Starting with a small motto of showcasing the handcrafted Nepali products and providing visibility to Nepali artisans and women entrepreneurs, Mohita and her brother Yugam have come a long way. The crisis didn’t stop them from working towards their goals; rather it became a blessing in disguise when they decided to add the jewelry line to their beloved brand Lilsherpa.
Few months back we interviewed Ms. Mohita Bhimsaria, the cofounder of Lilsherpa and her love and passion for jewelry designing left us wonderstruck. Her skills and her love for jewelry designing is very well depicted from her eye-catching and divine jewelry line!
Read our conversation with the very talented Mohita Bhimsaria to know more about her venture.
How did the concept of Lilsherpa come about?
Whenever I returned back to Bangalore after my vacation here, I used to take some artistic handmade Nepali products to gift my friends, and their reaction to these products always left me in awe. I saw that a lot of people loved products from Nepal which led me and my brother, Yugam, to want to bring more visibility to our country by showcasing these handcrafted Nepali products by the artisans here. So, in 2018 we started Lilsherpa selling products like felt, hemp and lokta paper in India. The whole idea of Lilsherpa was to bring light to anything and everything of artisans and how they blend skill, creativity and art. Our effort was really appreciated and things started taking shape.
But with the pandemic and lockdown that followed, it became quite difficult for us to function as we used to take things from here, get it made, give orders in bulk and transport from one place to another. Regardless, I would say the lockdown, returning back to Nepal was a blessing in disguise for me because with so much time in hand, I got to realize that it was time for me to change my business model as well as incorporate my passion of jewelry designing to Lilsherpa. Now at the current stage, Lilsherpa has become my way of showcasing the skills of the artisans here as well as my skills of designing!
Had you done jewelry designing before or did you learn it this lockdown? What made you decide that it was the perfect time to incorporate the jewelry line into your venture?
Actually I have a degree in designing and I have also worked with some Indian jewelry companies before. Also, I still do freelance jewelry designing for lots of brands here in Nepal. So, I have had both the knowledge and experience in jewelry designing. I also designed, sketched some jewelry and even gave it to the artisan in Nepal to make the jewelry when I was in India and trust me when I say this, the final product was exquisite. I was happy and excited to see my products and just randomly placed the products on our website for sale. The love, support and response I received was insane which boosted my confidence and that is when I thought that it was time for me to include the jewelry line “Jewelry by Mohita Bhimsarai” to Lilsherpa.
Your designs are really unique. Where do you get your inspiration from?
For me, designing is a whole lot of meditation. So, I get inspiration from little things, from what I see. There was this particular design of mine, Dhoop Chaya Necklace which was inspired by our national flag. Also, I take inspiration from our Nepali heritage, my travel experience and my life in Bangalore. So, the inspiration I take is really random.
What does the production process of all your products look like?
I don’t have a production unit of my own for now. Let’s say I outsource the production to the gifted and skilled artisans here in Nepal. In future I do have plans to start my own production unit and employ these artisans under Lilsherpa, but again that is for the future as I am just getting started with all this.
Who are your allies in running the venture?
For now it is just me and my brother who are actively working in running the venture. We together look after the entire process from website to courier to social media handling and marketing. Additionally, I would say my parents are one of the most important parts of Lilsherpa as they give us a lot of advice, support and mentorship in terms of business.
What are the different products Lilsherpa is offering as of now and where can customers get hold of them?
For now we have stationery items like booklets, home decor, carry on’s like pouches and bags. For jewelry we have earrings and we also recently started taking bookings for Dhoop Chaya Necklace. I will soon be adding more products to my jewelry line like bangles and bracelets to be specific.
All our products can be easily found on our website or you can directly inquire about the products on our instagram. The delivery for the products is available all over Nepal and soon the delivery for India will take place once things start getting better.
What were and are the major challenges running the venture?
In the beginning the challenge was to introduce the brand and let people know what actually we were doing and get them to learn about our products, what raw materials we used and the pricing. Similarly the delivery was also a challenge when I was in Bangalore. When I came back here and launched the jewelry line, it was tough to create a market for my jewelry as there were so many wonderful brands doing similar work. My base material is brash and they too used the same; I do 24 carats gold plating and do they do it the same. So standing out from the rest was difficult. Similarly, even though I was born and brought up in Nepal, I spent 10 years of my life in India, so moving back to Nepal understanding the lifestyle, preferences and likes of people here was also tough.
What are the future plans for Lilsherpa?
Our immediate plan is to focus more on the jewelry line, making unique, affordable and minimal pieces for all genders and accelerate our production process. Being more upfront, keeping our products more in the limelight is our major focus for now. We also soon plan to deliver all over India which has been halted due to the pandemic. In addition, I also have plans of collaborating with eco-friendly brands here in Nepal.
How has your journey been so far? What changes have you seen in yourself?
The journey till date was more about understanding small yet important things about starting and operating a venture and also realizing my potential in jewelry designing. When we started back in 2018, we were clueless about a lot of things even though we had studied business. So, taking Udemy lessons for photography, website building, seeking mentorship from my friends and families and networking with other people did wonders for us. So, this journey was full of learning.
Talking about the changes, I feel I learnt to be more patient. Also, understanding that things don’t always go the way I wanted them to go, so accepting that without getting demotivated is a huge lesson learned. My bond with my brother as well as my family has become a lot stronger and I have also learned to see things from the perspective of the other person. So, yes it is no doubt a beautiful journey and I think it will continue to be a nice one.
Any other information that you would like to share?
In these tough times that we are all going through, I would like to say that there is no point of getting demotivated because of the current situations, instead try to lift yourself up. Things are surely going to change, you need to get on board and get yourself motivated because you are the only person who can do it for yourself. This is what I have learned. Also, don’t hesitate to grab opportunities, when your skill is with you and you are confident, anything can work anywhere.
Want to see the unique, eye catching designs from Lilsherpa, check out their website and Instagram, linked below: