With more and more people talking about how products should be organic, sustainable and eco-friendly, it isn’t a surprise that a lot of the newly launched Nepali brands are following this route. And although a majority of Nepalis have always emphasized the use of organic products over factory produced ones, it has only been a few years since the youths have started taking an active interest in making and using organic products. If you want to go the organic way, here are some Nepali brands that you might want to consider for your needs.
Although Phoebe Bhattarai had been toying with the idea of launching her own range of organic skincare products since early 2018, things only worked out for her last year and she co-founded Organic Originals in September 2019 with her two friends, Aayush Pant and Buddha Tamang. Like Rana, Bhattarai used to make these products for herself and her family and friends and after getting positive feedback from them regarding her products, she thought they were finally ready for sale.
Organic Originals currently sells lip balms in three flavors and body butters and Bhattarai mentions that they are planning to increase their range of products in the future. All the products are currently available at Local Project Nepal and Le Sherpa, and interested customers can also buy the products through the brand’s Instagram account.
Because the brand is still in its nascent stage, the three co-founders of Organic Originals make all the products themselves. Bhattarai claims that they put a lot of thought and effort into making sure that everything they are using is organic, environmentally friendly and reusable. Additionally, she also mentions that the brand sources all raw materials locally, only uses either biodegradable or reusable materials to package the products and tries its best to be as low waste as possible during the manufacturing process.
“I think it’s very important we raise an issue about products being environmentally friendly and organic in the current (environmental) climate. A lot of the mass produced items we use are severely damaging the environment and our health as well. So, I hope more people look into products like ours,” says Bhattarai. She also reveals that she initially got interested in making and trying out organic products when she realized she had sensitive skin and the parabens found in cosmetics and skincare products were causing further problems.
In the future, Bhattarai says Organic Originals will try to export the products to other countries around the world as well. Bhattarai mentions that a lot of foreigners who buy the products (at either Le Sherpa or Local Project Nepal) really like them and buy four to five extra packets before going back to their country. They have also previously asked the Organic Originals team to start shipping their products internationally so the team is currently figuring out the best way to do that. “But our main concern will always be making good quality products and upholding the trust our customers seem to have in us,” concludes Bhattarai.
It seems like with every passing day, our society is trudging further and further away from consuming healthy and wholesome food. We are eating more fast food and junk food than ever before and even if we try to eat healthy—cooking food by ourselves—chances are that doesn’t have much nutritional value. Also, alarming as it might sound, most of the food we consume today is laden with pesticides, synthetic fertilizers. and preservatives. So, the only way we can be sure that what we eat is healthy and nutritious is by actively seeking out and buying from vendors who exclusively sell organic produce and food items.
One such Nepali company is Kathmandu Organics, a digital fair trade marketplace that sells local, organic and homemade products. Launched in late 2017, Kathmandu Organics operates as an online platform that connects customers directly to the farmers so that organic grocery can be traded at a price that is reasonable to both the buyer and the seller. The company is currently sourcing products from farmers and producers from 30 different districts of Nepal. So, they have a variety of products listed on their website for sale. From frozen blackberries, honey, spices, fresh vegetables and grains to jams, dairy products, chocolates and aachar, there is a lot you can get here.
The two founders of the company, Bhuwan KC and Nisha Taujale, started Kathmandu Organics after coming to find out how difficult it is for farmers to sell their produce in the market at a price that is worth all the hard work they have put into cultivating the food item. KC and Taujale, who previously worked at Green City Hospital and WorldLink respectively, actually learned farming after finishing a course on it and worked on the fields for a while. “It was during this time that we realized the main problem for farmers is selling their products at an appropriate price rather than not being able to produce food items,” says KC.
Currently, Kathmandu Organics has an outlet at Baluwatar in Kathmandu where interested customers can drop by to examine the products themselves before making a purchase. Buyers can also order items online through Kathmandu Organic’s website or Facebook page. Although, till date, the company has only been delivering within Kathmandu, they are planning to expand their operations to three other cities in Nepal,namely, Butwal, Chitwan and Pokhara, within the first quarter of 2020.
Rays and Nuts
Shristi Rana, founder of the nut butter brand Rays and Nuts, has been an advocate for healthy eating for quite some time now. As nut butters are known for being very nutritious (high in protein and healthy fats), Rana decided to launch her own home based brand to promote healthy eating among Nepalis. So, Rays and Nuts was actually conceptualized in August 2019 with the aim to promote good health among the masses.
In addition to being an organic brand, Rays and Nuts is also eco-friendly and sustainably sourced. Rana claims that she buys almost everything required for the brand from local vendors and mentions that her main commitment is to produce, sell and maintain the quality of her products. “Because we don’t add any preservatives, the shelf life of our products is a little shorter than your usual nut butters but nuts produce an oil of their own that acts as a natural preservative. So our products last anywhere between five to six months in general,” she says.
Before she started selling nut butter commercially, Rana used to make these for herself and her friends and family when they asked for it. She says that ever since she started taking care of her body seriously—by exercising intensely and regularly, and adopting healthier eating habits—she had been looking to buy organic nut butters in Nepal. After failing to find a single brand that sold these, she planned to launch Rays and Nuts to sell homemade nut butter herself. “The positive reviews from my family and friends who tried out the nut butter I made encouraged me a lot,” she says.
In the five months it has been up and running, Rays and Nuts has been met with overwhelming love and support from customers. Rana says that she never thought her brand would become so popular and that too so soon. A lot of her customers have been spreading the word about the products and come back themselves to buy more butters as soon as they finish their last purchase. Rana, who previously made all of the butters herself, hired a staff a few weeks ago for this task because it’s getting difficult for her to handle everything on her own. She reveals that she is training her staff in all aspects of running a business and is planning to recruit more women in the future and train them as well in order to empower them.
Currently, all of Rays and Nuts products are sold at Evoke Café, Maya ko Chino, Cafe Fika and the Farmer’s Market at Bouddha.