LAMJUNG, Sept 9: Meet Sita Sunar of Besisahar. She just turned 21, was educated in Kathmandu, and runs a furniture business on her own. Might sound a little strange for a girl of her age in this small town.
Sita was raised in Besisahar. She completed her secondary-level education at the village and went to Kathmandu for further studies. When she returned home, she surprised her friends and family by working as a carpenter.
Now Sita has a furniture shop of her own.
It has been seven month since she started the business. She started with an investment of just Rs 400,000. At her store, she makes chairs, tables, beds, kitchen tables, desktop tables, kitchen racks, shop racks, book racks, wardrobes, showcases, and many other wooden items. Though, she has staff to help, she is often seen working on the furniture by herself. From wood-cutting to giving final touch to the furniture, Sita does everything.
Sita’s furniture store, registered as “Puma Furniture Industry”, has been selling regular furniture items with prices ranging from Rs 1,200 to 35,000. Upon receiving order, she also makes beds costing up to Rs 60,000. She made as much as Rs 150,000 a month going by the figures of the past six months.
“I don’t want to make quick cash by selling at expensive rates,” she said: “At the moment, I am focusing on increasing my customer base than to earn quick money.”
The quality of furniture depends upon the quality of woods. She said: “So I am selling my products convincing the customers on the quality, as I have been using best-quality wood. It will increase the goodwill of my industry, which I need in the beginning.”
She learned some of her skills at the local Lamjung Skill Development Foundation, a non-technical campus. She received two years’ training on carpentry and interior designing from the foundation.
Sita does not know how she started liking carpentry, but she realizes now that she has a passion for it. “I used to love wooden furniture since my childhood. I don’t know when this liking grew into a passion toward furniture business,” she said.
After the completion of her carpentry course, she went to Gorkha and Rasuwa districts and worked there for seven months. “I could not limit myself to a salaried job, so I started my own business,” Sita said.
Now she employs four persons in her little industry. Based on their work, she pays them a salary up to Rs 37,000 a month. She is planning to call her father back from Qatar to help her with the business.
It is hard for the customers to believe this young woman could be the owner of the shop. “Most of the customers come to me asking for the owner. When I tell them that I am the owner, they can’t believe.”
“In our traditional society, it is difficult for the girls,” she said: “We have to take steps to break this mindset and come forward as independent human beings.”