsa, Oklahoma 1988;
– Best Supporting Actor Nomination, “Snoopy The Musical”, Tulsa Oklahoma 1988;
– First Place, Hotel & Garden Design, Yogyakarta, Indonesia 1996;
– Sahwali Award (an internationally recognized award for business environmental awareness by NGO IEMIC (Indonesian Environmental Management and Information Center) in 1997

What’s the niche?

It is more than just a business; it is a matter of lifestyle and passion. I travel and handpick almost all my items. I generally stay away from the tourist junk and mass-production stuff. Since I am in the art, culture and dance community in Indonesia, I can find original and “different” items from my circle of friends. Some of them are my own talented friends’ works or something belonging to my friends. You will definitely find that many of the items at the gallery have character, feeling and the spirit of whoever owned it before or whoever created it. They have their own little or big history. I myself often find it hard to let go, and end up not selling it.

What’s the biggest challenge?

Financial and manpower, for sure. It is very expensive to be creative in the US, so I have to always find a way to create something out of all these raging ideas with the minimal cost. I am more of the artist. My business partner is the total opposite. It is not the easiest thing to find a common ground when it comes to what to do, what to buy and what to sell in the store. But we need each other.

What’s in store for the future?

I would love to see Gecko Gecko become a home for those artists who have connections with the Asian world by hosting and exhibiting their works or talents monthly.

Also, I’d like to provide a center of art and culture not only for Indonesia but for other countries in Asia.

Who would you like to be contacted by?

– Chip Conley, the founder of Joie de Vivre, for his excellent knowledge of the hospitality & tourism business.
– Angelina Jolie, for her amazing love of children in the world. I am helping a friend of mine here in the US who is trying to help bring the most talented children in Bali for the International Children Festival 2007 in the US. I made a short documentary about this called ARMA Children. Most of these children are coming from much less fortunate conditions than we have in this country. A young couple, Mr. and Mrs. Agung Rai, gathered them and gave them free dance schooling taught by the Balinese Master Dancers. This has kept the real traditions alive in the younger generations, and it also gets these children off the street. I think this is a very great concept and needs to be exposed and appreciated more. Of course, like everything else, financial backing is always the major problem. I am hoping to speak to someone like Angelina who can understand the dreams of those children.
– Robin Williams, for his witty and “always make people laugh” mood.
– Sharon Stone, for her down to earth nature and caring for what is going on in the world. I know that she has much interest in our art & culture of Indonesia.
– Oprah Winfrey, for her great efforts to help many needy people.
– Of course, San Fracisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom

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Best way to keep a competitive edge

  • I am trying my best to be as active as I can in the art and culture community.
  • Stay in touch with people in the arts community and keep making my networking circle wider and wider everyday.
  • Read and ask questions
  • Last but not least, go to shows and exhibitions whenever I can.
  • I keep my collections fresh and unique.

    Guiding principle in life

  • Believe in karma, what goes around comes around, whatever you want to call it.
  • Be happy and keep smiling.
  • Have a belief and a goal, but be open and flexible at the same time.

    Yardstick of success

    Find your passion and do what you love to do! Then find the balance between your passion and practical needs, to enjoy it while surviving.

    Goal yet to be achieved

    Be able to educate people about the high quality of Asian Art, especially here in the West. One day I would like to be an ambassador of the art and culture of Indonesia to the world.

    Unite people all over the world through art.

    Find an investor who believes in my talents and in me. Someone who loves art & culture as well. Someone who is adventure enough to live and establish a business here in the West and Asia and be comfortable living in two worlds.

    Best practical advice

  • Respect others by respecting yourself.
  • Be honest to others and yourself.
  • Know what you want.
  • Don’t be afraid to dream, but know how to wake up, too.

    Supportive words from a family member or friend on your venture

    “Bali has always been on my favorite list of places to visit. The picture on your monitor seems so surreal–as if you’re stepping back in time into a land of utopia. I always have a strong fascination for Indonesian art and culture, and your store seems to carry a good representation of it.” – Ben Connelly.

    “Amron has an amazingly wonderful eye for detail…anyone who has ever visited his family’s boutique hotel called the Jogja Village Inn in the historic Central Javanese city of Jogyakarta will attest to Paul’s artistry. Every little detail of that magical hotel speaks of Paul’s keen eye for the Javanese decorative arts. Paul really is a master of “architectural” accents. His collection combines the weight and good taste of grand antiques, traditional handcrafted works and whimsical, contemporary ASEAN pop art. Anyone visiting Paul and Bill’s gallery just outside of San Francisco will be blown away by its opulence, grandeur and knock-dead gorgeous things for the home. Go there with someone you love!” – Sharon S.

    Mentor(s) and why?

    Friends, family and enemies – they are my mentors! There is always something I can learn from each one of them.

    What motivated you to get started?

    If I have to be married to my job to survive here in the US, I might as well find something I like to do.

    Like best about what you do?

    Traveling on buying trips, meeting interesting people & artists, learning about art, culture, people and life in general.

    Like least about what you do?

    Budgeting and staffing! Basically anything to do with financial and accounting stuff!

  • At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

    I wanted to be an actor, dancer and psychologist.

    What was your first job?

    Worked in the kitchen at one of the Marriott establishments when I was in college in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Biggest pastime outside of work

    Go out with my friends, watch movies and listen to music.

    Leader in business most interested in meeting and why?

    Chip Conley, someone who can manage to be himself and differentiate himself from others in his business field, and be successful doing it. He seems to be a very down to earth person, too!

    – Oprah Winfrey; she managed to find herself and do what she likes to do, helping others and successful!

    Three interesting facts about yourself

    1. I was an actor in an Indonesian/Canadian movie called “Chasing America.” The website for the movie is: www.kejaramerika.com.
    2. I love to perform, especially traditional Indonesian dances and modern dance.
    3. I’m actually a very shy person.

    Three characteristics that describe you

    1. Go-Getter
    2. Extroverted
    3. Creative and full of ideas

    Three greatest passions

    1. Better myself in many ways
    2. Be in a balance in my spirituality, emotion and physical being
    3. Acceptance

    Favorite book

    Finding the Boyfriend Within by Brad Gooch, Letters From Thailand by BOTAN, and Dancing Out of Bali by John Coast.

    Favorite cause

    Anything I can do for minorities and less fortunate people in the world.

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    Credits

    Interview by Kinman Tong
    Introduction by Sumaya Kazi

    Also this week

         
    Nuvia Crisol GuerraAnkur LuthraItai David Shapira

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