091 | Simplicity in business with Viola Sutanto, Maika Goods

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My guest this week is Viola Sutanto and she’s here to tell us how she made the leap from solopreneur to serial creative entrepreneur, and how she successfully runs multiple product-based businesses. I first met Viola in 2008 or 2009 when she owned the brand Chewing the Cud, a letterpress greeting card company that also sold reusable fabric gift wrap, which distributed to more than 1000 stores nationwide.

Since then Viola has founded MAIKA, a stylish and sustainable soft goods brand inspired by delightful trade and everyday living, and co-founded LimeLoop, a recently launched full-circle shipper packaging company. What impresses me most about Viola, in addition to her superhuman ability to run multiple businesses is how she manages to maintain the same core values across all three companies- although unique in their offerings, each represents a desire to create sustainable, well designed, products that solve problems for their customers.

On today’s episode, Viola and I talk about transitioning from one business to the next, using trial & error to find manufacturing partners overseas, building a team, and time blocking. We also discuss Viola’s perspective on managing transition, how she aims for simplicity in business and what’s up next for her new ventures.


  • How Viola evolved as a creative entrepreneur

  • Transitioning from stationery into textiles

  • Viola’s process for sourcing global manufacturing partners

  • The importance of cultivating the right production partnership

  • The core values that anchor Viola’s three business

  • How she shifted her mindset in order to scale fast

  • Viola’s journey from solopreneur to creative co-founder

  • Her best approach to running multiple businesses

  • Why streamlining systems and processes is crucial in transition

  • What’s up next for Viola and her multiple ventures

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“I love product, and I have always dreamed of creating my own.” – Viola Sutanto

“I’m especially inspired by my dad. He really started with nothing, and I mean nothing. He had a little stall in a flea market and then kind of built a business empire out of that.” -Viola Sutanto

“My true passion is creating textile-based products and products that people could use every day, products that are simple and functional and not too precious.” – Viola Sutanto

“There were definitely some unexpected challenges that I wasn’t ready for when I first started. Anything could happen along the way. And distance was a challenge.” – Viola Sutanto

“I wanted to make sure that the materials I was using could be certified, that I could very proudly say my materials and my processes are sustainable.” – Viola Sutanto

“You want to know who you’re speaking to has their finger on the pulse of what’s going on there, and obviously the owner is going to have that.” – Katie Hunt

“So much of growing our businesses, particularly product-based business, is trial and error when it comes to outsourcing and manufacturing.”– Katie Hunt

“I ended up keeping that little envelope, thinking “Someday, we’re going to do something with this.” And sure enough, when Ashley and I reconnected … that all blew up into LimeLoop today.” – Viola Sutanto

“We knew from the start this could be a really big idea. We knew we needed to scale fast, and we knew we needed investors. So that was the mindset going in.” – Viola Sutanto

“With every hire I’ve had at MAIKA, I’ve always made it a habit to have them document their role so that if a transition were to happen, the next person stepping into their role would require minimal training from me.”– Viola Sutanto

“I’m a firm believer in keeping things lean and mean as best you can. We are small businesses. We need to keep things simple. When we start adding too many layers or too many people, it gets too complex.”– Katie Hunt

“Keep it as lean and as simple as you can from the beginning, and also talk to as many people as you can, people who have been doing this for a while. Ask them for their advice.” – Viola Sutanto


Website: Maika Goods | Instagram: @maikagoods | Facebook: @maikagoods | Pinterest: @maikagoods

Connect with Katie Hunt

Katie Hunt is a business strategist, podcaster, mentor and mama to four. She helps product based businesses build profitable, sustainable companies through her conferences, courses and coaching programs.

Website: prooftoproduct.com  |   Instagram: @prooftoproduct

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