Text by Avant Shrestha
Backpack has become a vital accessory. Regardless of who you are, what you do, or where you live, a handbag or a backpack is an undisputed essential. Mheecha is a Nepali brand that designs and manufactures backpacks. The brand has managed to gain popularity in the market, specially among the youth.
The word ‘backpack’ first originated in the US during the 1910s. The German word ‘rückensack’ also basically translates as backpack. In Nepal however, Mheecha is a Newari word which basically means a pouch; also described as thaili or thailo that is predominantly used by women to keep their money. The thaili is a traditional design and known for its durability and functionality. Keeping the same principle in mind, Nishan Bajracharya and his partners established Mheecha in 2016.
Mheecha was designed and developed to be functional, durable and fashionable. Just a few years in the business, Mheecha has become synonymous with backpacks.
Nishan Bajracharya, Pratik Shakya and Anish Bajracharya founded Mheecha in 2016. The concept came when they viewed the extensive use of backpacks and the demand for cool variations at affordable prices. Nishan, Co-Founder and CEO, recalls, “My cousin brother Pratik Shakya and I came up with the idea after seeing a market opportunity for cool backpacks. We approached a designer friend of ours, Anish Bajracharya, to take the lead on designs. He is currently the Creative Director of the company”.
The founders decided to create their own brand with a true local identity for local sales and export.
Mheecha’s backpacks are for everyone, but it has gained appreciation mainly from consumers between 18-35 years old. Extra attention is paid to the design. Nishan explains, “We spend a lot of time in the design process. We make sure the product looks cool and appeals to our customers. Then we spend a lot of time thinking about cool ways to present and brand it. I think this is what gives us an edge in the market.”
Currently, Mheecha has more than 50 unique, colorful, functional and durable bags in their collection. The Ghost Pack at Rs. 3450, the Boulder Sack at Rs.2550 and the Relay Backpack at Rs. 3150 are the most popular ones.
According to Nishan, the backpack market in Nepal is dominated by imports. He estimates, “Maybe, 70-80% of the market is covered by imported generic and branded backpacks. The remaining 20-30% would be local brands like us.”
The team pays special attention to planning, procedure and marketing. Starting a business is tough in the Nepali entrepreneurial ecosystem but the challenges also mean that there are opportunities. “I believe start-ups should have a better support framework made available to them by policymakers. Investments, loan subsidies, tax breaks as incentives would help a start-up reach its potential to grow to a level where it can compete nationally or internationally with big businesses,” explains Nishan.
Mheecha has a team of 24 people that includes management and manufacturing teams. Communication is the key to their workplace synergy. Nishan says, “We are just focused on the present. We are trying to build a good brand with good systems in place.”
To buy or learn more visit: www.mheecha.com