Ms. Bimala Sunwar (White Lotus)

Aug 24, 2020
by Thulo .Com

Natural organic food was once only found in health food stores. Today, as consumers become
more aware, its popularity has exploded making it a regular feature at most supermarkets.
The term organic refers to the way certain foods are produced. These foods are grown
without the use of artificial chemicals like preservatives, hormones and antibiotics. Organic
food relies on the use of natural fertilizers and conditions which does not inhibit the
environment, and have been shown to contain higher levels of vitamins and nutrients
resulting in a healthier lifestyle. White Lotus Organic Concern is a company established in
2016 to promote healthy lifestyle through the consumption of natural organic food. They
believe that people should pay attention to not just what they eat but also how the food they
eat are grown.

Nepal is an agro-rich country, and many women in the rural area are involved in the
production of naturally grown food. Most of these produce goes to waste because they are not
able to reach the market on time. This is where White Lotus steps in. White Lotus facilitates
the process of bringing these natural organic food from the farms to the kitchens of the urban
population. They transport dals (pulses) from Rasuwa buckwheat from Sindhuli and
Okhaldhunga, potato from Rolpa, apple from Mustang and Manang, cheese from Jiri, walnut
from Humla, Marsi rice and beans from Jumla and many more. They are constantly sourcing
food from different parts of Nepal in order to meet the rising demand of natural organic food.
Businesses face intense competition which can be intimidating at times, but without
competition, they would not be able to grow and learn. They face a lot of obstacles, and

White Lotus too experienced their fair share of it. White Lotus had to compete with
international products, which is never an easy task in Nepal because it has been ingrained in
the mind of the Nepalese that international products are always better looking and of higher
quality. However, as of late, people are changing the way they view Nepal made products,
and the #madeinNepal movement has been gaining momentum. Producer and consumers are
both supporting locally made products by shedding light on its importance in the preservation
of Nepalese traditions and culture, and sustenance of local economy. As a startup, White
Lotus had to learn about the fundamentals of managing a business and progress along the
way. According to Bimala Sunwar, one of the owners, every entrepreneur should realize that
running a business is not easy and there are many mistakes to be made and learnt from.

Business during COVID-19 and Adapting to E-commerce
When COVID-19 hit, it was the first catastrophe that White Lotus had ever experienced. The
pandemic took everyone by surprise, and no one was prepared to face its consequences. One
of the major problems that White Lotus experienced during the lockdown was transporting
the produces from different parts of Nepal to Kathmandu. The government ceased all kinds of
operations during the lockdown, making it difficult for White Lotus to stock their products.
White Lotus knew that for the time being, they had to work with what they had. They already
have an online presence and are quite active on Facebook, but to create more awareness about
their brand among consumers, they wanted to have a wider market reach. Luckily, White
Lotus happened to be one of the companies selected for the online promotion of their
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).

COVID-19 is an entirely different kind of crises than the ones before. Unlike previous crises
that were financially driven, this pandemic because of health and safety concerns surrounding
it is customer driven. Customers’ immobility and desire to be safe has forced changes in their
behaviors. This is pushing businesses to accept a new reality. Firms need to adopt a customer
centric approach where instead of expecting the customers to come to them, firms need to go
to them. This means that businesses moving forward need to understand that most of their
customers are now online. In order to adapt to COVID-19, businesses should not only go
online but also realize that they need to introduce new solutions for problems caused by fear,
isolation and physical distancing. White Lotus too has plans to improve their online
operations.

Something to learn from Bimala
Bimala hopes that the new generation of Nepalese stay in Nepal and contribute towards the
country’s economy. She wants to see more people involved in the agricultural industry of
Nepal which has so much potential but due to lack of human resource, is lagging behind. She
emphasizes, “There is so much one can do in Nepal for Nepal. For people who aspire to start
their own businesses, they should do something within the realm of their interest. They
should also do it here in Nepal so that they can give employment to their own people as
well”.

View all products of White Lotus: https://thulo.com/white-lotus/

Story Covered by: Ms. Jaani Kandangwa

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