Lace in Bali Today
Balinese lace in the 1980's was fast and cheap, though Uluwatu was better than most. When the fad died, most other lace companies "rationalised" their business. They switched to garment sewing without lace, because lace is very time-consuming and slows production drastically.
Or they installed electric machines to speed lace production and cut costs (and quality). Small companies quickly had to become large companies with a thousand or more workers to take advantage of high volume production, or else they had to close their doors.
Uluwatu had never been a large company, and because Uluwatu had emphasised quality rather than volume, Made had established a particularly close relationship with many of the workers. Uluwatu had a built a small "factory" (though the rambling and relaxed collection of sheds surrounded by trees looks nothing like a conventional factory) in the provincial town of Tabanan in 1979. By the late-1980's, Uluwatu was part of a community. The workers who sewed in their homes for Uluwatu had bought their own machines, which were significant investments for them. For Uluwatu to abandon hand-sewn lace for electric machines would devastate families who depended on Uluwatu.
With the end of the surfer wear fad, Made's Australian partner left and Uluwatu faced a crisis. Made realised she must remake her business just to survive. Two of her sisters, Nyoman Suti and Ketut Nerthi, joined Made to help her run the company. And they felt that Uluwatu could not just abandon old workers and old methods. At the same time, they saw an opportunity to take Uluwatu in a new direction by rediscovering the handicraft roots of krawang. So Uluwatu did not cheapen the product and did not add electric machines, but Made and her sisters did re-examine how to improve Uluwatu while preserving the essentials of what they felt was the core of the company.