Started in the year 2013, JuJu Wears is trying to change the mindset of Nepali people towards the quality of home-grown brands and at the same time instilling the feeling of nationality in them.
Pradeep Man Shakya started his journey of entrepreneurship in the year 1990 co-founding Shraman Apparels. In 1997, the company started the brand Karuna Natural Wears using natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, silk, linen and bamboo, offering high quality garments to the domestic Nepalese market as well as to the European market. In 2000, the company started to produce garments mainly to export to USA for companies such as Walmart and GAP. The process continued till the year 2005 when the factory collapsed because of some unfavorable political situations in the nation.
And now, Shraman Apparels has launched a new brand-JuJu Wears, focused on manufacturing quality T-shirts with an extensive selection of creative prints inspired by the rich culture and tradition of Nepal.
Juju Wears has currently been promoting the traditional craftsmanship and creativity of all fraternities of Nepalese art.This is our little endeavor to appreciate and promote local artists and their artwork which is often underrated and under-appreciated, reflected in the aesthetically appealing prints, says Shakya.
Though there’s not such a huge market at the present time, it’s growing. We are making new designs and prints of T-shirts as per the market demand and growth, he says.
The designs in the T-shirts reflect the art, culture, nationality and the identity of Nepali people and are available for all age groups from kids to adults and for both men and women. We designed the T-shirts reflecting the Nepali way and identity so as to inspire the youths and instill positivity in them,shared Shakya. A graduate of Fine Arts from Lalit Kala Campus, Shakya himself makes the initial designs of the T-shirts and later hands over the design for artists to develop that. I consider JuJu Wears as an expression of my artistic skills along with the business, going together.
“We highly regard the quality of the T-shirts, and are trying our best to make them on par with those of Europe, Japan and western nations. The T-shirts are of export quality. And, I feel glad that the brand has been getting recognition in the Nepali market for the quality it offers, he says. The T-shirts, however, are highly priced, starting from 800-1400 per piece.
He plans to take the brand to all major cities in Nepal within the next 5 years. For that, he has opened an outlet in Pokhara on July 1st this year and will be starting one in Narayangarh very soon. We are planning to take the brand to Dharan, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa and all major towns in the near future, he said.
Shakya says that making of a brand takes time. We are on the same way of developing JuJu as a brand, a home brand in the fabric sector, he says. We are making quality products on par with Bossini and Zara. While a T-shirt from Zara costs Rs.2500-3000 in Nepali market, those from us, having the same quality do not even cost Rs.1000. But, still, most Nepalese having money to spare opt for international brands over Nepali ones, he adds. The identity of Nepalese will be stronger if we could start to wear garments reflecting our own self.
All the designs in the T-shirts from JuJu reflect nationality. He designs the concepts, which the designers later turn into final shape. He has also designed a T-shirt with the quote by Abraham Lincoln “By the people, and for the people,” at around the time of promulgating the constitution of Nepal, reflecting the change in governance system in Nepal.
As of now, the T-shirts by JuJu Wears have been on sale only in Nepal though many Nepalese staying in abroad take these in bulk in their travel to abroad, as per Shakya. Online channel would have been a better and cost-effective way to export T-shirts abroad so that all the interested Nepalese could wear that. But, Nepal Rastra Bank has not yet opened the online payment channel, he expressed his thoughts on not being able to supply the products to the nations where Nepalese stay in a large number.
Sharing his thoughts on the garment industry in Nepal, he says that there are many opportunities in sector in this sector in Nepal and the country should again start to prioritize it. It is the lowest kind of industry that doesn’t need sophisticated equipment and experts to function. People even without much skills and training can do the work. As people have been going abroad for not getting a job here, we can hold them in Nepal itself if we develop back the industry employing as much number of people as possible, he expressed his thoughts about the current situation of the industry and the negligence of the state towards the industry that was one of the highly considered industry in the past.
As the material of the quality required is not available in Nepal, they have been importing these from China and India. But, they optimally use the facilities available in Nepal in the process of dyeing, printing and washing. They import only the things that are really not available in Nepal.
Being in the business for such a long time, he says that one’s life takes a turn after one gets into the business.
Giving a message to the youths, he says, “If you can, try to do good work to make the society better, if you can’t, don’t work to degrade it. There is no need to feel low for being a Nepali. We are equal to people from all other nations. We need to have self-respect. There are a lot of opportunities in Nepal. We can progress, staying in Nepal itself. The Working environment is getting better. All the educated people and those skills are going abroad. This is not good for the nation at all. Rather than going to abroad for earning, we should be finding ways to work in Nepal itself and contribute to the nation. Though the situation of all the industries is getting worse, the country needs to have energetic people, and those with brains to get developed.
Currently JuJu t-shirts are available at JuJu Wears in Jhamsikhel and Lazimpat, Karuna Natural Wears in Durbar Marg and Bindeshwori Plaza in Pokhara.
The extensive selection of Jujuwear prints are available at www.jujuwearsnepal.com.
Photos Courtesy: JuJu Wears
Presented by: Basanta Kumar Dhakal