Whenever we think about artistic decors, ceramic products are what best captures our imagination to adorn the shelves of our homes. The delicacy of ceramics tends to light up the eyes of visitors as well as your own, doesn’t it? Cera Nepal is one of those companies that makes such instances of beauty possible. It makes pottery that enthralls your senses with the beauty of authentic handmade ceramic products from kitchen decors, tiles to art pieces. The blend of traditional pottery techniques with the tint of modern ceramics is an entrepreneurial idea that has seldom been explored.
Shaping cultural values with business
Cera Nepal is surprisingly not a newly established company. It had operated almost unnoticed within the confines of Bhaktapur city for a long time. The essence of their traditional pottery art finally managed to reach the wider public when it was officially set up in 1984 by Mr. Ratna Prasad Prajapati as a ceramics company. His interest and dedication to his family skill of pottery made him explore the entrepreneurship journey from an early age of 14 years.
“It was my father’s idea to produce handmade ceramic products and start this unique business employing our generational pottery skills. He wanted to preserve our culture but also blend it with the essence of modern ceramics.” shares Ms. Alina Prajapati, Managing Director of Cera Nepal.
Smiling with a handful of clay
Since the establishment of the company, the motto has always been to blend the clay of cultural preservation with business. With a motive to promote the art of ceramics, Cera Nepal has also been open to providing pottery lessons to anyone who would like to learn the art form.
“It’s a joy for us to witness people coming with families, friends, and children and try their hands on pottery and take away fun memories. It feels like the revival of our culture and acknowledgment of the art,” says Ms. Prajapati happily.
Trending in social media presently, Cera Nepal has been accelerating its pottery sessions among the local populace. This has helped in bringing in more customers and assisted in keeping the business alive.
Creation of the Art
Molding through the generational skills of making pottery, Mr. Prajapati had supplemented their techniques with touches of modern ceramic artistry. Playing with the clay, he tweaked the designs into something that feels fresh and original while still retaining the cultural identity. Today the original handmade products are in demand in hotels, restaurants, and home decors all over the country. The company also receives orders of various custom designs that they skillfully deliver with the personal touch of an artist and the efficiency of a well-oiled enterprise.
Into the puddle of Competition
Competition in the entrepreneurship journey is inevitable. “The competition on the price is something we are challenged with all the time. The minimum value we get for our handmade efforts is not enough to cover the prices of the raw materials and technology used. Also, the skilled manpower required to make these products is challenging enough by itself. Therefore, we take risks in price all the time.” sadly expresses Ms. Prajapati, “We are trying our best to increase the availability of local products and traditional art forms in the market.”
Lockdown with Pots and Clay
Needless to say, the COVID-19 lockdown has impacted the business of Cera Nepal in negative ways: From having a long line of customers to extremely limited orders. The effect on the staff and the difficulty in getting the raw materials have also made it difficult for them to manage the company.
She continues, “We are only producing 10% of our capacity due to the lockdown. 90% of our business has been hampered as hotels and restaurants are closed along with other businesses. However, the pottery session was a small achievement during the lockdown when people visited to experience pottery creation as a stress-relieving activity.”
Ms. Prajapati reveals that she has learned the importance of starting small with your interests and passions, “If you never start, you will never know what happens. Especially for local products, it’s vital to have the courage and patience to establish it in the local market.” Once you have established firm roots in your home soil, you can gradually build the confidence to reach out to the sky.