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Indonesia Shopping

Roy Keegan Shops Indonesia So You Don’t Have To  –  It’s 7:30am in Bali. Roy Keegan wakes up and has breakfast—an egg and some fruit salad. He skips the rice pudding with grated coconut on top, but gulps down some coffee. “Bali coffee is strong,” he says. “It’ll put hair on your chest.” Equipped with camera and laptop, Roy hops onto his rented motorbike and joins the morning buzz.

“Ninety percent of people travel on motorbikes to get around,” Roy tells me. “Whole families—the dad driving, the mom holding a baby on the seat, a young kid in the front holding the handlebars and an older one hanging off the back.” Tucked in his pocket is a list of thirty suppliers he wants to see. He needs to find the perfect “character piece” for a client who has a large, empty wall in Little Bay. With him, he has all the measurements and photos he took before he left Tortola.

“Once I get a feel for what the client is looking for, I pursue that avenue. This client had bought an antique carved sideboard from Arawak Interiors, made from old teak, so I knew she liked older pieces.” Once he finds the right supplier, he sends his client images of various suggestions. “A Buddha, carved from teak tree roots, was too dark—she needed a little bit of colour on that wall, as the ceilings are stained quite dark.”

She chooses a colourful painted panel on old teak boards. “Once I knew she liked the first panel, I found two more panels to compliment the first one. If I had wanted two identical ones, this supplier would have made them for me, and you wouldn’t be able to tell because he’d use the same old wood and the old techniques.” Both Roy and the client are happy with the three panels he’s chosen. “It’s rewarding being able to find exactly what the client is looking for.” Then, once it arrives in the BVI, Roy will deliver and install it in the house.

 

Roy grabs a quick lunch of Nasi Goreng—a rice dish with bits of vegetables and meat—and visits more suppliers. On his agenda for the afternoon is tile for a wall by the infinity pool at Necker Island.

“Necker is Bali-themed, so when Erick Oeseburg from Poolworks was looking to source some tiles for Necker, he showed me a sample of the look he was going for, and I recognized the stone and finish from a previous visit, but I had never had a reason to check them out.” Roy FedExes the samples to Erick who gets approval from Necker. He then orders the green stone cladding cut to Erick’s specifications.

 

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Roy stops for coffee in the afternoon and reevaluates what he’s gotten done and what he still needs to do for the day. I imagine Roy’s days in the BVI are only slightly less active than his days in Bali. “I’ve been doing more special buying,” Roy says. “A lot more requests for stone tiles, wall cladding and other architectural fixtures. Clients visit the showroom and ask about furniture and fixtures before they’ve even broken ground, which gives me loads of time to come up with ideas and samples.”

In the evening, he has more coffee and a quick dip in the pool then heads back out on the street. “I might do jewelry or clothing buying in the evening because in the afternoon, it’s pretty hot on the street. This year, I took the family, and they love helping me choose the jewelry and clothing.”

At the end of the night, Roy unwinds. “We might have an evening meal with a supplier—Nasi Campur or another rice dish. They like to take you to these out of the way places where they know the cook. They tell me I must be doing well because I’ve gained weight. To them, if you’re looking fat, you’re doing well.” After the evening meal, Roy sits down, goes over all the invoices and prepares to repeat the process tomorrow. 

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