Eta Shrestha : Carrying the World Around In A Tissah
Eta Shrestha (Founder / CEO)
For the urban person existing in the contemporary times, a bag is a must. We need something that can haul our daily essentials around and with that being said, the bags themselves need to be up for the challenge of the daily grind. This is where leather comes in; and when it’s about leather handbags, Eta Shrestha is the woman for the job. Over the years, Mrs. Shrestha has been delivering quality handbags, purses, jewelries and other accessories through her exceptionally chic boutique in Hotel Ambassador. We caught up with her and were honored to hear her story of being an entrepreneur.
MY DREAM IS FOR PEOPLE TO APPRECIATE THE AMAZING ARTISANS OF NEPAL AND TO VALUE THE SLOW- FASHION INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE, AND SPREAD THE MESSAGE OF TREASURING YOURSELF!
TNM: HOW DID TISSAH START?
ES: As a kid, I collected rocks and read about gemstones. I also collected scrap fabric from my mom’s tailors for accessories and broke apart jewelry to rebuild them into something new. My ideas for Tissah have hardly ever been generated on the spot, it represents ideas I have harbored through the years based on countless inspirations and experiences, so I guess you could say while the brand Tissah is relatively new, the ideas have been a lifelong process.
TNM: IS THIS SOMETHING YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO?
ES: Like I said, creating something has always been a part of me, but it wasn’t a conscious decision until much later after receiving the push and abundant support from friends and families.
TNM: HOW DO YOUR PRODUCTS COME TO LIFE? COULD YOU TELL US THE PROCESS THAT GOES INTO MAKING A TISSAH PRODUCT?
ES: I draw inspiration from everything: a Dhaka topi on a random head on the street, a doorknob, or even a faded old tattoo. The process always starts with an inspiration and takes shape in my mind. After many sketches and experimentation, together with my team, we build a prototype. I personally use the product to test for form, functionality and aesthetics. I need to absolutely fall in love with the product before I decide to include it in the Tissah line.
TNM: WHAT MAKES TISSAH DIFFERENT FROM THE REST?
ES: I did not start Tissah to be “different” or better than anyone. I started Tissah for the love of creating and I believe my passion reflects on my products. There are many brands that are making amazing products, with passion and care, and I appreciate and respect them, and feel that I am with par to them.
TNM: HOW ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS AND CLIENTS RESPONDING TO YOUR GOODS? IS IT MATCHING UP TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS? DO ILLUSTRATE.
ES: The response has been very positive and encouraging. I really have some amazing clients that appreciate the quality, workmanship and fair trade ethics behind the brand and I am very thankful for that.
TNM: WERE THERE ANY OBSTACLES WHEN YOU STARTED OUT? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? DO THEY STILL EXIST, AND IF SO, HOW DO YOU PLAN ON TAKING THEM ON?
ES: Like with any venture, there have been obstacles and going into this, I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. My production is entirely based in Nepal, and many factors such as scarcity of materials and frequent strikes, limited options for production facilities, among other things, affect us. As a small company, I also have challenges that come with limited resources. I am blessed to have Eugene Shrestha and Pranidhi Tuladhar in my small but amazing team. They both wear several hats and help keep Tissah afloat.
TNM: AS ONE OF THE MANY UP AND COMING FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS, HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE WOMEN OF THE SOCIETY?
ES: In terms of employment, I employ both men and women; where possible, I work with women groups such as the single women’s group at WHR (Women for Human Rights). In terms of brand identity, Tissah’s philosophy is Treasure Yourself which stands for investing in quality products for yourself that you can treasure for years to come, but more importantly, is about celebrating your self worth- something I believe is a particularly important message for women in Nepal who rarely put themselves first.
TNM: WHAT DO YOU PLAN FOR THE FUTURE?
ES: Tissah is a small company with a big vision and bigger dreams. I want Tissah to be synonymous with heirloom-quality products and unique wearable-art pieces, that one can treasure for years to come.