Dhaasoo Deals’ Nitesh Sharma seems to really enjoy making his visitors at their Kupondole shop play the guessing game. He points at random products on their store shelves and asks you to guess what they are made of. Brace yourself for some disappointment; chances are you will never get it right on the first try. It’s all a result of their quest to “explore new ideas, reuse, upcycle and create something Dhaasoo”.
Sharma first floated the idea among the netizens almost two year ago. He posted a self made dimpled lamp made of an old whisky bottle on Hamrobazaar. It was apparently sold within a week. Though Dhaasoo Deals wasn’t officially running then, Sharma considers it his first prototype.
Then there were the series of DIY hookahs made from scratch with gardening tools, old alcohol bottles, and other knickknacks. Those keen DIY fans might remember spotting them here and there back then. It was quite popular. He says some even made it to Lukla, some to New Zealand as well as America.
“People were giving it as gifts to their friends or, depending on the brand of the bottle used, being bought by enthusiastic collectors,” he explains, “Simply put, people were amused. It was something new and interesting.”
Their popularity and sales raised an intriguing question: Why wasn’t anybody thinking about making these DIY products commercial? Even abroad, where this trend of ‘Doing It Yourself’ has massively picked up, there aren’t any businesses capitalizing on their end products. With Dhaasoo Deals, Sharma reveals he wants to give it a try.
However, he too is wary about people’s concerns about this kind of reuse and upcycle projects. The quality of their products initially was something that, he confesses, he too wasn’t completely satisfied with. So despite the early interest from buyers, just two months after creating a bit of a buzz with their DIYs, he decided to take Dhaasoo Deals into hibernation. The idea, back then, was apparently to roll out a proper plan, team, refine their ideas, and come up with 15-20 more designs before becoming fully active.
Now, by the looks of it, those issues have been taken care of and Dhaasoo Deals has been wowing people with the products on their Instagram page these days. This time around, they also have an office space that doubles as a shop as well as a warehouse, and a team of carpenters. The concept of reusing, upcycling and creating something “Dhaasoo” though remains unchanged.
Currently, where individual products are concerned, they have mostly chosen to build up on their light collection. All the scraps that you would find in any scrap/junkyards from car pistons, various metal pipes, car tires, gas burners, generator mufflers (a one of a kind model, he says) all find themselves morphed into ready-to-be-sold light settings.
Then there are the random products: A batman coffee table, coffee stirrers phone case, a car tire speaker and so on it goes. They have basically been made as per fancy or individual requests. Either way, the DIYs are still amusing.
“It’s all about spotting possibilities. Many seem not to realize, but we have learned to spot the potential in things that people throw away,” says Sharma.
He says he makes it a point to consistently visit these scrap yards to recover pieces and parts that might be useful as well as approach hotels and restaurants for used bottles. Sharma reveals it’s not always easy to negotiate but, with patience, he does get his hands on the required materials.
Then there is the team of carpenters. Sharma reveals his initial struggle while trying to find carpenters willing to do experimental work. “Most carpenters were only used to working a certain way and making the usual furniture. They didn’t see the point in investing hours on things that might not work out. After all, even now, a lot of the work are hit and miss projects,” he says.
Fortunately, things started falling in place when he was introduced to a carpenter who claimed to be bored with his usual work. Today, together, they fiddle around with many ideas.
For instance, Sharma shows us pictures of a car that they sawed in half to make an office desk. This was apparently at the request that came from the head of Golchha organization. When they speak of exploring new ideas, reusing and upscaling, they surely aren’t kidding around. Sharma says their receptiveness to experimentation has actually made Dhaasoo Deals more popular among clients looking for innovative interior designers. This side gig of theirs is reportedly proving to be more beneficial to the business than their individual products.
“Consumers still are slightly reserved about DIY products. They are either suspicious of handmade products or have very high expectations and expect to see the shine and gleam of factory made goods,” elaborates Sharma, “So while we are trying to gain grounds on that, the interior assignments are going comparatively better.”
With Dhaasoo Deals, Sharma also wants to spread another message. They want to encourage people to develop a habit of thinking before throwing things away. He is quite baffled with all that he has found at junkyards. A1985 SLR camera, first of its kind, a 1957’s rotary dial telephone, a 1950 gas jerry can used by the British Gorkhas in the World War II and even an iPad in his office were all salvaged from scrap collectors.
Rather than, tossing those things away, Sharma informs, they would happily take donations or if the owners are looking for payment, they will also consider the option. At Dhaasoo Deals, there is a constant effort to create value where others might not have seen any.