Meet Indonesian boutique owner Novi Paluch - INTERVIEW
blog by Genna Mitchell • March 13, 2013 @ 10:04am
By now, Buffalo should know the name Novi Paluch, but more importantly, you should recognize this smile.
It was just a short year ago that Paluch could be spotted adorning Grant Street with handmade linens from Indonesia outside of the West Side Bazaar with hopes of one day running her own shop. In a private conversation outside of the Sasmita Batik, Paluch talks more about her journey to Buffalo, what she loves about our city and how she is making a name for herself miles from home.
After selling retail merchandise alongside other vendors at the West Side Bazaar for over a year, Paluch made a bold decision to set up operations at the Market Arcade and opened Sasmita Batik over the holiday season. She looks forward to the city’s continued efforts to bring traffic back to the area by re-opening Main Street, and of course, the new faces she’ll meet in the wake of spring.
Paluch spoke highly of her childhood in a small town outside of Jakarta where she dreamed of being a police officer and fondly recalled camping in her backyard with friends.
When asked if she ever imagined whether she’d run her own boutique, Novi replied, “I was always too busy with work to ever imagine such things.”
Shortly before coming to Buffalo, she worked in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, as a trader at the Indonesian Stock Exchange.
She has one brother and two sisters who still live in Indonesia. Her parents always taught her how important it was to “never depend on anyone else, keep at your studies, do positive things.” She met an American man through her work and that’s when things changed.
Paluch married and resettled in Buffalo with her husband. She has traveled to Chicago, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., Detroit and New York City since her arrival four years ago and says there’s really no place like Buffalo.
“The people are so friendly,” she told me. “It truly is the city of good neighbors.” She appreciates the rich history of welcoming immigrants, the marvelous architecture, and even the snow.
I had to ask how she would spend a day outside of Sasmita Batik, and she replied like many of us would: staying in, watching movies and playing music with her husband. They love dining out together and says that she has tried 85% of the restaurants in Buffalo and loves them all but would normally be spotted at Pano’s, Cole’s, and the new restaurants inside the Hotel Lafayette.
Paluch has a deep love for sports that was enhanced by Buffalo’s dedicated fans. ”I was crazy for sports in Indonesia, I was born into a sport family,” she reflected.
Her father was a soccer referee and her brother and sister practiced karate. She was a traditional dancer.
“Since I moved to Buffalo, I’m more crazy for sports.” She and her husband travel extensively for sports and declares that she isn’t just a passive, oblivious spectator—she knows all of the rules to hockey, basketball and secretly desires to be a football coach.
“Running a business is not easy,” said Paluch, “but I know how to do it. It’s just like the stock market, only different instruments. Research, planning the way forward, but most important is the math—no overhead—business has to be profitable.”
Paluch spent some time as an interpreter at the International Institute of Buffalo when she first arrived and met many other women with dreams of opening their own business.
Women from Iran, Iraq, Burma, Sudan and Rwanda engaged her at the institute, and Paluch’s advice to them was to gain independence because here, you can. “Independence is freedom from influence, free from being controlled by anyone else. Be innovative and creative, and follow American rules.”
The boutique was named after her niece, meaning beautiful in Indonesian, a name Novi loves.
“Saya Cinta Buffalo,” she tells us. ” I love Buffalo.”
Novi sells merchandise from Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia and India. Handmade goodies include draperies, bags, jewelry, dresses/skirts, bags, scarves, hats and tablecloths.
617 Main Street
Suite M 103-C
Buffalo NY 14203
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Sunday by appointment.