July 21, 2017 08:51 AM NPT
Hajuri Bista’s journey from housewife to entrepreneur started with her spending six months searching for skill development training programs till she finally got an opportunity at WEAN, Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal. This was 24 years ago. Today, Bista owns the pickle brands, Navaras and Kitchen Recipe. Both the brands specialize in pickles made with Nepali spices.
“Interest and knowledge are the two main prerequisites for starting any venture,” says Bista adding that she was always interested in making pickles but didn’t have the knowledge to go large-scale with the idea of starting a pickle business till she received training at WEAN. Navaras is currently marketed by WEAN whereas Kitchen Recipe is marketed under Hajuri Khadya Udhyog and it produces 46 different varieties of pickles.
Bista also own the restaurant Achar Ghar at Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur, and the restaurant serves the pickles alongside customer’s food orders. However, you can also buy the bottled pickles here as well after you have sampled it. With two pickle brands, and the newly opened restaurant, it might look like Bista has it all figured out now but she reveals that she is still learning the ropes and every day is a new experience. Though she has many loyal customers, she still has to tackle many problems on a daily basis to sustain the business.
“One of the main problems has been to set a standard rate for our products,” says Bista explaining that since they make the pickles from locally available produces and fluctuation of prices is a regular thing, it’s become tricky to set a fixed price. “It’s not practical or feasible for us to keep changing the prices of our products. Due to this when the prices of raw ingredients we use increase, we tend to suffer from losses,” she explains. Besides this, she also has to work extra hard to maintain the earned trust and goodwill because of the increasing competition in the market today.
“I might be a successful entrepreneur today but whenever I look back at my journey, the one thing I regret the most is getting trained very late in life,” says Bista adding that there are many opportunities for women today but there weren’t that many when she started out. She mentions that if there had been ample opportunities, she would have started with the venture earlier and that would have meant she would’ve had more foothold in the business sector today.
But despite the hurdles and late start, Bista has definitely come a long way. Along with being a successful entrepreneur, she is also contributing as the immediate past president of WEAN after serving as the president for three years. She believes that empowering women will empower an entire family and that, in turn, will empower the society and nation. “Women empowerment is a progressive step that will lead to development,” says Bista who is looking forward to gathering more variety of pickles from all around Nepal and not only expanding her business that way, but making different flavors of Nepal a part of every Nepali household.