KATHMANDU, Jan 16: Where some businesses fail even with the effort of many, there are some that have thrived with the effort of just an individual. Entrepreneurship has become a lifestyle which people, especially younger generations seek.
But individual entrepreneurs do not necessarily have their own shops. A big chunk of their business comes from concept stores and art markets around the city that help them sell the products, market their brand and gain more customers. And seemingly, social media platforms have also come in handy when it comes to their business flow.
Among them are few women who have taken control of their lives by commercializing their unique ideas and products. They have shown that it is possible for women to take initiative and emerge. These women are working for themselves, making decisions, making an impact and leading their businesses on their own which ultimately is teaching them how to be confident and independent. They also stress especially on the promotion of locally-made products as well as art and culture.
‘When people think of Nepali products, we mostly think about dhaka. But Nepal is rich in culture and sadly most people don’t know about it,” Shakya said. Allare on last October started as Shakya’s passion project where she uses iconography in her products. Each product comes with their unique story including their origin, use and significance.
We can find various cultural and artistic values combined with woodcraft, metal work and prints in Allare’s games, accessories and clothing. Shakya comes up with different designs, graphics and illustrations for her brand, but has collaborated with other experts in the field who help bring her ideas to life. Some of them have been etched into games like tic-tac-toe and pendrives, while other products like bottle openers, earrings and necklaces have adapted the designs with cultural importance.
She is planning to make another batch of her board-game Samrajya (based on Prithvi Narayan Shah’s journey of conquest) soon, along with an expansion of varieties of products just for kids, to evoke their creativity, increase motor skills and make them more outgoing.
Shakya does her research before coming up with the design, while a great deal of resources comes from her uncle, who guides her on cultural backgrounds. “The best thing about working alone is that you have your own pace, can make your decision and there is no pressure regarding the production. You also learn to manage time.
It’s difficult, but not unmanageable,” added Shakya. She has recently started adapting these cultural factors with abstract arts, and has come up with scarfs to take fashion and culture hand-in-hand.
Suyasha Shree Khatry
During her late teen years, she wanted to do something of her own. Creative as she is, Khatry puts her imagination to paper, makes hand-painted cards and finds comfort there. She was indulged in art since Grade IV with drawings before moving on to creating doodles, sketches, and t-shirt printing. But she soon settled to greeting cards as it was much easier and supported her creative flow.
She also started her brand as a hobby, making sketches and phone cases for herself. She used to get many requests from customers, but it was only on January 2017 that she decided to commercialize them and upload the pictures on Instagram. She normally uses water color, brush paints, acrylic and poster paints on French cartridge paper for occasions like birthdays, Valentine’s Day, dashain festival, Christmas and new years.
As a full time student, she hardly gets time to make the cards on a daily basis. But on holidays and breaks, all-day long, she gets busy in making cards and stocks them to sell on the following days. Khatry usually surfs the internet and saves anything she finds interesting to use for her art later. On the sideline, she also makes paper earrings that are equally loved by her followers. She has customized the cards too on people’s requests.
Khatry says she was quite an introvert before Yashree Products started, but going to concept stores, dealing with customers and delivering them has boosted her confidence. She believes it has changed her personality and she has now become more social than ever. Constant support from her friends and family keeps her motivated. She plans to utilize leftover papers, write quotes on them and sell them as a product in the near future.
There might be different sizes, shapes and designs of cups in the market and one can also digitally print custom made designs, but Adhikari prefers to hand paint them with unique designs and make them more special. In a plain ceramic mug, using acrylic paints, she writes puns, quirky lines and customized graphics that are inspired from football, mass and pop cultures and it has been loved by many.
She has always been a huge fan of the Harry Potter series and The Beatles, but failed to find their franchises in Nepal. Hence, she started painting her concepts on mugs and used to gift them to her friends as well as families on their birthdays. Adhikari was influenced by her sister, but wanted to start something of her own that was unique. Before settling to acrylic paint for mug painting, she had tried various painting techniques like water and poster colors, and colored pens but they would get washed off easily.
On May 2015, she started uploading the pictures of her mugs on Twitter and Instagram, and gained her first customer from these platforms. She finds her inspirations from different pictures on the internet and modifies them to her imaginations and customers’ requests to come up with a new product altogether. Though alone, she finds it easy and fun, and takes her time with every design. She has never felt the need of another full-time partner.
Since her childhood, Adhikari used to paint shampoo bottles, house walls and upcycle house wastes. She had an intuitive talent for learning designs and has tried nail art and interior decorating as well. She also has started stone painting, and is making polymer clay keyrings. But they remain her hobby for now. She recently flew to Australia, and will be continuing her work from there. She is also considering shipping her products to Nepal and elsewhere from there.
‘Bhav’ means feelings, and at Bhav you can get all essentials that will help you pour out your innermost feelings in a paper. Since her school days, Bhintuna had a knack for art and calligraphy. It was her father (Govinda Narayan ‘Jya-poo’) who invoked the artistic mind in her and he always used to tell her that handwritings help you make an impression on readers’ minds. She naturally got inclined to art and received training in stitching as well as embroidery in school. ‘Jya-poo’ later started working in an animation studio and also worked as a graphic designer.
‘Jya-poo’ had first started as a freelancer and made DIY notebooks for herself. Her passion turned into a business when she realized there were other people like her who wanted customize stationeries for their writing needs. She started the brand with a friend in an extra space of her home on December 2014. She has also made several batches of notebooks for national and international organizations as well as events.
“I had never imagined the business would boom or people will seek me. I’m an introvert, and have never been business-minded either. But the business is good and I’m happy as it is.”
‘Jya-poo’ has a range of cards, planners, stickers, polaroids and notebooks along with pens to go with them. The Bhav notebooks come in different colors, designs, covers and sizes (A5 and A6).
Some have blank, lined, dotted and dotted-grid pages and come with unique illustrated artworks on their cover pages (like Chandra-Surya, Latokoshero, Bhairab, Dhaka, letters, Bajra, constellations) that ‘define people’s characters’. A batch of her notebooks has blank covers for users to get creative and design it as they want.