Ms. Arati Nepal (Mahi Enterprises)
As a woman, starting a family after marriage leads to such a severe shuffling of priorities.
Becoming a mother affects so many aspects of our life, and one of the things that are
intensely affected is our career. Our careers always take a back seat when duty calls at home.
Some of us choose to continue working, but most of us end up taking a break to take care of
the family. Arati Nepal, owner of Mahi Enterprises too, decided to become a full-time
entrepreneur after 15 years as a homemaker. Growing up, she was involved in full time
business and was taught to work hard and keep learning. She had completed her Bachelor’s in
Psychology. Therefore, after fulfilling her duties as a mother, she had no intention of staying
idle at home and wanted to do something productive.
Arati is lucky that she had the full support of her family. She says that her children were of
big help once they were old enough to understand their mother’s work. Her husband also
helped her manage the finances for her business. However, not everyone is understanding,
and that is expected. Her work demanded full time and attention, which meant that she had to
sacrifice her time for social gatherings, events and obligations which there are many in a
country like Nepal. She had to miss out on a lot of such events, and as someone who had
devoted 15 years of her life to becoming a homemaker, people were not ready for her to
change as a working woman, but that did not stop her from working. She knew she had to
continue in spite of it because this was what she wanted to do.
Mahi Enterprises has been running for 10 years however this is not the first venture that Arati
started. 25 years ago, she started a Nepali handmade paper business. Back then, there was a
huge demand for handmade paper. However after the recession in 2013, it became difficult to
sustain the paper business. Despite the difficulties, the paper business is still running. Arati
decided to try her hand in the food business to diversify. They have all kinds of food products
from titaura to pickles and ladoo. These foods are important part of our culture and Arati
wants to promote them. Dashain and Tihar are the busiest time for them as they receive an
overwhelming number of orders, but there are slower days as well, like any other business.
They have been selling their products to kirana shops for about 2 years and it has been doing
Business during COVID-19 and Adapting to E-commerce
The consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak are unprecedented and have not only
threatened the public health but profoundly affected the livelihoods of millions and the
Nepalese economy. Many businesses are adapting and strategizing to survive. This Corona
Virus crisis will necessitate some huge changes. The shopping habits of consumers have been
affected as they are pushed to buy goods online to ensure their safety. Many businesses are
trying their best to respond to this crisis by providing a seamless online shopping experience
for their consumers as they avoid going out. To address the current situation, Arati wanted to
utilize the online platform and, coincidently, she is one of the women entrepreneurs selected
for the online promotion of her products under the “MA-UDHYAMI” campaign as a part of
the project “Revitalizing Women’s Businesses Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic”. The project is
being implemented by Federation of Woman Entrepreneurs’ Associations of Nepal
(FWEAN), together with EMERGE and Thulo.com, and is funded by the United States
Agency for International Development (USAID). This crisis has shown that customers are
going to pivot towards online shopping even more after this.
Something to learn from Arati
Arati believes that for now all business aspirations should be put on hold until the situation
clears up. It is still too uncertain to know how long this pandemic might last. COVID-19 has
drastically changed the consumer spending power. Consumers are less inclined to spend on
luxuries, and household income is going to continue falling in the coming months. Lockdown
measures have also limited what consumers spend on, as restaurants and shops are closed and
travelling has been halted. This means that people need to think conscientiously about their
next venture. They should provide solutions that meet the needs of customers in a post
COVID-19 era. Arati advices that one could start a business that provides essential products
and services. Entrepreneurs should also have digitalization on the top of their priority list. In
the midst of this chaos, ability to leverage digital tools is a must for businesses to survive.
Businesses should think about providing contactless shopping and delivery options.
View all products of Mahi Enterprises: https://thulo.com/mahi/
Story Covered by: Ms. Jaani Kandangwa
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