Ms. Jaya Rajbhandari has always been a creative person, who enjoyed several hobbies such as painting, dancing, singing, writing, etc. She never wanted to settle for one subject and make a career around it. The pandemic ignited a strong need to help others within her family after witnessing the lack of jobs and income among people. Being a person who was raised with the values to give back to others, Ms. Rajbhandari and her mother initially decided to use the sewing skills of people as an initiative to create jobs. Using fabrics and things available at home, Ms. Rajbhandari, then 17, sold all her initial production and had even more demand for her product.
Twinkles became an avenue to channel her creative skills and fulfill the initial mission of helping others. The business involves her mother, grandmother, sister, and herself. Having established it in July 2020, Ms. Rajbhandari connected with us a few weeks back to share about her year-long journey and learnings throughout this process.
Read more to learn about this interesting venture.
Tell me about your motivation to start your own enterprise?
There was never a moment when I envisioned myself as becoming an entrepreneur. All I knew was that my passion lies in multiple fields and I will never be happy with 9 to 5 desk jobs. As a family, we always think about others and how difficult their lives must be. This need to help others during the pandemic was the main motivation to turn a social initiative into a venture.
How did this concept come about?
We started with scrunchies as we saw high demand in the market. I taught two people who helped in our household to make scrunchies in the beginning. Due to their dire need, they made 50 scrunchies quite quickly. Seeing their enthusiasm, I knew that I had to sell it anyhow and bring more opportunities for them. As I posted pictures on social media, the response was overwhelming. Our consumers liked our story and mission, which also led to higher engagement in social media. The demand pushed me further to find different fabrics available at home and to make more products to sell.
What is the inspiration behind the name?
I have always been fascinated with the mysteries of astrology. I also wanted to honor my mother who has been an inspiration for me all my life. Hence, we named it Twinkles after my mother’s name, while also relating it to stars and galaxies.
Can you tell me more about the production process?
From the beginning, we were determined to find people whose lives have been affected by the pandemic. Later, we found two people who had sewing skills but had no jobs due to the lockdown.
So, we started production by providing materials and paying them a piece rate. In this one-year period, we have a total of five people who work for us. Once the production is completed, my grandmother makes paper packaging which she had learnt to do when plastic was banned in Nepal. Additionally, I handle all the social media engagement and posts. I also look into designing and bringing new product ideas.
What are the current product offerings?
A year ago, our journey started with making scrunchies. Now, the product line has expanded and includes masks, bandanas, bralettes, and pillowcases.
Who is your target market?
Currently, most of our products seem to be focused on women of all age groups. But, we also have male consumers who buy masks from us. Nevertheless, we do not want Twinkles to be narrowed down to only one category of people. We aspire to make it a brand for all and attract people from different backgrounds and orientations.
How do you deal with the competition?
From the very beginning, our intention was never to make a remarkable profit. Our vision has always been to help as many people with needs. Hence, the growing competition in the market does not really bother us. We have been consistently working to provide high-quality products at affordable prices.
Additionally, competition in the market is always good to bring more impact towards people’s lives and communities. Even though all ventures do not have social objectives, they are anyway helping our economy by creating jobs, providing variety of products, and contributing to the greater good. So, it is amazing that many businesses have emerged during the pandemic.
Where can the customers find your products?
How has this entrepreneurial journey been so far for you?
I would say it has been unpredictable. When we started with this social vision in mind to provide income-generating opportunities to people, we had no idea what we were getting into. The only focus was to drive this initiative towards helping more people. I have enjoyed this process of fulfilling consumer’s needs, interacting with buyers, and helping many more people than I had initially imagined.
Is there any additional suggestion you would like to give to other emerging entrepreneurs?
It is crucial to receive financial and family support when starting a business. There will always be the risk that it may or may not work. The best suggestion would be to just start it. A start can be as simple as making a social media page. When we started, we used the fabrics readily available in our home by upcycling sarees. The doubts will always be there even after starting; however, you have to take whatever you get and keep pushing forward. You just have to believe that you will find the way, and you will!
From scrunchies to masks and pillowcases to bralettes, Twinkles is your go-to place for high-quality products at affordable prices. Shop now!