Two brothers, Robin Sharma and Anup Sharma had nine years of experience in running the ‘Guitar Shop’ under their belt when they founded the ‘Mantra Guitar’ in 2017. After studying MBA in Media and Entertainment, in Mumbai, Robin and Anup began this journey with products that will help to change, connect and build art with music. From that point, they intended to produce affordable guitars that will change the people’s view towards the musical instruments.
Designed in Nepal, Mantra Guitars are assembled in China. They have their unique names for their products. The products are named ‘Karma’, ‘Avatar’, ‘Moksha’ and ‘Astitva’. The name gives uniqueness and depth to the products. “If your Karma is good, you’ll learn a lot. Likewise, ‘Avatar’ pictures as a manifestation the divine teacher; ‘Moksha’ represents freedom, salvation, and liberation from all karma; ‘Astitva’ represents the existence of being aware” say the Sharma brothers.
As asked the reason for choosing traditional names to the guitar, Robin replied, “We wanted to have guitars with understandable names. Also, we wanted to represent our country in world of guitar manufacturing.
The brothers consider Guitar Center, an American music retailer chain, as an inspiration for their guitar shops. However; they have a different inspiration for their business journey. Speaking on the situation before the launching of guitar, Robin said that he hardly saw people motivated toward music. Most people quit music because they couldn’t start their musical journey citing economic problems. He commented, “Having seen such difficult situations, different questions arose in my mind. I regularly questioned myself as to how I could contribute in enhancing the quality of music.” This question further led to making commitments in leaving no stones unturned to carry out our efforts to make music better.”
According to Anup, there is hardly any international Nepali company that supports music. “As per my knowledge, there are no Nepali international companies that lend a hand to the beautiful sound. Not witnessing such companies gave us the direction in having one.”According to the brothers, one year since their inception, they are going fully international.”
Helping the artists
Apart from designing guitars and ukuleles, Mantra Guitar helps upcoming artists from their earnings. From every guitar sold, Mantra Guitar separates 5$ for the ‘Artist Development Fund’ and they help the artists to establish themselves from those funds. It means whenever somebody buys the product, he/she is equally contributing to the development of the artists. Now, how are the funds used? Answering to the question, Anup replied, “The funds are used in recording and making videos of the artist they are funding. They will also help in arranging gigs and making PR for the artists.”
Sushant Ghimire is an artist that Mantra Guitars is helping in establishing a career in music. Ghimire said, “While I was jamming, they asked me if I had my original songs. I sang and after listening, they gave me a golden opportunity to start a singer’s life which I always dreamt of. I possibly couldn’t have thought of my career without Mantra Guitars.” Thanks to Mantra Guitars and the funds, Ghimire has already recorded his original song and currently is working on with the production of the video.
However, the selection process of an artist is even more surprising to know. They search the artist and listen to their original creations. Robin assured, “Originality is what we seek for. If somebody has an original piece, he or she must show his or her song: recorded on a phone or a video of their performance, they qualify. We just seek originality and passion in the artists.”
When the brothers were planning to initiate the shop, they were scared about the appreciation of the product. They were unsure what the people’s preference would be toward the guitars. As that challenge lies no more, they still face some obstacles. According to Anup, it’s hard to find artists to help them, as per their terms and conditions. “When we surf the internet to search the artists, we mostly find cover singers. It’s tough to find singers with their own compositions,” Anup said. Likewise, Robin considers not being able to roam around the far-flung areas to support artists as the biggest challenge. “We want to help people to start their musical career but we haven’t been able to do justice to every people in the country. There are lots of underrated artists who don’t have even the simplest of tools to send their songs to us so that we could help,” Robin lamented.
As the brothers have been in the guitar business through Guitar Shop for over a decade, they are disappointed on the manufacturing status of the country. Unable to manufacture guitars in Nepal, it’s only the design bit they are doing in the country.
Setting high goals
One thing that should be corrected is that Mantra Guitar is not established for the mere production of guitars. According to Anup, they will soon be making traditional Nepali instruments, drum sets, rhythm guitars, and bass guitars too. “Mantra is all about the holistic development of music rather than focusing only on guitars,” Anup guaranteed.
Apart from the guitars, they are also organizing talent show where artists can submit their original songs for review. Then, they will choose the best and groom them musically. Likewise, Robin wants Nepali music to go global. He added, “All of us have listened to Coldplay. But making the western people listen to our song is our ultimate goal.”