Kirtipur Hosiery Industry is one of the renowned industries in Kirtipur. It has been working with women and women entrepreneurs to produce handicrafts and garment products, especially in three parts: hosiery, machine knitting and garment. Currently Kirtipur Hosiery Industry exports its hosiery products to foreign countries and act as mediator for the garment products. It also provides training in hand-knitting and garment products from time to time when there is need of human resources.
Mrs. Sabita Maharjan, founder of Kirtipur Hosiery Industry started working in hosiery business, initially, for income and turned it later into an industry that has been functioning for 25 years. After getting training from Federation of Business and Professional Women Nepal under the project Business Service Center, she came to realize that she was running an industry. With the help of them, she formally registered Kirtipur Hosiery Industry in 2068 B.S. Though she could not get any financial support from her family, she got moral support to operate her business. She took loans from co-operatives and banks, to expand her business.
Talking about the challenges in her entrepreneurial journey, she mentioned about branding. Not having own brand has brought problems in pricing and they do not get the desired cost for their products. So, Kirtipur Hosiery Industry is soon to launch their brand called KIPOO, tentatively on the 10th Anniversary of Kirtipur Hosiery Industry. Also they are opening departmental store to provide market platform to the handicrafts being made in Kirtipur and bearing the responsibility to promote handicrafts being produced in Kirtipur. In addition, they cannot export directly, so they work with 2-3 big export companies. If the demand of products is less from one of them, Kirtipur Hosiery approaches the other one so that the produced goods are sold.
Before COVID pandemic, Kirtipur Hosiery Industry used to employ 350 employees. Currently, they have not been able to operate in the same pace and employing around 50 people only. Some of the works are starting slowly and it’s difficult for them to maintain the salary, operation cost, regular cost and pay loan interest.
She shared her views about the three most important things to be considered before opening any business. First one need to be clear about the kind of the enterprise and what knowledge and skill sets are required, second is managing the financial resources and third is the market management. These days people are focusing on the business with quick economic gain. But it’s not like that in the industry. It needs at least 5 years to sustain an industry. There is need of balance of production, human resource, effective and efficient strategic management and financial resources to cope with the changing needs.
“Patience and perseverance are key to running a successful business.”
It’s important to market research before starting any business. There are opportunities in hosiery industry. The designs keep changing every year and youths can bring trending changes.
Nepalese are using foreign products proudly but we are not able to sell Nepali products within Nepal. Nepal doesn’t have huge production capacity as China, so the products can be bit expensive as we have to bring machineries and raw materials from foreign countries. If all Nepalese use the Nepali products, then we can also produce in huge quantity. She would like to request all to promote ‘Made in Nepal’ products and not to feel proud for foreign brands. There are a lot of opportunities in Nepal and young generation need to re-think and explore the opportunities in Nepal and face the challenges in Nepal.
Her concluding remarks were and we quote:
“Do not criticize or blame others. Start yourself first. Change yourself before you can help others change.”
Sabita Maharjan is definitely role model for many of the women who have faced domestic violence. She struggled a lot to change her status and be successful entrepreneur. She has been working relentlessly to empower other women in her community and provide platform for income generation through her industry. Breaking the societal stereotypes, she has come a long way to establish successful hosiery industry and creating many more opportunities for women to uplift their socio-economic status.