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Meet Jill and Setiawan Onggo of Gado Gado in West Midtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jill and Setiawan Onggo.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jill and Setiawan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My husband Setiawan (who is Indonesian) and I had been living in Indonesia for several years and had always loved the artisan made furniture and crafts of Indonesia. We had decided it was time to make a move back to the US and thought opening our own business with products from Indonesia would be a great way of allowing us to do something we both loved and stay connected with both cultures and our families.

I’m originally from Buffalo and Setiawan went to Graduate and undergrad in Oregon but in 1997 we decided to start fresh and select a city that would be a new for both of us. Atlanta was a growing metro area with a burgeoning international flavor and a temperate climate so we thought we’d give it a try – we’ve been here ever since! We love Atlanta.

We chose the name Gado Gado for our business because it’s broad meaning in Indonesian means “a mixture of things”. Many people are familiar with gado-gado as an Indonesian dish but gado-gado has this larger context which described us both professionally AND personally – how could we not go with that? Our products are a mixture of items from various regions of Indonesia, Setiawan and I are a mixed couple and our business is a blend of our passion and profession! We ARE Gado Gado any which way you look at it!

Setiawan and I do all of our own buying for Gado Gado directly in Indonesia. We travel and work with local artisans and craftspeople buying original pieces and artifacts as well as newly made items (mostly from reclaimed teak wood). Each piece is unique and has its own energy and personality. Over the years we’ve built warm relationships with many of the Indonesians we’ve worked with and have had the pleasure of seeing their businesses grow as well as ours. It’s been a win-win for both of us.

Our first location was in Midtown/ Piedmont Park area at Amsterdam Walk. We were located there for over 15 years and really enjoyed being part of that community. As many other retailers started moving out of Amsterdam Walk and our business started to shift to more online purchasing, we decided it was time to relocate. About 3 years ago we moved to our current location on Chattahoochee Avenue.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The housing / financial crisis and crash was a challenging time for Gado Gado as it was for many businesses. We have always been very financially conservative with how we managed our business and our personal lifestyle – even when the economy was booming – which I believe helped us when things got crazy. We’re thankful we were able to weather that storm!

In the past 5 years business has really started to shift to online purchasing. Setiawan built our first website in the early 2000’s so Gado Gado has always had a presence online. Our website gave us a window into what people’s habits were and over time we were able to really see the changes. About 4 years ago, we completely redesigned our website to accommodate this new trend. Sales from out of area buyers, who only view the products from our website is a growing segment of our business. Even local buyers tend to visit the website and view our products before they come into the store. It’s an interesting shift and we are moving with it. Because all of our products are hand crafted and one-of-a-kind, each piece has to be individually photographed. Even 2 items that are similar, such as 2 side tables – when they are hand crafted and made from reclaimed wood materials they will be slightly different in regards to texture or wood grain etc. We believe it is important for the client to see the exact piece they are purchasing – if you like it online, most likely you’ll love it at home!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Gado Gado – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Handcrafted Indonesian Furniture, Art & Home Accents from Bali, Java & Beyond.

Established in 1997, Gado Gado specializes in Indonesian furniture, art and home accents hand crafted by traditional artisans. Reclaimed teak wood, carved, rustic, primitive, antiques, tribal, one of a kind, as well as new designs – we carry a wonderful selection of treasures for your home all sourced through our personal travels.

We personally source all of our products and have over 20 years of experience with Indonesian pieces. We provide excellent customer service and give all of our products TLC before they go out our door.

Our passion is our profession! We absolutely love what we do and all the amazing clients we’ve had over the years is icing on the cake!

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
No big changes. Mainly continuing to improve our website and keeping an eye on where things are moving. Technology is constantly changing things and quickly …

Contact Info:

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Artifact Collage

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Bali Canopy Daybed Reclaimed Teak

Reclaimed Teak Open Shelf Nightstand

Carved Indonesian Console Table with Shelf

Image Credit:
Gado Gado

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