October 26, 2018 08:37 AM NPT
By: Rea S Mishra
Photo: Pratik Rayamajhi
“These clothes don’t look good on me.”
“Look at the prices. I can’t afford this”
“I can’t find anything I want or like here.”
These are some common dilemmas we have all faced while shopping. You might find clothes you like, but they won’t be the right size and will look frumpy. You find the right size but then they will be too expensive. You might be able to afford it but you won’t like the quality. Shopping for clothes can be a difficult and taxing experience in Nepal, a place where most clothes are brought from abroad and may not cater to the styles and body types of consumers here.
Dressmandu is looking to change that. Though they too bring their clothes from Bangkok, China, India, and Bangladesh, they make sure that they meet the requirements of people residing here. “Not only do I personally go check out the kind of clothes to bring to the store, but we take into account what the customers claim they want before putting them on display at the store as well,” says Sumi Chhetri, proprietor of Dressmandu, adding that she knows many storeowners are guilty of blindly asking stores abroad to send clothes without even seeing them once.
It’s been four years since Dressmandu opened its doors at the Woodland Complex in Durbar Marg, Kathmandu. Chhetri talks about how the fashion scene in Nepal was a whole lot different then than it is now, and how there weren’t even a quarter of the number of stores there are now. “When I opened Dressmandu four years ago, we were one of the few stores and online stores around that sold quality products. I personally believe this is also why we have such a solid customer base, being both one of the oldest and most reliable stores around,” she adds. She further goes on to say how customers from out of the valley too make it a point to come and visit the store whenever they are in Kathmandu.
Chhetri credits most of Dressmandu’s success to Instagram where it has around 25 thousand followers. “Instagram really helped me build my customer base. Most customers who visit the store tell me that they found us through Instagram. And, of course, a large number of our customers scroll through our feed and shop online on our store,” she explains.
However, Chhetri talks about how besides Instagram, she hasn’t really been interested in media publicity as she likes to convey her store and what it is about herself through Instagram. And she also really wants people to actually come and visit the store as well. That is also why Chhetri herself replies to all the queries people put up on social media. She believes, as the most informed person about all the products, she can convey everything well and clear her customer’s doubts and help them out that way.
While Chhetri claims that Instagram aided Dressmandu’s success, there is no doubt that her hard work is also what made Dressmandu stand out from the rest. Not only was Chhetri really young when she opened the store, she started the business with her own funds. “Though I had just completed my masters, I had saved up money from a few jobs here and there, such as when I worked at a consultancy and an INGO, to open Dressmandu,” she says.
Chhetri further claims that she always knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur and work for herself rather than under anyone else, and that since she was always a shopaholic and fashion fanatic, she decided fashion would be the perfect area for her to start her own business. Since Dressmandu did really well from its initial days, Chhetri kept on reinvesting on it. The range of products kept getting bigger and bigger and now the store has a lot of variety for its customers to choose from.
One of Dressmandu’s best assets is that they have all types of clothes. Plus size, extra small, casual wear, and fancy party wear – you name it and they have your covered. They have further just opened a different line for plus size wear for all those who have a hard time fitting into clothes when they go shopping. And soon they are planning to launch a men’s line as well.
However, Chhetri claims that they aren’t thinking of opening any branches just yet. “While customers from outside the valley have been requesting that we open branches in other areas too, we don’t have plans for that just yet,” she says adding that, for the time being, she wants to focus on the store in Kathmandu itself. She further mentions how opening branches in other cities would make the name of the store lose its essence, as the name Dressmandu partly comes from the name of the city it’s located in – Kathmandu. But people residing outside Kathmandu needn’t be disheartened either as Dressmandu provides worldwide delivery.
Chhetri also talks about how she’s trying to make her business more family oriented. “The most important thing to me in my life is family. I love working in a team with them always and I guess they do too. My younger brother works here at the store with me, and my sister is both a model and a stylist for us. We are all loving our time here together,” she adds.
At Dressmandu, you can get clothing items such as shorts, skirts, shirts, pants and dresses. And then there are also accessories like purses, shoes, bags, and Korean and Thai makeup too. Dressmandu tries to incorporate products that will cater to women of all ages, not just teenagers. Not only that, the collection includes all new fashion trends. Chhetri mentions that they don’t want to stick to just one trend or be lost in trends that are already outdated. A really good thing is that the prices are reasonable and though they vary according to the item and where it’s coming from, you will feel like you are getting your money’s worth. The store is open every single day of the week from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Keeping it casual
Oversized champ shirt: Rs1800
Denim shorts: Rs 1200
Fanny pack: Rs 1800
Black shoes: Rs 2400
Black sunglasses: Rs1000
This is the perfect casual outfit for a day out. Whether it’s shopping, going out to eat with your friends, or a movie date, this outfit can be your go-to ensemble. With the narcissistic “CHAMP” printed in block letters on an oversized black shirt to make you feel cool and confident, paired with beautiful blue denim shorts, a fanny pack to store some essentials, and sunglasses to beat the heat, this is the most comfortable outfit you can wear when the sun’s shining bright.
While you would think that the outfit was a pretty, casual one at first with the beautiful black boho top and basic denim shorts, the sunglasses and slippers will change your mind. With studs placed perfectly around the slippers and the sunglasses glinting gold in the sun, these two items will give your outfit a much-needed edge. The bag will perfectly complement the ensemble while holding all your necessities.
Maroon velvet wrap top: Rs 1650
Black flared pants: Rs 2499
White bag: Rs 3400
Black heels: Rs 3000
Ever wanted to feel fashionable and appropriately dressed for work at the same time? This can be just the outfit for you. You really can’t go wrong by pairing a beautiful maroon velvet wrap top with long black flared pants and big black heels. Add a sleek white bag and be prepared to look stylish and professional at the same time.
This outfit screams basic and extra at the same time. When you can’t decide whether to go over the top or play it cool, this is what you can wear. With a plain basic fitting black t-shirt, which anyone can pull off, and a funky animal print crop jacket with a cute denim skirt and plain white shoes, you will be looking casual and cool at the same time.