Ms. Mahalaxmi Shrestha (The Beekeeping Shop)

Thulo .Com
Aug 27, 2020
0

Mahalaxmi was initially involved in research work on Nepalese honey, its quality and floral
origin. With the knowledge of honey quality and beekeeping, she decided to start The
Beekeeping Shop in 1996 to support small beekeepers of rural Nepal and help them market their
products. In those days, it was rare for a woman to start a beekeeping and research center, but
Mahalaxmi knew from early on that the honey industry in Nepal was burgeoning and she wanted
to be part of it. She decided to take the risk, and with sufficient training and knowledge,
Mahalaxmi knew that this was what she wanted to do. The organization was initially centered
towards promoting beekeeping and imparting knowledge to rural beekeepers to produce quality
honey based on floral source. They started to offer different varieties of unifloral and mutlifloral
honey for the first time in Nepal with microscopic analysis. The organization is continually
working towards improving the quality of Nepalese honey by improving the beekeeping
practices in Nepal. It aims to increase export possibilities and improve not only the beekeeping
industry in Nepal but also improve the lives of rural farmers.

Every entrepreneur goes through struggles while sustaining their business. It is arduous to run a
business and is not for the faint-hearted. One needs to understand that it takes a lot of resilience
and patience to start seeing positive results. Mahalaxmi started her business at a time when there
were very limited resources. There was no proper business ecosystem in place that could address
market demands and changes quickly, and this affected the rate of growth for her business. It was
not easy to grow a business then unlike entrepreneurs today who are blessed with more resources
to tackle the problems. In addition the country was undergoing political unrest making it less
conducive for commerce. She has had to learn and grow along the way. Nevertheless, with

everything Mahalaxmi has experienced, she understands her industry better and navigates
accordingly.
The beekeeping industry was unheard of when Mahalaxmi started, and there were a lot of
naysayers. It is very common for an army of people to tell you why you should not or cannot do
it when you are starting a business, especially if it is one that is beyond their comprehension.
Even those closest to you will not understand why and the strongest resistance might come from
them. Our goals and dreams are too precious for others to taint them therefore we should not be
discouraged. When Mahalaxmi started, there were very few women entrepreneurs, and to top it
off, she entered an industry that people were unaware of. People were skeptical of her work and
questioned her abilities. She had a lot to prove to these people. Luckily for her, her family was
supportive of what she was doing and assisted her in every way they could. If Mahalaxmi had
given into the negativity, she would not have 25 years of experience under her belt today.

Business during COVID-19 and Adapting to E-commerce

With almost 25 years of experience, the COVID-19 outbreak served as a reminder that
unforeseen catastrophes have happened and will continue to happen. Businesses around the
world have been forced to close down leading to a disruption in commerce, bringing unparalleled
shock to the economy. They are facing many short-term challenges, such as those related to
cash-flow, health and safety, consumer demand, sales, and marketing. Mahalaxmi too felt all
these impacts of COVID-19.

“There is no telling how long this situation is going to last or when it will turn around therefore,
businesses should think about sustaining themselves. They should try and keep their expenses to
the minimum and not think about starting anything new as of right now.” She believes that
businesses should now move forward with a strategy that is focused more on selling online. She
feels blessed to have been selected as one of the women entrepreneurs 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).

It is expected of business owners to be tech savvy and even if you are not, there are so many
ways one can learn and educate themselves. Entrepreneurs should understand that having an
online presence is important and even more so post COVID-19 because of the radical changes in
consumption patterns brought about by the pandemic.

Something to learn from Mahalaxmi

Mahalaxmi advises entrepreneurs to introduce a creative and innovative solution with good
knowledge on what you are doing. Customer needs are always changing, and if businesses fail to
meet these needs, they fail to grow that is why entrepreneurs should aim to introduce innovative
products. Entrepreneurs should also understand that the business environment is full of
uncertainty and risks, but Mahalaxmi hopes that this does not deter other women entrepreneurs
from starting something of their own. They should have the determination to succeed and also
trust the process and the journey they are on. Hard work will always pay off.

View all products of The Beekeeping Shop: https://thulo.com/tbs-the-beekeeping-shop/
Story Covered by: Ms. Jaani Kandangwa

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