An enterprise that promotes sustainability and also takes a step to protect the environment.
Sahaj Sinnya, a resident of Pulchok, Lalitpur, has been using products from Kashyapi Nepal since 2020. Sinnya, who came to know about Kashyapi Nepal through his friends, bought a shacket for the first time in 2020, which he found really stylish, comfortable, and the fabric to be of good quality. "I have been a regular buyer since then," he says, adding, "Not only do they have good products, but they are also friendly and provide good customer service."
Another customer, Krijen Maharjan, recalls the first product of Kashyapi Nepal that he bought in around 2018. "I had bought a fur jacket, which I still have and use as it is in good condition. I must say that it is actually long-lasting," he shares. According to Maharjan, good quality fabric, the right price, being comfortable, and trendy design are some of the other qualities of Kashyapi Nepal products.
However, both of them suggest that besides top-wear, bringing more other wear like pants, shorts, and trousers could be a plus point for Kashyapi Nepal and they could also cater to more customers with these products. They also claim that the brand has broken their notion that the clothes of Nepali brands are not of good quality but highly expensive.
Kashyapi Nepal is the brainchild of a young graduate, Kishan Shrestha. Formally established three years ago, Kashyapti Nepal is a "Made in Nepal" digital fashion brand that produces sustainable and eco-friendly clothes. Prior to starting his own business, he spent his high school years working for a textile company in Thaiba, Lalitpur. While working there, he learned the know-hows of the textile and clothing businesses. Along with the strengths, he also came to know about the pollution created by the fashion industry. So, he decided to start a value-based clothing business that is sustainable, slow fashion-oriented, and environmentally friendly.
Shrestha had already started working on his idea of bringing sustainable clothes while he was working for the textile company. He worked for the company for around three and a half years before starting Kashyapi Nepal.
The word ‘Kashyapi’ comes from a Sanskrit word which means "the Earth." As the name suggests, Kashyapi Nepal produces clothes that are sustainable, last longer and are environmentally friendly. "At Kashyapi Nepal, we follow the slow fashion trend and focus more on quality than quantity," says Kishan Shrestha, founder of Kashyapi Nepal.
Targeting an age group of 18 to 35, this slow fashion brand produces products for both men and women, such as jackets, t-shirts, shirts, coats, joggers, shackets, hoodies, and sweatshirts. Shrestha informs that they use natural and sustainable fabrics such as cotton, cotton twill, bamboo and recycled fabrics to make the products.
Recently, they have made a leather wallet that is tanned through a vegetable tanning process. Although leather is available in Nepal, it is mostly tanned using chemical called chromium, which is not good for the environment, he explains. Chromium-tanned leather is not biodegradable and results in serious water pollution. He could not find vegetable tanned leather in Nepal, so he sourced it from India and made leather out of it, which was liked very much by the customers. Apart from this, Shrestha asserts that they make all the products in an eco-friendly way. The products of Kashyapi Nepal are priced from Rs 800 to Rs 6,000. But we mostly focus on making products ranging from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500, "he says."
So far, they do not manufacture the products themselves, but instead outsource them to other factories in Nepal. "We do not have our own factory. We design and source raw materials ourselves and give them to the factories to make the final products," he explains.
Being an online platform, Kashyapi has been marketing its products through social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, emails, and websites.
Investment and Growth Rates
Shrestha started Kashyapi Nepal with Rs. 10,000. He started off as a pilot project. After making a few products and getting reviews from friends and family, he decided to continue it into a well-managed business.
With the continuity and growth, he added up the investment and now he claims his company to be worth approximately Rs 1 million to 2 million.
"We have also been able to provide employment to not so many people, but around 20 people from our company," he says with a bit of satisfaction on his face. Besides, his friends have been supporting him in different ways, which has made him a lot easier.
While he earlier used to have customers from the valley only, he says that he now has customers from all over the country. As of now, "there isn’t any time when Kashyapi Nepal’s clothes have stayed in stock," he shares happily.
Challenges and Opportunities
After learning about the fabrics and doing a lot of research, Shrestha went to the market to finally execute his idea. However, he found it difficult to get the resources he wanted. He wanted sustainable and natural fabrics that were not mixed with other artificial or synthetic fabrics. "There is a huge difference between the ideation phase and the execution phase. We plan to move ahead as per our need and requirement for our product, but in reality, when we go to the market to source those raw materials, it is really difficult in Nepal, "shares Shrestha. So it took him some more time to find the materials he wanted. Some of the fabrics were available in the country, but some we had to import from India and other countries, he adds. Likewise, although there are many textile factories in Nepal, he faced difficulty finding a factory that could understand his concept.
Right after a year of operation, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, and the business of Kashyapi Nepal was also affected, like all businesses globally. During the pandemic, they had to halt all their operations. However, it was an opportunity for Shrestha to work on the areas he was lagging behind. "Despite the fact that our physical work was halted, we worked on strengthening our system," says Shrestha, revealing that website design and development work was completed and the website was launched during the pandemic.
According to Shrestha, this industry has a huge prospect in the country as well as outside. "There are people who prefer fast fashion, which is comparatively cheaper than Made in Nepal products. But, there are also people who prefer better quality and design. With the growing awareness of sustainable fashion among people, the future of such brands and companies is promising," he adds.
"There are many sustainable fashion brands in Nepal that are doing great. So, we are also working consistently and we believe that we will grow well."
Nevertheless, he feels that young people could really be encouraged and motivated to get into entrepreneurship if the government could organise some recognition programmes and events like the private sector does.
Shrestha aspires to grow the market reach and open physical stores in the near future. Kashyapi Nepal is also coming up with new products in the near future.