‘Nepalko’ is an e-commerce marketplace that connects local producers with global consumers digitally.
Today Nepalese are in almost every country across the globe. And they long for the Nepali products and have to rely on friends and families to send such products to them. Also, a lot of foreigners visit Nepal and like Nepali products but due to logistics problem, cannot buy and take such products with them. What if there was a solution to these problems that could deliver any authentic Nepali product to anywhere in the world? This is where Nepalko comes into the picture. It is a unique solution to address the above problems as well as promote the locally produced or manufactured products in the international market. “Nepalko” literally translates to “Nepal’s” and it is an endeavor to connect the global consumers with local producers. Started by Rijesh Shrestha and Nabin Chettri, the e-commerce market place has got customers from countries like the USA, Belgium, Thailand, China, and India, in a very short span of time. It is not only the products that “Nepalko” is focussing on but the interesting stories of the local manufacturers, suppliers and artisans, as well.
In the middle of every problem lies an opportunity. This is highly relevant when we talk about opportunities in Nepal. In between “there are no platforms and opportunities in Nepal”, the founders identified a unique problem and used it as an opportunity to create their own pathway with “Nepalko”. With the mission to create something of their own which is impactful and innovative, the founders worked on various ideas initially. After extensive research, the founder duo finally identified this problem and they leaped on to this journey to make their mission a reality in June 2019. They have never looked back since they met their first supplier.
To the founders, the joy of creating and building this venture is definitely beyond measures:
“While looking for locally manufactured products in Nepal, consumers still have difficulty in finding a one-stop-solution that comprises a wide range of products made in Nepal. We have started Nepalko, that literally means ‘Nepal’s’ in native Nepali language, to connect consumers looking for reliable products to producers with limited technical and financial resources to have their own online presence.”
Nabin further elaborates:
“Nepalko gives access to ‘Made in Nepal’ products easily, saves time, energy, and additional costs otherwise incurred along with the efforts consumers have to put searching for a reliable and satisfying product in the market. So, this basically gives ‘ease of access’ to the consumers worldwide to Nepali products. Besides ‘ease of access’, we aim to promote the hard-working producers, artisans and local small businesses that deserve the attention for their incredible dedication towards making the products.”
A Venture with the Social Impact
Various reports and market analysis show that Nepali brands do not have the visibility and presence at the global scale. People have very little idea about the authentic Nepali brands and the locally produced products when the local market itself is flooded with a lot of international brands and products manufactured abroad. Even if we visit any departmental store, we barely find locally produced goods on their shelves. In such a context, Nepalko may go a long way in providing a platform for domestic goods and even be the first step towards strengthening the domestic manufacturing industry as a whole. Rijesh passionately explains how thrilled the suppliers were to know that their products will be promoted online and they will be reaching a lot more customers without having to incur a huge cost.
“Our customers are excited too. We continuously monitor their feedback and its mostly invigorating. They are really happy to get authentic and unique Nepali products just with the click.” says Nabin.
‘Authenticity’ is the motto that Nepalko imbibes. Accordingly, we aim to create an ecosystem by making it a one-stop solution for local products. This initiative ultimately aims to foster local entrepreneurship and economic growth with the merit of preserving Nepali culture and heritage by promoting the authentic products.” says Rijesh.
Besides the business aspect, Nepalko has been collaborating with organizations that train and support differently-abled people and orphans to promote the products made by such skill-full artisans on the Nepalko platform. With Nepalko, these differently-abled artisans are able to sell handmade candles, thangka and many more products. This certainly is commendable and showcases the Nepalko’s effort to ‘work for a cause not for applause’ along with their belief in ‘big impacts through small initiatives’.
“Profits are definitely the most essential part of a business for its survival and sustainability, but the social impact we have made in supporting those families, encourages us to work even harder.”, shares Mr. Rijesh Shrestha.
A Journey filled with Challenges
Starting a business is like building your own ship yourself and embarking on a voyage of uncharted territory, armed with a plan, a map, and a team. You will have to sail against storms and uncertainty. The idea is to never let the ship sink in the first place but even if such a scenario arises, then you only let the ship sink and not your team and the aspirations. This has been the “mantra” that has helped the Nepalko team to come this far.
“In the beginning, we had limited knowledge about all the legal procedures, quality assurance, and it was surely a challenge to navigate through these complex procedures. Another problem was the unavailability of a direct international payment gateway to facilitate hassle-free international payment transactions. Also, a lot of domestic customers asked questions like ‘why buy Nepali products’, which are comparatively expensive than foreign products? Hence, the challenge to convince the market is also there and we have been working to tackle one challenge at a time.“, states Rijesh, when asked about the various challenges they have encountered so far.
Discussing about other challenges Nabin remembers how the customers were anxious about the products available in “Nepalko”.
“We even sent additional items for the customers to choose from if they had any issues regarding the quality.” recalls Nabin.
Learning With Experience
“We certainly understand that entrepreneurship is not a one day sprint but a marathon. Accordingly, we strive to learn and grow with each challenge we overcome and this has helped us and our venture to evolve each day into a better version.”, says Rijesh to Udhyami Nepali.
In the beginning, it is very obvious that there are many confusions and insecurities. But eventually, things start falling into place, all you need is to keep going and take the required action. Nepalko within a short span has been able to overcome many challenges and hence there has been as many lessons for Rijesh, Nabin and their Nepalko team. The Nepalko story certainly outlines the importance of continuous improvement along the way and facing challenges with a smiling face. The Nepalko founders proudly enlist the skills they have learnt so far after working on Nepalko.
“Effective communication, understanding and managing people, building networks and working as a team, are some crucial learnings along the way. This has helped us build a foundation on which numerous other things can be achieved.”
The Journey Ahead
The ‘Nepalko’ team aims to collaborate with local brands with unique and authentic marketable products to expand their offerings to the international markets in the days to come.
We are honored to learn about the vision Nepalko and its team have We are inspired by their idea and vision of Nepalko to promote homegrown products and support the small and medium business, which are very important building blocks of the Nepali economy. Do spread the words about this amazing venture. The local producers and brands would certainly benefit from the collaboration. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to us for further information!
Do you love reading our stories?
What do you want to read about next? Do you have any feedback or advice? Please help us improve and bring more interesting contents by providing your inputs and feedbacks using the contact form.