Aayusha Karki had just gotten back to Nepal when she came up with the idea of opening a contemporary jewelry brand. This was about a year and half ago and she had just returned home after completing her undergraduate course in public relations from a university in London. Karki was working at a company in Nepal where she met Sarvo Shakya, who now serves as the head craftsman at Meraki, and pitched the idea to him. They worked on it and launched Meraki soon after coming up with the concept.
Karki’s motivation for launching Meraki was the fact that Nepal did not have any contemporary jewelry brands. Even now, she claims that she does not think she has any real competition as such. She focuses on traditional designs with slightly modern alterations to it. She also makes sure her designs are cost effective and not unbelievably unaffordable.
Meraki is a Greek word that is used to describe doing things with love, creativity and soul. And that is what the brand is for Karki. She reveals that she was looking for a name for her brand during its early days but couldn’t find something that could give a real sense of what she wanted to portray. Finally she stumbled across the word ‘meraki’ and was immediately sure that was what she wanted the name of her brand to be.
“The hardest part of it all was managing every front of it. Other than my craftsmen, I’m still the only one working to manage the company. And running a whole brand on your own is not an easy task,” says Karki adding that, as of now, she is promoting her brand through its Instagram account.
Karki mentions that the designing process is pretty different for each jewelry piece. For simplistic designs, just making the outline of the piece takes about three to four days. For intricate pieces, the outlining of the piece takes more than a week. Though it is hard work, she loves every bit of it and says she gets the inspiration for her designs from everywhere she looks.
Once Karki has an idea of what she wants the next piece to look like, she has a long meeting with Shrestha and the crafting team to plan and sketch out what they want the designs to look like. Then they work on crafting the design and once everything is done, the product is out for sale. They mostly have designs incorporating a lot of stones. They craft everything from brass and then these pieces are gold plated for a good shine.
Meraki does not have its own outlet yet but you can check out their products at The Local Project Nepal and Evoke Café & Bistro in Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur. They also sell their products through their Instagram page. You just have to send them a message, and they are quick to respond as well. However, Karki claims that opening an outlet is at the top of her priority list.