By Aswasan "AJ" Joshi
One of the beneficiaries of the COVID-19 MSME Fund Nepal, Nuptse Craft provides employment to marginalized women through the age-old handcrafting practices of felting. Through the Fund, Nuptse was able to get interest-free and collateral-free loan from Nabil Bank to cover its short-term working capital needs. The Fund, managed by One to Watch (OTW), is supported by the SDC and the FMO.
Based in Chabahil, Nuptse Craft manufactures and exports hand-made, 100% sheep wool, azo-free chemical dye felt products—anything from colored decors and gifts to toys and scarves. All their products undergo rigorous quality checks at each step to ensure that export-quality standards are met. Most of the products are sold overseas at Denmark, the USA and Taiwan. What started off as “Friends Handicraft” in 2001 with ten working women, Nuptse Craft, run by Shanti Shrestha and her daughter, Keepa Shrestha, now employees more than 70 women. Most of them have been with the enterprise for a long time. With the mission to put an end to urban poverty, the enterprise supports skills-training and income-generation programs for its employees. Nuptse touts itself as a social enterprise that values fair and sustainable working environment for all its artisans—dividing 5% of the total profit among the workers. The enterprise has a loyal set of repeat clients and is sustaining on word-to-mouth marketing.
In addition to getting the financing, Nuptse Craft has also been receiving technical assistance from OTW through customized business development services. OTW is helping Nuptse develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and financial record keeping templates. Additionally, OTW will review Nuptse’s costing mechanism and devise a branding and marketing strategy.