After years of longing to be an entrepreneur, Ms. Tara Thapa along with her five friends established Aama Hastakala Udhyog in 2019 with the sole motive to transfer skills to other women and uplift their livelihood. Despite witnessing the lockdown within a few months of starting her venture, she did not give up on her aspiration to empower women and create employment.
A couple of weeks back we connected with Ms. Tara Thapa who answered all of our questions about her entrepreneurial journey and the upcoming visions for her venture.
Read our conversation to find out more about this enterprise here.
How did this entrepreneurial dream start for you?
After getting married at an early age, I dedicated the next five years of my life towards raising my children. Throughout this period, I still had the desire of doing something on my own once my children grew up. Later, I opened a small shop which I operated for around 10 years. But, I was not satisfied with just working from home. Despite my lack of skills, I always wished to work with others as well as teach others in the long run.
As I started taking training to produce incense sticks and soaps, I was hired by the same training organization. That organization gave me the foundation to start my own entrepreneurial journey. Every skill that I learnt there for 10 years enabled me to believe in my own capacity and establish something of my own. In 2019, I along with five of my friends, established Aama Hastakala Udhyog and Aama Hastakala Prashikshan Kendra.
Can you tell me more about your company?
We are an all women led enterprise, where we focus on producing products using raw materials found within Nepal. Our main objective is to promote Nepali products while also building the skills of women. At present, we produce around 40 items such as key rings, bags, shoes, decor, incense stick, candle, soaps, paintings, liquid soap, bakery items, etc. We also provide free training through our Aama Hastakala Prashikshan Kendra.
In addition, we have recently established a sister organization called Sarathi Didi Bahini Samuha which focuses on producing affordable sanitary pads. Due to the lockdown, this organization currently produces achars and liquid soaps for households.
What social change do you see your product bringing in society?
Our main motive is to increase women employment. We aim to strengthen the skills of women and make them self reliant. In the context of Nepal, skill development will enable youths to find a source of income within the country rather than migrating abroad. Hence, our enterprise empowers women as well as builds marketable skills that allow people to find meaningful work within the country.
Who are your allies in running the business? Any partners?
It’s an all women led organization. The founding members work alongside our team to produce the products. In terms of employees, there are a total of 17 employees. We do not have partnerships with other organizations.
How has COVID-19 pandemic affected your operation?
COVID-19 had severely affected our operation. Within six month of establishing the venture, the first lockdown was announced. Our orders drastically declined. Although it was not easy as a new enterprise, we did not halt our operation. We provided materials to our team members to work and make products from home. This allowed us to have enough stock once the lockdown was lifted. Now, our operation is running smoothly.
As handicraft business is common in Nepal, what do you think differentiates your enterprise from others?
As we are aware about similar handmade products available in the market, we look for ways to differentiate our designs and product offerings. I always believe that competition is essential to discover our own areas of improvement. Thus, we innovate with different product lines to stay more competitive in the market.
“There is no such word as impossible in a woman’s dictionary as she can handle multiple roles at once. But, she lacks the opportunities to showcase her abilities and that is what I targeted through my work.” – Ms. Tara Thapa, Co-founder of Aama Hastakala Udhyog
Where can your potential customers find your products?
How has this entrepreneurial journey been so far for you?
Having worked several years in this field, I enjoy the entrepreneurial freedom in my venture to make decisions and plan for the long term future. Overall, I am gratified that our growth not only benefits us, but also impacts the lives of numerous women that we train each day. My aspiration to provide opportunities to women has only been successful due to the support of my family and my hardworking team.
What are your future plans for this enterprise?
Initially, our main products were shoes, bags and decorations. However, this year, we have plans to move towards healthy food items as the demand for healthy foods has been growing in the market. In the beginning, we will focus on bringing different varieties of achars.
Is there any suggestion you would like to give to emerging entrepreneurs?
In Nepal, finance is perceived as a main barrier to establish an enterprise. However, people fail to realize that even a contribution of Rs. 100 can form a small home-based initiative. Emerging entrepreneurs must take smaller steps and have confidence in their ideas. On behalf of the Aama Hastakala family, I welcome entrepreneurs to visit our production and training center in Thaiba and train with us. Nothing will make me more happy than supporting other entrepreneurs to open their own ventures!
Let’s encourage more women empowerment by ordering their 100% Made in Nepal products. You can easily find them on:
Facebook: Aama Hastakala Udhyog
Instagram: Aama Hastakala Udhyog
Interviewed and Article by Shreeya Bhattarai