While many girls of their age were buying international apparel brands, Richa and Ankita were busy creating one that would offer the same quality and design while providing jobs to marginalized women. We got in conversation with the co-founder’s of ‘The Mint Studio’ a lifestyle brand and an online platform for local products to understand about their venture
Tell us the story behind The Mint Studio.
The idea for our start up came up last year when we were working for White Lotus Crafts which provided free garment training to women under the project called SAMI (Safer Migration). These women got trained to go abroad and make apparels for top brands. Many of these women were not happy to go so far away from their family in a place where even the language was unfamiliar. But they didnt had a choice as some of them were the sole breadwinner’s of their house.
These brands also sell in Nepal and are ofcourse expensive. People who buy these brands shell out a premium price and those who can not afford them end up buying counterfeits.
We thought if they can make these apparel in other countries they can make them in Nepal. And Nepali’s will have access to the quality they deserve instead of counterfeits. So that’s how we started ‘The Mint Studio’.
What kind of product and service does ‘The Mint Studio’ offer?
The company has two facets – the production side and service side. We work with women and make apparels that we sell through various channels. We offer service of design consultation for upgrading interiors. Example if any restaurant or hotel wants to revamp their interiors then we can offer the design service along with all kinds of customized upholstery and tailoring products to make the space look fresh and trendy.
What are your sales channels?
We have both offline and online sales channels. We mostly sell through e-commerce platforms like sasto deal and Daraaz. We also have our own website www.mintstudio.com which offers cash on delivery. For offline we have partnered with few retail stores who keep our products. Some restaurants who are Nepali brand conscious and wants to showcase Nepal made products have also provided us with space. And we are coming up with our own physical store very soon.
What is the key problem that you are trying to solve?
‘The Mint Studio’ is trying to solve a two fold problem. On one side we want to give employment opportunity to women who want to earn but have to migrate abroad for work and on the other side we want to provide an option of Nepali brand in the foreign dominated market to consumers.
What are your current challenges?
Though we keep our prices minimum competing with prices of counterfeit and mass scale produced foreign products is a big challenge for us. Hence we integrate design aspects to our products.
What are your future plans?
Our tag line is ‘Lifestyle Inspired’, so we work on creating products that are used day to day basis having design element and are of good quality. We also focus on party needs and home decor. We want our brand to be synonym with good design and quality. When people see a well dressed person they should compliment ‘You are looking mint today!’Thats our goal.
Another part of our plan is to give visibility and market to ‘Made in Nepal’ products. Many NGO’s and iNGO’s make good quality products but donot have a platform. Our website can become that platform. The company has huge potential to grow in many areas and we have lot of plans.
What are the needs of the company?
Garment training for women is a huge cost. We are looking for a sponsors who can cover the training cost and we can then give job opportunity to the trained women. We are approaching NGO’s and iNGO’s who are working on women empowerment. So that’s our immediate need.