Bound to Batiks and beauty
BATIK INDUSTRY: Batik, is the lifeblood of this successful
She is intent on adding new colour to the world through her
creations. She is Amara Hettiarachchi, proprietor of Lekha Batiks in
She is determined to keep the fires burning in the local batik
industry till she breathes her last. She has been able to become a top
in her own business today achieving many goals in the life. The Women's
Chamber of Industries and Commerce has granted the merit award to
appreciate her talents, hard work and commitment at the Women
Entrepreneur of the Year 2006 under the small investment category.
Having come up with the idea to start her own business she got
involved in manufacturing batik garments in a small way in 1976 at her
She learnt basic methods and techniques of batik manufacturing by
studying alone and associating with journals while her friend has helped
Hettiarachchi thought, it is the suitable business to perform well on
her skills and abilities. " I realised many potentials in the industry
specially during the tourist seasons," she said.
At the beginning she sold her own property in Makandura to pump funds
to the business. Gradually a three-storied house including a factory and
showroom was built by her next to her house in Denipitiya.
Initially with the assistance of two employees, she got involved in
manufacturing batik creations only for the tourist season to meet the
demand in Weligama, Koggala and Hikkaduwa areas gaining orders by
talking personally to people. She said there was a growth of tourist
arrivals in Weligama, Koggala and Hikkaduwa those days which raised the
The factory at Weligama
Among the products, batik shirts, sarongs, wall hangings bed sheets,
beach dresses, kimonas and cushion covers were popular in the market.
Batik refers to the process of creating tangled designs through a
"resist technique" covering certain areas of cloth with melted wax to
prevent it from absorbing colours, to make light patterns on dark
backgrounds. She purchases raw materials from suppliers who are at the
Gaining working experience gradually by recognising buyer
requirements, her products have a big demand in the market. She has
registered at Laksala to provide batik garments as well.
She became popular from word of mouth and she started to do wholesale
'I have a good buyer network and they supply my Batik products to
shops islandwide. She has expanded her business by purchasing machinery
Women dyeing the fabric at the factory
Eventhough there were two employees at the beginning, she has been
able to provide employment to 300 in the area.
Around 100 also work under her on sub contracts. They do sewing and
dyeing in their homes. I collect finished products by paying them for
their creativity and high quality. She said that the dedicated workforce
in the company has enabled her to execute complex jobs while meeting
'I pay personal attention to each one by providing bonus and
incentives to encourage them. She works at strengthening her ties with
designing, supplying, distributing, production works, accounting and
"I always keep an eye to recognise the latest going on fashions and
new colour designs for creating new styles for certain customers in the
She always considers beauty, neatness clean and time saving of
manufacturing batik garments to fit the needs of customers.
A special design unit comprising 50 employees was set up to develop
specialty batiks garments to achieve large production and delivery
volumes. Today the company provides batik garments at wholesale prices
operating an islanwide customer network.
Today her batiks has become a full-line manufacture producing an
extensive range of standard and specialty batik products.
From designing to distribution, the product portfolio revolves around
Although the products have focused on the tourist market, the demand
has come down with the situation in the country. Instead of catering to
the foreign customers, she turned her attention on the local market
converting conventional styles for the modern market.
Having gained 30 years working experience, she has understood
consumer behaviour in the market. She is now 65 and runs her business
with the assistance of her three children. She has two daughters and a
son. One daughter is a teacher and her son is a businessman.
They have understood me very well and they are giving me all strength
to become successful in my life.
She said if somebody has talents, dedication and satisfaction on
work, they can survive in the industry.
She doesn't have competition due to utilising of new trends in the
modern market and using latest technology without imitating others.
She is a past pupil of Matara Maha Vidyalaya.