AAMO is striving to create an environment that will allow traditional practices to successfully pass-down to coming generation to see, explore, practice & socialize in Nepal.
The story behind initiating AAMO by Aayusha Shrestha
After the graduation in BFA graphics communication from Kathmandu University in 2014 many people asked her if she could design the traditional product for them and on that phase, the idea of product designing hit her mind and she dragged herself outside of the imaginary world and made it into a reality. She started the business with an investment of around 2 lakhs with lots of research, skills and courage.
“Actually, I started the business to learn from my father. There was a gap in generation-passed-down business. So, I started to focus on how to solve this problem. The solution to face the problem and get involved in the community.” said Aayusha.
When she graduated in sociology from India, she returned back to Nepal and where she involved herself in various NGOs to work for the country. After that, she devoted her five years on R&D; she learned techniques that go into crafting jewelers. The inspiration came from the kaligars (people that work with brass) and anybody involved in hand made goods.
She never wanted to be a jewelry designer. While shopping, she frequently found designs in every shop quite similar. It bugged her, she had to change that. The only way to do that was of course, by being a jewelry designer!
About AAMO by Aayusha Shrestha
AAMO by Aayusha Shrestha(AMO meaning ‘maya’, translated to English as ‘love’) is a conceptual jewelry line inspired by all that is Kathmandu and beyond. Every product is designed with lots of creativity and skill which are handcrafted by local craftsmen who have been making and practicing old and traditional ways of making the jewelers, which comes from the father to son generation.
Each piece of AAMO is purely handcrafted in brass with 22 karats double gold plating. Packing of products are done in special boxes which are also made locally; using traditional lokta papers which adds more beauty to an already beautiful product. 20% of each sale is allocated for needy-children who reside in Bungamati and were affected during the 2015 earthquake. The allocated money is then used to help them get an education.
“It has been almost 2 years in AAMO, but I consider myself as a starter, as I am working with less focus on marketing and more on the quality of product itself. For now, AAMO’s marketing is only based on the social media and peer-networking”, says the founder.
Current Business Growth
The business growth is slow but steady.Aayusha mentions, “It takes around two days to two weeks to make some jewelers. So, it is a slow process.”
There are no strict deadlines as the work is quite tedious for the makers. She works with skilled people whether be itmale or female. “I want to take a step at a time, as the goal here is to become authentic not a commercial brand.” addedAayusha.
The designs and products of AAMO is growing as per founder where the customer appreciates the uniqueness in the designs. She says, “Clients have been very supportive, that’s the only reason the business is still running. Every feedback is heartily welcome, which will the brand to grow; the clients are really supportive, they points out the mistake that we’ve done which helps us to correct it.”
Finding artist who could work with her innovating and new design became very hard for her. She always wanted the work to be done locally. It took around two months to convince the local artists to work with her. Mentioning the challenge, she says, “It is a creative business and once the designs are out it is very easy to copy. We do not have an intellectual property right and copy rights which takes time and money. As I am making something with pure hard work and dedication, and someone copies it and sells it for less than a half price,it’s really heart breaking.”
Aayusha wants AAMO to be a community-based brand where she can involve as many skilled people as possible. This will help her to save the tradition and cultural values through her brand.Currently, she is only makingjewelers but she wants to tap into other products such as handicraft, including textile, wood carving, and ceramics.The founder also wants to incorporate all the R&D and take it into an international level.
In few years she hopes to see more than a business, AAMO to be involved in community work and also to produce more skilled artist.
“Hopefully I will start a design school where people can come and understand the designs and learn many skills.”- Aayusha
Message to Young Entrepreneurs
“There will be lots of obstacles but I think with the help of technologies, you can solve any obstacles you come by. Don’t listen to everybody, listen to the people who support you. If you have any ideas do share it and get feedback and start your work.”
Presented by: Rojal Rajthala
Photos by: Ganesh Bhandari