The tenth episode of Glocal Khabar presents Youth Dialogue ended with another interesting theme – ‘Entrepreneurship’. The discussion was made on the topic- “Made in Nepal” where the three influential owners of the Nepali Brands were invited to join the talk series and they were Mr. Ahmed Dulla (Owner of Dulla, The Factory Team), Ms. Ramila Nemkul (Owner of Kasa Style) and Mr. Bishal Adhikari (Owner of Bastra Clothing).
The discussion was based on the information of their brands, followed up with their ideas to initiate the business and also gave a motivating words to the youth who wants to do something in their own country.
- We have three business owners in the road of success here with us today. Can you share your story how did you developed your ideas on working on your respective brand?
Ms. Ramila, CEO of Kasa Style shared her story about initiation of brand “Kasa Style”. She said there are many international brand in different countries and she was able to know many brands upon her visit to different countries. But Nepali brands was not found anywhere. However, some notable handicrafts and hand made products were an exception. But the Nepali clothing brand had no traces in the international market. She shared she could find the clothes with a level and tag like “Made in China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam etc. But the tag “Made in Nepal” were nowhere. Then she realized these countries has been using our manpower to manufacture their brands and Nepal could never be recognized. So, she thought “Kasa” can be a Nepali clothing brand and also can be introduced in the world as a Nepali Product.
Mr. Ahmed Dulla, Creator of Dulla-Shoes which is an established company manufacturing beautiful leather product. He said that it’s been 10 years he started his business. He was really passionate about shoes, foot wares and he aimed according to his passion. Dulla got enrolled for a Diploma in Footwear Technology at FDDI, Noida, India. He not only learnt about creating and designing shoes but repairing, learning about the leather in the market, researching about the different types of leather available, methods of identifying the leathers, machine operations, every detail of shoe construction. That 3 years training was quiet useful for setting his career choice and eventually. He also said that after his college life, he applied for an internship in Bombay where he learnt many useful things like designing shoes for big brands and was introduced to the brand structure and its success. Then after his internship, he returned to Kathmandu and made a brand “Dulla” Shoes.
Mr. Bishal Adhikari is one of the three owners of Bastra Clothing. He shared his story about how “Bastra” was commenced. He said after his Bachelor’s study, he was confused about what to pursue and where his career would lead to. His other friends were busy applying abroad and he along with his friends had multiple options to work like Agriculture, Travel, and Job etc. An Earthquake hit Nepali land so hard during that time; they printed t-shirt mentioning “Pray to Nepal” and sent it abroad. After the devastating earthquake, it was really challenging even to track the T-shirt supplier, however they got some ideas. They also found out that those who supplies T-shirt, doesn’t print it. And the one who print the t-shirt doesn’t pack it. They highlighted these problems and eventually made up their mind to create, print and supply t-shirt as a single entity which is now popular as “Bastra”. Then they went through name finding, registration process and so on. They had limited ideas but they were sure that they had to do something inside the country. So, from the establishment on 2015, with an objective of optimum utilization of local resources and high level customer satisfaction, Bastra has achieved an overwhelming support from delivering a home brand product to Nepalese Youth.
- How do you see the youth’s perspective regarding use of Nepali products?
Mr. Bishal said Nepali youths want to try Nepal made products. But they are still not able to accept the fact that even the product made in Nepal can be of good quality. They make enquiry about price and buy just to experiment. He said the reason behind this problem has come from both suppliers and the customers. Suppliers are not able to meet the expectations of customer while supplying goods and customers lacks the compromising and appreciative nature regarding Nepali products. They use it for certain time and they leave it. However, he said that the changes are seen and the youths are slowly being aware about the Nepali Products. He has even seen the people who wore International brand before, trying Nepali brands .He said getting good comments from the customers makes them happy. However, many things lacks, but based on the feedback they have received from their clients, they have been able to meet the customer’s requirements and delivered a good level of satisfaction.
Mr. Ahmed Dulla shared his experience that Nepali people hasn’t been able to understand what actually a brand concept is. Every brand has their own targets and their products are based on what age group, class they represent. “Every brand defines their own specialties, -”said Mr. Ahmed. And Nepali people has the misconception that the products made in Nepal must be cheap in rate. But this is not true. Even in case of shoes, people can’t realize how much efforts the makers put to make a shoes, using premium leather. So, he got disheartened with the people’s thoughts. He said that if the product has a level “Made in Nepal”, it doesn’t mean that people are going to buy it. Even if the people show patriotism in social media, when the customer have to pay money, they see the quality, packaging and also the brand strategy.
Upon visiting markets in Asan, he saw that 50% of the Ladies bag that are made in Nepal are sold with the level and tagline of “Made in China.” This is really bad in the context of our country because the seller of these bags said that people don’t buy if it has the level written “Made in Nepal.” This is the condition.
Ms. Ramila thinks the people in Nepal are not brand conscious. And whoever are brand conscious, they proudly represent those international brands enough to boost about. People are ready to pay money if the brands are Zara, Adidas etc. People must be made aware and they should be made understood that Nepali products are also made with same effort as the international brand is and they are good. She also gave an example that the manufacture of Adidas used to be in India and the manufacture of NIKE and Adidas used to be in Nepal as well. But also, people bought NIKE as a brand although it’s being manufactured here. Therefore, for any business, they have to focus on their brand value to enrich and develop it. We should prove the customers that we also put the same hard work and passion upon our products. But now situation has been changed. Youths had accepted Kasa as a Nepali brand and the business is doing really well, said Ms. Ramila.
- What is the major challenges for the entrepreneurs who want to start their ventures in Nepali society? How can challenges be addressed?
Ms. Ramila said-“It is not easy to be an entrepreneur”. Nowadays the youth or the emerging entrepreneurs don’t have patience and they are also not passionate enough to initiate their work which is a major serious challenge. She gave an example- Ahmed Dulla was able to set his business in a successful manner because he had passion over shoes. Likewise, from the early age, she said she used to sew the clothes herself whole night and wear her school uniform with a happy smile on her face the other day. Likewise, even if she work for 14 hours continuous, she never got tired or exhausted because it’s her passion that has driven her towards where she is today. This is the power of passion and she also said there are two parts and major differences between a business mind and an entrepreneurship skill. In business, one can invest in any sector without caring about what product they are investing for. And an entrepreneur do create a product and work on basis of what they choose and love. Therefore, Patience is necessary because a business can never be successful overnight. So, one must be passionate and at the same time dedicated upon their work.
Mr. Dulla agreed to the words of Ms. Ramila and he also added that Passion is very important and a business is just a half battle war if a person got that passion. He shared that as shoes were his passion, he would research it and be updated about the new arrival of shoes from the international markets. He said he is always thinking to make his product better and qualitative. He said in business, we need to keep going on with the flow, this makes you experienced and also helps to identify the problems and understand what are important in the journey.
Mr. Bishal suggested that we need to relate ourselves with the product we are working on. The quality consideration, marketing strategy and other basics must be considered while doing business. Likewise, it’s not always necessary that a business is going to sustain the way you have expected. But to make it ongoing, one must be careful and identify the problems, sort it and work hard.
- What is the most essential aspects to start a business?
Mr. Ahmed Dulla shared that he commenced his business with 2.5 lakhs. He had no store to sell his shoes before. Although, he could make shoes, he had no proper ideas to sell the shoes. He found about the online stores of his friend and got the idea to sell products online. He made a page and published his product details online. He started getting orders online and he started making his small business into a bigger brand “Dulla”. He said that for any business, small initiation is necessary. It’s not necessary that money is needed everywhere. Nowadays, social networking sites has made a lot easier to promote the products and develop as a successful business because it is free and accessible for every individual.
Ms. Ramila recalled her time which was 16 years back on 2005, she started her first business with 8000 rupees. There were lots of questions that people arised about a girl trying to do a business of clothes. But she was able to prove herself and show them that a female entrepreneur can also be successful if she got passion. She said that a person should be clear about what he/she is doing and they should also have the creative ideas to present their product in the market. She also recalled her initiation days, when there were no Facebook, instagram to post regarding products. But the first Nepali magazine “Nari” was the way she promoted her products by publishing her products in 5 pages as advert and using Nari magazine as a marketing way actually made a huge difference in her business. She thought she would do business at home, rather than opening a store. But she was focused on marketing, which was a wise decision back then. She agreed to the fact that the advertisement in “Nari Magazine” became the milestone for her business and that was her best experience ever.
Mr. Bishal said that Guts is needed to start any business. A person need to energize themselves and make a vision to push themselves forward. Likewise, a proper plan about business starting, financing, manpower and marketing is also equally important.
- In upcoming days, how would you maintain the quality and price of the product to make accessible to all the people over country?
Mr. Dulla said that every brand has their own targets. Dulla had apparently targeted the youth crowd, majorly students. He initiated his venture with products targeted only to the female groups of society. He perceived that the young girls were more fashionable and they would definitely comply with the product. But then came the major issue which was the Price of the product. Ahmed realized that the product was literally unaffordable to that target market. He had to recheck his strategies over again. And made a slight shift in the target customers. Then, Mr. Dulla targeted the working class, Nepali women, doctors, engineers and the corporates. There onwards Dulla Shoes had a safe takeoff.
Ms. Ramila also had her target group like young girls, housewives and she made Ladies wear in a stylish way. But she then realized that the young girls couldn’t afford to her products and it was difficult to housewives as well. So, she also targeted the working class women after doing the market research and analysis. She said that the final outcome was good.
- For every business, idea only is not sufficient. Money is important. And if one has money, idea is secondary. This is the myth. How can you overcome the myth like this?
Ms. Ramila said that the idea is the most important aspect of any business. Money is also important on one hand. However nowadays, everyone has the ideas, but they lack money. In this context, the ideas that can monetize as well as can be implement is the most important part. One should have a full plan on how to do the financing, setting goals and target groups. They should also have the plan how to pay back money later on. She said nowadays youths are ignorant. Without proper plans they try to initiate business with their parent’s money. They have no proper strategy due to which they face the failures in business. Therefore, money and ideas both plays a role in a business.
Mr. Ahmed said Business done just because having money is one part. But on the other hand, ideas manufacture and implementation plays a major role. This can actually make a lot impact in any business. Nowadays so many companies being closed, some due to lack of money and some trying to adapt new plans and strategy. Therefore, not just the money, one should know what kind of ideas can be implemented to take their business to the next level on the road to success.
Mr. Bishal said that money and business are two different things. We need to link these two entities and according to him, Money is not a business. If one has money, they can invest without merely having ideas to do business on. But they need to be the passionate investor. And the other party who has got the ideas need to implement their ideas with visionary approach and after going through a detailed market research.
- Are the governmental agencies/policies supportive for the emerging entrepreneurs in the country?
Mr. Bishal replied that the government is not supportive in this matter. Even if an entrepreneur is confused, government ask to register the company. There are no platforms where entrepreneurs can showcase their ideas and strategy of their business and also assessment process in also not developed. Likewise, legal and other problems also may arise during the time of business operation. However, government hasn’t been able to address any issues regarding entrepreneurship and are also not appreciative.
Mr. Dulla said since the early time of business, he has learnt not to be dependent upon anyone and he himself tries things and has no expectations from the government.
Ms. Ramila also said that she never thought of how government will help her in business. Rather, she has obeyed every policies that government set up and she thinks it’s good if the government is supportive. But it is not so in the present context.
- What do you want to suggest to the youth who don’t see oppurtunities inside the country and are going abroad for employment?
Ms. Ramila said it’s good to travel abroad because travelling is the best way to learn. Likewise travelling abroad for higher studies is also a good exposure but after getting knowledge, she suggested youth to return back to their own country and work with the ideas they learnt. She said Nepal is a country which has ample of oppurtunities to work on. She said one must be able to identify and work to make their country prosperous.
Mr. Dulla said that if youth don’t see any opportunities inside the country, it’s their responsibilities to create opportunities. They can go abroad to study but they have to execute their ideas towards development of their own country because you are attached with his land and being a youth, they are the change makers and are someone a country will rely on.
Mr. Bishal also said it’s really good to travel abroad to explore the places but one should return back with ideas to develop country creating employment oppurtunities inside the country itself. Even a simple ideas can bring impact. So, he suggested youth to protect the value of the country and work for the betterment and the development of the country. Ms. Ramila also added that Nepal is our identity. We need to preserve our value and all should work hard to make Nepal a prosperous country because we all know Nepal is a world in itself.