Daniel Mananta is a man of confidence and passion, but most of all, he is a man of many talents: he is an entrepreneur, a presenter, a film producer, a judge of a talent search show, and, as of late, a brand ambassador of Most Valued Business Indonesia. He is the mastermind behind Damn! I Love Indonesia, the popular and trendy clothing line, and an influencer that promotes the spirit of modern patriotism among the country’s young generation. One of Daniel’s most remarkable traits is his enthusiasm and cheerfulness – despite his busy schedule. On a recent afternoon, Daniel talked to us about his biggest inspirations and his dreams for Indonesia’s youngsters.
You are an entrepreneur and entertainer – how do you define yourself and your true passion?
The common thread of everything I do is public speaking, and this is my true passion. Whether as an entrepreneur or entertainer, I love to inspire people. There once was a guy who came to me and said that when he saw me on television, he was inspired to learn English so he could pursue further education overseas. Now he won a scholarship to Australia and said to me that ‘maybe I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you’. To hear a story like this is very fulfilling – and that is why I love my job.
Who inspired you to be a public speaker in the first place?
When I was in elementary school, my friends and I visited a church and saw this very inspiring priest. His sermon was very moving and encouraging; he could make everyone laugh with his jokes, but when he said something deep and touching, he made people cry too. I was in awe; I found it amazing that one person could control the emotions of hundreds of people. In that moment, I knew I wanted to do something similar in my life.
Tell us about the latest developments of Damn! I Love Indonesia.
The eight-year journey of this clothing line has been very exciting. I am directly involved in choosing the design, creating the campaign and so forth. We have nine outlets in Indonesia so far and a team whose members are experts in their respective fields. Our products have been shipped overseas to Japan, South Korea, Canada and most recently, America. Damn! I Love Indonesia is Indonesian street wear that highlights Indonesian culture, and our mission is to promote modern patriotism among Indonesian youngsters. We want to spread this spirit to all over the world through our products and various creative activities like music festivals, concerts, bazaars and many more.
As an entrepreneur, how would you define a good business?
A good business is not only about profit, it has to have a positive impact for environment and society. I think by default every business should have sustainability, a good business practice, ethical employment, safety and security, customer service and respect as well as environmental concern and corporate values. This is what I do with Damn! I Love Indonesia, and I think every business has to follow and promote these values so the businesses do not only benefit themselves but also the surrounding communities.
Judging from your performance on television and your social media activities, you always look so confident and energized. What is your secret?
Well, that’s a tough one (laughing). To be honest, I was very doubtful once, I worried a lot. In my earlier days in entertainment business, I was really worried if I did not have a job within a month, I worried that people might not want to see me anymore, I worried that I don’t have a future in this business. Those negative thoughts haunted me, I felt helpless until I surrendered my life to God completely. I learned to let go of anything that I cannot control and began to appreciate all the little things in my life as a blessing. Since then, I believe that whatever happens in my life, I will always have God’s back to support me. I am confident that at the end of the day, God always has a good plan for me.
What is next for Damn! I Love Indonesia?
We will have a new campaign that we call ‘generation of determinants’ because we believe that today’s youth is not just a ‘successor’. They are the agents of change who will decide the fate of this nation in the future. The younger generation should dare to voice their opinions and to make a change, that’s the spirit that we want to promote. We will also have a collaboration with an augmented reality company that handles big brands such as the Billionaire Boys Club clothing line belonging to Pharrell Williams. This project will be huge and we’re very excited!