The love of grandparents is unconditional and we have seen granny’s making things for their grandchildren like knitting socks, sweater, etc. and even cooking delicious food with their own secret recipe’s. Their skills and things they can make are masterpieces that are unfolded. The co-founders Lorina Sthapit, Irina Sthapit and Pursarth Tuladhar came with an idea of marketing these masterpieces selling them online and uplifting their life with skills and knowledge through Aji’s.
The story behind their initiation
The granny of Lorina, Champa Devi Tuladhar, 76 years used to make stuffs for her since childhood like socks and other knitting items. Her granny also used to share products that she made to others. Then, Lorina and her sister, Irina Sthapit thought of an idea that instead of just giving as gifts, what if they can sell these items and at the same time give monetary value of their granny’s skills. This idea also brought the inclusion of so many other grandparents who have skills and make product’s and knowledge. Lorina says, “At first we started looking at the friend grandparents for the makers and now we get approach from the grandparents themselves for being part of Aji’s maker.”
They participated in the maker faire in early 2018 to test their ideas and sell products. They realized the market where people would love to buy the products made by the elderly. These sisters met Pursarth who is returnee from America working with his own startup company.
This initiation have brought new hopes to the elderly in empowering them to live healthy and happy life. Pursarth shares the story of one of the makers who was having health issues after retirement. However, being engaged in some kind of work have made her happy and healthy as the same time. Lorina thus shared that when granny and her life partner both share hands in the making being the maker of Aji’s, they are more closer and happy with the strong bond of relationship.
Moreover, as per Lorina, the inquiry of grandparents to be part of Aji’s are increasing with good response from the young generation to make their grandparents involved in it.
Aji’s mission is to empower the elderly to live healthy and happy lives by providing a platform to showcase their skills and knowledge. The company aims to helping the elderly use their skills to make marketable, creating inter-generational exchange opportunities and sharing the stories and experiences of the elderly.
Aji’s enables the elderly to make and sell products through online store, share their stories and experiences on the Aji’s blog and events, and connect with the younger generation via campaigns such as #AskAnAji. A parent or grandparent above 58 years can be part of Aji’s maker if they can make any product with their own skill.
At first, grandmother of Lorina herself was reluctant to be the maker when she pitched idea to her. She says, “I took a picture of a pair of sock that granny has made and posted in Facebook to know the response. The response was amazing and when I sold the first product of her. She was excited.”
Lorina explained further, “As my granny was the first maker, she was hesitant herself to make sock and sell them. She has the feeling of What would other say when they know I will sell the sock? She was hesitant what others would say to her design.”
Working with elderly is challenging in it’s own ways. However, tackling the odds, Pursarth says, “We do not want the makers to make in pressure. We want them to make product constantly and not in hurry. For this, we take the products in stock and then sell them. This is huge opportunity to make things in Nepal.”
Adding the positive trends of market, Lorina says, “The market has changed to using more Nepali products now. People find stories that touch them to buy nowadays. Young people love to wear Nepali brands and we have some good hopes to market products made by elderly.”
Aji’s products are available online in Daraz and website of Aji’s and also in Timro Store. The response of customer positive with the retaining customer oders. Pursarth days,” We get orders in build at he same time the customer give us time leverage in delivery as those are madfe by elderly. People buy our products for giving gifts, home decor, etc. ”
Lorina added, ” When people know the story, they love to buy more.”
With only more than 1 year of establishment, the team have future plans to add more makers beyond Kathmandu and internationally. We have marketed products majorly in word of mouth till now. They want to reach international makers and market for thier products.
Moreover, the team also plans to empower elderly and bring closer to young generations via sharing their stories and legacies. “There are so many skills of our elderly who knows traditional songs, practices but have never been recorded. We want to document their legacies via production of videos. This will be one contribution which our future generation can see and listen like we document our moments in pictures and videos in this era.” , says Pursarth.
Message from Youths
“Our elders have a lot to offer and share. We should talk to them and as our slogan of Aji’s, Google does not have all the answers, you should #AskAnAji. We are looking to expand our makers and they can be part of us through you.”
Startups to support #skills2grow4life