Rivers follow channels, and our blood follows the path set by our veins. This is the natural order of things, which means, to reach anywhere meaningful in life, one has to follow a proper path, a proper line. This applies in nature as well as in the human realm. Dhwo: is an online business platform that derives its name from the Newari word meaning “Lines”, implying that it is a business that embraces the principle that lines play a vital role in the development of thoughts and ideas as well as forms the basis for all art and design.
Dhwo: was started by two students of Kathmandu University of Arts and Design and Srijana College of Fine Arts, Jyoti Shrestha and Luniva Shakya, to sell stylish renditions of common consumable goods via the internet.
“We wanted to express our design skills by fusing the beauty of art with the potency of entrepreneurship, and that desire gave birth to Dhwo:”, says Shrestha, “We specialise in making goods more artistic, and thus, more desirable with the essence of Nepal.”
Tagging their Art skills with Entrepreneurship
They began their journey online through Facebook with the creation of the page Dhwo:Design Studio. The first project they undertook was Paw:La Series, where, in Newari Language, the word “Palah” means “Footsteps or the first steps to a new journey”. So, the word Paw:La represents a Dog’s Paw and their new journey of products of Dog Accessories Made in Nepal.
“In light of the recent rise in dog adoption in the valley, it felt reasonable for us to start with dog accessories. We thus started with Dog accessories and toys – Dog Collars of various designs, varieties of Dog Leashes and Dog Harnesses along with different shaped toys for your playful dogs. We tagged them with self-designed graphic tags to give them a further tailored look.” Shrestha shares.
The two students artfully used their skills to design an entire set of accessories from the ground-up. They managed to create a set of 14 different accessories and introduced them as Paw:La series on the day of Kukkur Tihar of 2076.
Dhwo: aims to promote products made in Nepal while responding to the newest fashion trends. They have narrowed down their market segmentation to dog lovers and people who have a weakness for fashionable dog accessories. They have succeeded in gaining popularity in barely five months, with increasing demand due to positive word-of-mouth.
In a Chain of Process
When asked about the secret behind their happy customers, co-founder Shrestha reveals, “From the very beginning, we have always followed a planned line and process of working with regards to design style, colour combinations, sizes and so on.” She further added that they would pre-test the products on the dogs themselves to make sure they worked. Only after thorough quality testing, would they send the product for manufacture.
“Our Dhaka Customised Accessories have been the most well-received so far. The unique concept of using dhaka designs for dog accessories and collars with Bow Set in varieties of Color options, Camo prints and Dhaka patterns seems to have grabbed public imagination.” Shrestha fondly states.
They had started promoting their business through their family and friends. It has now accelerated through Facebook, Instagram, Maya ko Chino Shop, Daraz and the occasional pop-up stalls.
The initial start-up investment was little more than Rs. 50,000 which they had to raise out of their own pockets, to finance the production of the first line of 14 products. “The dog accessories was a hit idea since people would purchase them saying ‘I would put this fancy collar on my dog for my birthday’ The variety in colours and designs would elicit responses like, ‘It matches with my dress colour and the colour of my eyes’”, the co-founder shares with laughter.
They didn’t snap into success overnight though. They had to make the classic up-hill journey of hard work and perseverance. “It was hard to convince people to buy our products because they are made in Nepal. People reflexively doubted the quality.” Shrestha says. They faced the challenge of making people understand that the price for their products was high due to them being manufactured in Nepal instead of being imported in bulk at a low price.
They ensured quality and saved money by doing most of the work by themselves: from design to manufacture, sales and promotion. “Yet this heavy load is barely a burden” Shrestha adds, “because we enjoy working and experimenting with our designs.”
Tug Bones of Dhwo:
They confess that satisfied customers and their positive feedback have always been their tugging element to keep sustaining the business. “Our mothers have also played key roles in keeping our hopes up and inspiring us to continue in times of difficulty. Without their support and appreciation, we wouldn’t be able to keep going” says Shrestha.
Theirs is a story of passion. The line they followed started from their hearts, and we cannot wait to see where it’ll lead them. Without their family’s support, it would be difficult, but without their belief in their own talents, it would be impossible. To learn more about Dhwo: visit https://www.facebook.com/Dhwo_designstudio-110750497017485/ or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org