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Bhintuna jhyapoo : Founder at Bhav Production

The human mind is obsessed with symmetry; we just seem to have been evolved to like things that are in order. However, this fascination of everything being aligned takes a hypocritical turn when our lives are not as ordered as February 2017; the month had 4 of each day. Hence, the Planner was invented. It was a notebook that had a calendar, and pages for you to write things you needed to do on a particular day and time. It introduced the order that was missing in our lives. Then came the dreaded smart phones; as much as it was a boon, it was a curse. It had an app that promised to replace paper planners, and well, it did get rid of it, but not replace it. Honestly, how many of us really use that app? So not only did it keep the children staring down onto their screen, but also adults procrastinating with chats and memes. As we cupped the rectangle of light in our hands, order slipped through our fingers.

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However, the fasciation has sustained itself. It doesn’t take much scrolling of Instagram’s Explore to find some aesthetically pleasing pictures. And as 2014 came towards an end, people began posting about planners that go by the brand name of “Bhav”; a Nepalese brand.

Bhintuna Jyapoo established Bhav Products to fill in the gap that was ever widening between enthusiast and quality stationery. She started out by fashioning a “Frankenstein notebook with a planner” and then moved on to provide the same for those who envied hers. A talented graphic designer, a budding entrepreneur, and an inspiration for DIY, this is an insight into the Bhav of Ms. Jyapoo.

HOW DID YOU START OUT?
After working in an animation studio, I worked as a freelancer. I was juggling multiple projects then and I really needed to organize everything. So, I was in the market for a planner. Sadly, all I found were Indian or Chinese planners that weren’t that appealing, and the Nepalese ones just had the print of some mountains or the Buddha’s eyes.What I was looking for were something with dots and grids; the scaling of those makes designing easier and better. But due to it not being available here, and ordering it from outside would have been too expensive and a burden to friends and family, I thought, why don’t I make it myself.

WHY THE NAME “BHAV”?
I love Nepali words, the typical ones specially. And Bhav was a word I had been in love with for a long time. And since notebooks are something we pour our hearts out in, Bhav just clicked in. In addition, me being someone who’s into marketing, the word seemed like a short and sweet one that was easy to remember.

WHO ARE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?
From an early age, we are taught to write in lined pages, math on grids, and draw on those that are blank. But we can write on everything and anything, can’t we? The things we were taught limit us, and the way to avoid that is to take the approach of art. Now, people frown upon art, but it’s one of those things that help in a lot of ways that may not be as apparent as professions of medicine or engineering may be. But whenever you sit down to draw something, you are in a world of your own where you can think more clearly. So I would say that I cater to whoever wants to take the creative approach.

WHAT ISSUES DID YOU FACE, OR STILL DO?
Starting out, I never imagined that it’d be hard. In my mind, I thought that I’d just buy a bunch of paper, design it, print it, and sell it. But as I went on with this mind-set, I realized that paper itself is a vast spectrum. There are so many weights, textures, and colors you need to keep in mind. In addition, the dot and grids aren’t readily there, you need to design it all from scratch.
When I was in the field, me being a newbie, suppliers didn’t really want to talk to me. They would disregard my queries and shoo me off. Either they’d say “no” with no effort of looking for it, or they’d give me an empty promise of calling me up later. But all of these made me realize that there are papers with good quality here. It’s just that no one buys them due to their high prices. So, since no one is buying, suppliers stop bringing them in. The first batch I had made had amazing quality, but when I went in for seconds, the same paper was nowhere to be found. In this manner, having that consistency is tricky. Even in the case of colors, a shade of blue never matches with that of another batch.Bhav is a small brand so we can’t import our resources; which has to be done in quintals. So the solution I saw was to work with the things we have here and make the best of it.

HAS THE FACT OF YOU BEING AN ENTREPRENUER WHO IS A WOMAN PRESENTED ANY ISSUES?
Our society being patriarchal and traditional, the suppliers were not fully on board with my ideas as it was quite different from what they were doing. Perhaps they saw me as a girl and thought I didn’t know what I was doing, or did not believe that I would pay on time, but I had to build up that trust among them. Eventually down the road, they themselves became excited with my projects and encourage me to do more new things.
Also, when I set up my shop here, many came in just to ask if this was actually mine and how much profit I was making. And if I was in here with a male friend, their questions would be directed at him rather than me.

TRASITIONING FROM A GRAPHIC DESIGNER TO AN ENTREPRENUER, HAVE YOU FOUND ANY DIFFERENCES?
I never saw Bhav as a business when I started out. I saw myself as someone who was filling a gap. And when I did get into it, I realized that this was for the long term and what I am doing is a business. Then again, I never saw myself as an entrepreneur; rather others pointed out that I was one and had started a brand.

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ENOUGH ABOUT THE NEGATIVES; TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS?
I was never a bright student in my studies as a child. However, I was told by everyone that I am the creative sort. That sort of developed an awareness within me and I knew I was going to be in something like this from the start. Eventually, I got into graphic designing on the sides with my studies. During my intermediate, I took an advanced graphic designing course and went on to win a competition. That made me realize that I can do something substantial in this field. Then I worked as a graphic designer and a marketing personnel. And soon I worked in an animation company where I handled an entire department. So I was not only looking at the design part of things, but the whole management of the business as well. I had to make sure everything represented the brand in a good way. This taught me the essential qualities of professionalism. In this manner, every career direction I have taken has driven me towards Bhav and I consider the things I’ve learned along the way to be my achievements.

CREATIVITY ON YOUR PRODUCTS, HOW DO YOU FEEL?
I am glad that the idea I had for Bhav has is being put into effect. It is reassuring when our customers post their creations on our planners or sketchbooks; it makes me feel that we are on the right track. Also, I wanted to bring in the concept of DIY into our products. I leave some space for the customer to do their own thing, and so far, they have been; preferring it over digital planners, and using them in their daily lives; and that really makes me happy and encourages me to do more.

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ANY ADVICE FOR NEW COMERS?
When you start a business, it’s easy to think that you’ll be successful right away. And when you realize that it’s going to take some time, or face your first failure, you’ll be disheartened, and may even resort to quitting. That is not the way to go. You need to be patient and determined and realize that this is a gradual process.

WORDS : NIRVEEK PPJ SHAH | PHOTOS: GAURAV XHOMPATE SUNUWAR

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