By Sabasta Rauniar
A congregation of Nepal’s traditionally contemporary artists and creators is how one would describe Timro Concept Store. Seemingly paradoxical Timro Concept Store houses products that are used in contemporary lifestyle but carry a narrative filled with tradition and history. It is an innovative platform to showcase Nepal’s artists to Nepal and the world.
Yogen Tamrakar and Dipendra Lama met while they were studying for their Bachelors degree at Apex College, Kathmandu. After completing studies they started their business of selling notebooks made of Lokta paper (handcrafted local paper) at a monthly art market. Seeing that handmade products did not have a big retail presence, they than founded Timro Concept Store in April last year with an aim to provide a continuous supportive platform for Nepali artists and SMEs.
Many local producers do not have the funds or resources to own a shop in a commercial area. Timro Concept Store aims to provide such producers the space to display their products. Forming a symbiotic relationship with the creators by sharing the rent, producers are thus able to afford a prime location outlet, currently in Jhamsikhel.
This arrangement has worked out well for the founders of Timro Concept Store and they are aggressively promoting their business through social media. This has also helped them come into contact with more artists and artisans to feature in their store.
In the beginning Timro Concept Store partnered with only six brands. The number has now tripled. The family now includes SMEs like Sherpani Creations, Ekadesma, Studio Sarcastic, Muskan, Hatti Hatti, Bhav, Resa Living, Tissah and Allare.
The store is dedicated to selling carefully curated products, the likes of which range from Samrajya – Nepal’s first board game, handmade jewellery, hand-woven natural fabrics and clothing, quirky art, posters and cards, handmade accessories among others.
Timro Concept Store follows the concept of a shop inside a shop. Such business concepts are popular in Europe but Timro Concept Store is one of the first to replicate the model in Nepal.
Unlike curio and traditional handicraft shops which specifically cater to tourists, Timro Concept Store strives to appeal to all sorts of people. They want the encourage local sales and usage of the products. A lot of Nepali products are exported and what remains is often substandard, they share adding, “Most of what remains home is substandard and do not have good finishing”. The founders want Nepalis to consume high quality Nepali products.
Tamrakar and Lama make it a point to visit the craftsmen to learn the story behind every creation. They believe that these stories form a connection with consumers. The products are usually rich in Nepali cultural symbolism which the founders make a point to explain to their customers. For this reason, one of the founders is always available at the store.
A few things that Timro Concept Store does not compromise on: the products have to be made in Nepal, the working conditions of the craftsmen must be up to standard, they do not accept two of the same kind of pieces, the products are always selected with the store in mind, and they colour coordinate the pieces.
Timro Concept Store also promotes conscious fashion. They conducted an event called Fashion Revolution Nepal in April 2018 where the public was invited to witness the “making of the products” on the spot. The event was also organised to help differentiate between mass produced goods and handmade goods.
Timro Concept Store also doubles up as a café allowing customers to mull over the stories behind the craftsmanship of each handmade product.