Jenisha Shrestha, co-founder of 1uta, a Nepali lifestyle brand that is mainly focused on apparel, confesses that she has always loved designing, crafting, and creating things. Even though she graduated with a business major, Shrestha mentions that assisting in the designing process of 1uta products has helped her keep in touch with her creative side.
Like a lot of entrepreneurs these days, Shrestha started her first business, White Soul Decor, through Instagram more than three years ago. “I have always been into DIYs and back then very few brands did DIYs or customized gifts. So, I thought why not start my own business based on these two things that were steadily gaining popularity in the Nepali market,” says Shrestha explaining why she launched White Soul Decor.
For almost two years after its launch, White Soul Decor was a home-based business and Shrestha managed the company all on her own. She says that since she had to attend college classes and study for her exams as well, she didn’t think having an office or an outlet for her business would be a good idea. After she graduated last year from Kathmandu University School of Management, she established an office for White Soul Decor in Anamnagar, Kathmandu.
Once White Soul Decor had gained enough traction, Shrestha and her brother, Jon Shrestha, the other co-founder of White Soul Decor, started planning to venture into the apparel business. After six months of careful planning, research and preparation, they launched 1uta early this year as the apparel subsidiary of White Soul Decor.
Till date, 1uta has only created about five different designs of bags and wallets – all of which utilize local fabrics. Shrestha states that not only are these fabrics easy to get hold of and restock but buying them will also support other Nepali businesses that make and sell these fabrics. Shrestha further claims that the brand has plans to come out with a range of different products including clothing in the future. She also states that she is heavily involved in all steps of production of 1uta products and personally uses all of the new products herself for at least a month or two to make sure they are of good quality and durable before putting them out for sale.
According to Shrestha, the two things 1uta is primarily focusing on right now are: maintaining the quality of all of their products and giving the best customer service. She mentions that even after the delivery of the products, the 1uta team keeps in touch with their customers to enquire how they feel about the products and get their feedback. This, she believes, will not only help them make good quality products but will also give their brand a lot of credibility.
Shrestha states that because White Soul Decor and 1uta are two (relatively small scale) sister-businesses, it makes sense to have the same administration and management look after both of these ventures. She adds that she has hired a designer who exclusively designs 1uta products and mentions that the two of them are frequently updating themselves on the kind of fashion trends that are prominent in the market and are always brainstorming and researching designs. “I believe you have to keep up with the trends and then get creative with it,” she says.
Currently, the 1uta team is mainly promoting their products through Instagram. They’re very active in this social media site and a lot of their customers actually buy their products via Instagram. They have also partnered with three local stores around Kathmandu – Evoke General Store, Alchi ko Pasal and Haat Bazar – and all of 1uta’s products are available at these outlets.
“Because our products are of high quality and really durable, a lot of people doubt our claims about manufacturing these items in Nepal,” says Shrestha. She adds that comments like these make her a little sad since people have this preconceived notion about all products manufactured in Nepal being of low quality – which isn’t always true. She explains that a lot of new local businesses that manufacture their products in Nepal are very concerned about quality and that it’s their top most priority. Shrestha hopes that as time passes more Nepalis support these local businesses instead of doubting their production quality. “I really hope more Nepalis start buying local and come to understand the value of promoting products made in Nepal,” she concludes.
This is a thoughtfully designed bag that can be used for college or work. It can fit all of your everyday essentials like laptop, sunglasses, books, and notebooks. Although Matina looks very stylish, its design is pretty modest and it will compliment any outfit you wear.
With a tagline of “I go where you go”, Sathi is a reliable friend that can carry your cash and cards securely while you hustle around. It’s slim, functional and can fit into every bag you own. It can also be used as a clutch.
Shrestha reveals that this bag was primarily created as a makeup pouch. It’s large, spacious and can fit all the standard make-up products. Shrestha mentions that she has seen some customers use it as a clutch.
Like Swaa, Nheela is a versatile pouch that can be used as a clutch and a makeup bag among other things. Like all 1uta products, the name of this pouch, Nheela, is a Nepali (more specifically, Newari) word that means ‘smile.’
Made from hand knitted fiber, Amalendu is the perfect tote bag for stylish minimalists. It’s spacious, durable and can work with any outfit.