THE LOCAL PROJECT NEPAL: BUY LOCAL LIVE LOCAL
For a developing country, domestic production of goods plays a vital role in its economy. Whether it is in terms of improving trade positions, creating employment or improving the overall outlook of the economy, domestic production plays a crucial role. Encouraging domestic producers, is therefore, more important for Nepal’s developing economy.
There has been a lot of positivity in this respect and more and more entrepreneurs have shown their enthusiasm local production. Handicrafts, garments, thankas, statues and the likes have always been popular locally made products, and it is great to see that the trend is catching on to a broader platform. The intention of encouraging this very spirit is what spurred the start of The Local Project Nepal. Located inside the Café Evoke premises at Jhamsikhel, TLP Nepal is a hub for stores producing and selling authentic Nepal made products. The store emulates the concept of empowering the local market and producers along with providing a diverse selection of authentic Nepali made products to our customers.
LEFT: Binam Shakya RIGHT: Sachin Shrestha
Inside TLP Nepal is an assortment of Nepali made products from various producers and local entrepreneurs. Their offerings range from clothing lines, bags, and jewelry to stationery, graphic comic novels, and board games.
An amalgamation of some of the best products and brands that Nepal has to offer, the Local Project Nepal is a new establishment started by Binam Shakya and Sachin Shrestha. We caught up with the duo to learn more about TLP Nepal.
TNM: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE PRIMARY NOTION BEHIND THE LOCAL PROJECT NEPAL?
TLP: Encouraging local entrepreneurship and production. We feel very strongly about this and its importance to the Nepalese industry. The majority of the people don’t even know about half of the amazing brands. Nepal has far more to offer than the mediocre tourist attractions that litter Thamel and Basantapur; there are genuine producers that bring out innovative and exceptionally good quality products. Those are the ones we want to promote.
We’re not undermining the existing producers of garments and handicraft items that have their markets in Thamel, but we think there is tremendous potential in the local artisans that we have here at The Local Project Nepal.
Also, we want to provide a space for vendors to showcase their producers without having to worry about the sales. This will leave them with more time to focus on manufacturing and quality control which is more important.
TNM: WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA THAT NEED TO BE FULFILLED TO BE PART OF THE LOCAL PROJECT NEPAL?
TLP: We look for products that are 100% made in Nepal. A focus on ethical and social wellbeing in some way or the other is also very much appreciated. For instance, White Yak is a wool and leather goods company that combines textiles with modern designs. Their commitment is to empower the people of the Himalayas, and it has always been our aim to support the native communities.
Weaving for Empowerment works along a similar vein; a project started by a charity organization called “The Small World” that supports single and vulnerable women, it involves the traditional weaving style of dhaka fabric shawls and bags.
These are just some examples. Each brand has a unique flair that appeals to different folks.
NEPAL HAS FAR MORE TO OFFER THAN THE MEDIOCRE TOURIST ATTRACTIONS THAT LITTER THAMEL AND BASANTAPUR; THERE ARE GENUINE PRODUCERS THAT BRING OUT INNOVATIVE AND EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD QUALITY PRODUCTS. THOSE ARE THE ONES WE WANT TO PROMOTE.
TNM: TELL US ABOUT THE OBSTACLES YOU’VE HAD TO FACE IN ESTABLISHING THE LOCAL PROJECT NEPAL.
TLP: Getting word around was difficult at first. We had to do a lot of running to find and approach the right vendors for our shop. Both of us were not willing to compromise on what we put on display, so getting the right products took some effort.
We’ve been extremely lucky to find some tremendous brands and products, most of which were not prevalent in the mainstream market. Each product reflects what The Local Project Nepal stands for, authentic Nepali made offerings that don’t hesitate to step out of the norm.
TNM: WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED NEXT FOR THE LOCAL PROJECT NEPAL?
TLP: To be honest, we’re just getting started. However, we have several things in our pipeline. We will be expanding very soon, and we are also working towards establishing our own brand.
TNM: LOOKS LIKE MOST OF THE CUSTOMERS ARE FOREIGNERS.
TLP: Yes, but we have a good share of Nepalese customers as well. Buying local products is a growing trend and it is very uplifting to see this amongst the Nepalese buyers. The general notion with Nepal made products is that they are mostly for tourists looking for cultural aesthetics and tradition alone; but there is more to it than that. Many are surprised to see the quality and creativity of the products at our shop along with actual utility.
The new age of Nepal made goods has elevated to a whole new level, and it’s time more people knew about it.
PICTURES: PRITAM CHHETRI