It all started, at the beginning of 2015, with a research project which dove into economic women empowerment in the handicraft sector of Nepal. It quickly depicted that a lot of the programs would not be financially sustainable (financially independent from grant or donation money) the way the business models were set up. Underlying this main issue lies a myriad of complex issues. For example, the product prices were set far too cheap to be financially viable. This meant the further reliance upon donations and/or grants and skewing competition (from unrealistic low prices) in the sector. In addition, the products had a multitude of quality inconsistencies. Individuals involved in the women’s empowerment programs often had financial illiteracy, further jeopardizing the financial viability. Finally, the production of products were not based on market demands. They were often based on what other organizations were already producing and attempting to under-cut competitor prices.
It is a stretch, in our opinion, to call an economic women empowerment program “successful” if it continues to necessitate grants or donations. The idea arose to do quality products with a modern, appealing design based on the handicraft skills already existing in Nepal. We would then attempt to sell them for a price which would allow the skilled craftswomen behind the scenes to live from the profits. That meant, as well, we would not be able to sell our products for cheap. We pitched the idea to several organizations, but the dominant feedback stated that: the way we wanted to produce, including various craftsman skills, would be far too expensive and that we should focus on producing cheaper products.
We were convinced that our idea could be a way out of the grant/ donation dependency cycle. That is when the first products were sampled…
Now, a few years later, we have been growing organically, slowly, and steadily without grant and donation money. The launch of our website was the next logical step in our journey… and now here we are!
Thanks to everybody who has been and will be part of that journey!