Sarik is a final year student of Civil Engineering at Pulchowk Campus. He has always been fascinated with the artistic & handicraft skills that’s been in his family. When brainstorming ideas to preserve and promote not just this artistic skill but the culture as a whole, Sarik came across an article in his campus’ library that gave him the inspiration to do this. To find out about his idea, follow this interview we had with him.
1. Can you tell us about your idea- Nepali Home?
First, let me tell you about the typical scene of tourism in Kathmandu Valley as an example. Tourists come, take pictures, eat some local delicacies, and then go. It’s a see & go sort of tourism & we could do so much more than this. What we propose is Lifestyle Tourism.
Our motive is to create a platform where visitors can actually experience the lifestyle of the community, feel the art & be a part of the culture.
Homestays do offer some solution as they allow the visitors to be a part of the lifestyle but it is only limited to the home itself. Most homestays offer only rooms and food.
I come from Lalitpur and I have seen so much art and culture here that the tourists would love to experience. So, I along with my friend Anup Gelal, came up with the idea of Nepali Home which is a platform for the locals to list their vacant rooms which we will help them customize, to give it a local and artistic touch. What we will then do is connect these homestays to the community by offering various experience based packages to the visitors. Some packages are classes on sculpting by local artisans, traditional instruments by local musicians, or making them a part of an entire community celebration such as jatra, bhoj & so on.
In short, we are a platform where locals can list their rooms as home stays and what we do is connect the home stays to the community through our experience based packages.
2. You mentioned that you will be listing out the spaces on your website so is it similar to Airbnb?
It’s not exactly the same. While Airbnb provides a platform where people can list their spaces, we will be going to that place and customizing it a bit to give a sort of artistic feel. So, it’s like a partnership. Although it will not be completely invested by us, we will be doing some work to make the space as local and homely as possible. You can assume a mix of Oyo model and Airbnb model because we don’t completely customize it and we also do not leave it as it is.
3. Are foreigners your only target market?
Foreigners are our primary customers whom we are going to offer packages. But we will also be catering to domestic tourists as it is homely & cheap to stay in homestays rather than hotels.
4. Do you have any existing companies that are providing similar services?
There are a lot of homestays but they haven’t focused on outside packages. I have seen Cosy homes that take the whole house on lease and customize it and offer to guests. But besides that, we haven’t seen any other.
5. What are the challenges you might face while starting this company besides the flow of tourists post COVID19?
One could be in regards to safety as people are reluctant to trust strangers in their home. Another is finding out how to bring our first customers.
6. What are the opportunities do you see for your company?
Our model is very scalable plus we do not have to invest a lot to get this business started. The profit margin is also good based on our calculations. The main thing is the impact on the community as we’ll be able to provide lots of employment and extra income to the community.
7. How was your experience in the Udhyami Yuva Challenge bootcamp?
Although I missed two sessions because of internet disturbance, I attended the rest which was really informative. I feel like I got the confidence to start this idea as I got to learn about the different aspects of running a business. Plus, I also realized that there are a lot of upfront costs involved that I didn’t consider.
8. What were the key learnings at the bootcamp for you?
First would be that I got an idea about what investors want i.e. the business model, team and own company evaluation. Because I come from a technical background, I wasn’t aware of legal and tax issues so I got to know more about those things. Another would be learning that in order to run a business, you need to have that drive of why you want to run this business to sustain it.
I guess the best session for me was on the topic of what an investor wants. The trainer- Tenzin didn’t use any slides at all but whatever he had to say was based purely on his experience and insights. It was well organized no doubt plus he wasn’t purely focused on investment but also on other aspects that make a good investor.
9. How will you take your idea further if you get the seed fund? If not, how?
I will be moving forward by investing the fund in room decoration and customization. Although it will be a bit difficult to convince people to rent their vacant spaces, we’ll have to try harder. Apart from that, I’m planning to offer three packages on a regular basis that will revolve around art and culture. This will not cost me much as I know a lot of artists here who would agree to collaborate. I would say that it’ll be great if I get the seed fund but I’ll be moving forward with the idea regardless of the seed fund.
For more information about this idea, please connect with Sarik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interviewed and article by Yangzum Lama.