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Smelly, but still pretty: Sales promotion girls in cowboy attire update data on cattle at a pen in Bogor, West Java on Friday. The seasonal business caters to Muslims who need cows to slaughter on next week’s Day of Sacrifice. (Antara/M. Agung Rajasa)
Lines of livestock vendors with their herds tethered along the roadside are a common view in Greater Jakarta ahead of the Islamic Day of Sacrifice, or Idul Adha.
All of the seasonal businesses looked the same, but Doni played it differently.
The owner of Mal Sapi Qurban on Jl. Akses UI near the University of Indonesia (UI) campus in Depok, south of Jakarta, had a different strategy to lure prospective buyers: he hired cowgirls.
Young and pretty sales promotion girls in wide-brimmed hats, shirts, tight jeans, leather boots and each carrying an iPad, managed to sell cows ranging in price between Rp 10 million (US$1,040) and Rp 167 million.
“It’s been two years that I have used this strategy. I turn to the sales promotion girls at my car showroom to sell cows ahead of Idul Adha. All the girls agree to do this,” Doni said.
He displays 500 top breeds along the road, including those from Bali, Java, Dompu regency in West Nusa Tenggara as well as Limousine cattle imported from France. For this special seasonal sale, he transformed his 1,000-square-meter automotive showroom on Jl. Akses UI to accommodate his top livestock for sale ahead of Idul Adha.
Doni said that the girls would use iPads to show the pictures and complete profiles of the cows to potential buyers in an air-conditioned waiting room, so buyers would not have to be bothered by the smell of the herd. He also accepted payment by both credit and debit cards.
“If they are not satisfied with the photos, they can just point to the cows and they will have complete data of the cows, thanks to the microchip system,” said Doni, who has been selling cows for Idul Adha for 20 years.
A microchip implanted in the cow can send a signal to the iPad and provide detailed information.
Eka Putri, one of the sales promotion girls, said that although it was not easy, she eventually found a way to like the work.
The smell of cow dung was her biggest challenge at first, but she finally got used to it. “This is the risk. I lost my appetite for two days, but I overcame it at last.”
Apart from the pretty promotion girls, Doni ensures that the cows he has are the best and that they receive excellent treatment at his farms in Tapos, Depok, Sukabumi and Cianjur, all in West Java. He employs 15 veterinarians to supervise the cows, and spends more than Rp 500 million on vitamins and vaccines for his thousands of cows.
“The girls are just a gimmick. For Idul Adha, of course people always want the best-bred cattle,” he said.
This year, he aims to sell 4,000 cows, worth a total of Rp 800 billion, up from the 3,200 cows he sold last year.
The head of the Depok Agriculture, Farming and Fishery Agency, Zalfianus Irwan, said that around 20,000 cows and goats have been sold in Depok this year, up from 19,000 in 2011.