KARMA GURUNG: PHARAOH OF KTM NIGHTLIFE
ISIS RESTRO & HOOKAH BAR
The man behind Isis Lounge and the recently opened Isis Restro & Hookah Bar is definitely one of the most successful entrepreneurs around right now. With two well established lounges under his belt, Karma Gurung has become a renowned name and face in the Kathmandu scene today. We were fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to meet up with him in person and know more about the man himself.
TNM: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I’ve been in the hospitality business for several years now. So, I had this raw passion to do something different in the hospitality business. This is the very reason I opened Isis Lounge with Egyptian interiors which I believe is the first of its kind. After Isis, I couldn’t stop myself from wanting something completely unique. This is why, I opened my second venture, Isis Restro & Hookah Bar and this time I chose an Arabic theme for the interiors. The place is really colorful and has great hookahs.
TNM: What was your mission at the outset?
There wasn’t any specific mission as such in the beginning. I just wanted to do something different. It feels really great to know that Isis Lounge has become one of the best places in Kathmandu right now.
TNM: How many employees do you need to sustain your business?
Combining both Isis Lounge and Isis Restro and Hookah Bar, there are almost 50 employees. Most of the employees are between the ages of 21 to 30. Several college students are also employed as part timers. However, the chefs employed are professionals which make them a little older than the average age.
TNM: How do you advertise your business?
Frankly speaking, right now I haven’t really advertised my business as such. I’ve been able to come so far with all the support from my friends and especially through word of mouth. Besides this, any other source of advertisement I’ve done is mainly through Facebook and text messages to the customers.
I believe my passion, hard work and most of all, the support from my friends has been a major contributor towards my success.
TNM: What do you think is the main attribute that drives you to success?
I’m still working on trying to be a successful person. But till now, I believe my passion, hard work and most of all, the support from my friends has been a major contributor towards my success. Furthermore, I think a dedicated and hardworking team coupled with a really good relationship between an employer and an employee plays a major role in success of any business.
TNM: What is unique about your business?
I guess the interiors are the most unique thing in my lounges. Besides the interiors I think that the music combined with the ambience of the place really gives our customers memories to cherish.
TNM: What are your responsibilities as the business owner?
To make sure everything is running smoothly. Besides that I really put an effort to keep my staff happy and satisfied. Almost forgot, I have to make sure that the business is making profit. (haha)
TNM: What made you choose this type of business?
I’ve always been amused and enthusiastic about the hospitality business. Besides hospitality business, I love music and loved socializing with people. So, when I mixed all my interests, I guess a lounge was the only thing that really brought these things together. A lounge is a perfect place to relax with some good music; it was a place where I could build my PR and tend to customers at the same time.
TNM: Who exactly are your customers?
If I had to generalize my customers, I’d say from Business people to doctors and especially models and actors.
TNM: Describe the average day in the life of Karma Gurung. what is it like?
There are a lot of things that come up unexpectedly daily, so this means I need to be running around constantly to get things to run smoothly. Besides, if you see me, I’m always on the phone taking care of business. Generally, I tend to settle a lot of my business through phone calls. And yes, whenever I have time I’m just kidding around at Isis Lounge.
TNM: What’s the worst business advice you have received?
I can’t say this out loud in public since I don’t want to offend anyone. However, talking about my business advice, I guess I’ve always done business with instincts rather than thinking logically. But that’s what worked for me.
TNM: If you had one piece of advice to give to someone just starting out in the business world, what would it be?
This might be clichéd but I would seriously want them to ask themselves, “Is this what I actually want”? I see a lot of people doing several things and at certain point of time they suddenly realize that what they are doing is just not worth their time. So before you venture into any business, please make sure that you really think things through and only jump into it if you are really passionate about it.