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Nirmal's Blog

Nirmal's Blog

30 Stories: Prabal Gurung

@prabalgurung Story by @thestorieshub

The world of Prabal Gurung is vast. He is a fashion designer, an activist, a cultural icon, a philanthropist, and an inspiration to many individuals around the world.

Prabal’s journey to the highest echelons of fashion is nothing short of a beautiful, and humbling story. Born in Singapore and raised in Nepal, Prabal was raised by his heroic single mother who encouraged him to pursue his wildest dreams. As a young boy who was constantly bullied and harassed in school, Prabal’s mother was his biggest source of strength, comfort, and inspiration.

Prabal found a home in New York City, where he could fulfill his ambitious dreams. He knew that taking a chance to study at Parsons was his decision and would live with the results if things didn’t work out. After his education at Parsons as well as his experiences at Donna Karan, Cynthia Rowley and Bill Blass, Prabal decided to launch his own label in 2009. Although 2009 was not the ideal climate to launch a fashion label because of the recession, Prabal adjusted by even collecting unemployment and downsizing his apartment.

Fast forward 10 years later, Prabal has created a luxury brand with a soul and purpose. His designs have been worn by the most influential women around the world including the former first lady Michelle Obama, Oprah, Zoe Saldana, Priyanka Chopra, The Duchess of Cambridge, Kerry Washington, Sarah Jessica Parker, Queen Rania of Jordan, Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Deepika Padukone, Gabrielle Union, Ashley Graham, Hikari Mori, Katy Perry to name a few. He also started the Shikshya Foundation Nepal in 2011, which provides comprehensive education to children in Nepal.

Bio: Prabal Gurung launched his collection in February 2009. He leads the brand with purpose and responsibility, choosing to manufacture locally in the garment district of New York City and partnering with artisans in his home country of Nepal. Follow Prabal @prabalgurung

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: Stephen Curry

@stephencurry30 Story by @thestorieshub

Stephen Curry was born into a NBA family. His father, Dell Curry played in the NBA for 16 seasons. Stephen showed passion and promise for basketball from an early age. For college, Stephen wanted to play for Virginia Tech just like his father did but he was only offered a walk-on spot due in part to his slender 160-pound frame. Stephen ultimately decided to play for Davidson College who saw his potential and aggressively recruited him.

During the transition from high school to college, Stephen heard a lot of people saying that he was too small, not athletic enough, could not play defense, and not strong enough to play in the NBA. Those comments ignited Stephen at Davidson and also were similar to the comments he heard when going from college to the NBA.

At Davidson, Stephen had a phenomenal run in the NCAA tournaments and averaged about 30 ppg. In his final college season, Curry averaged 28.6 points, 5.6 assists, and 2.5 steals and was the NCAA scoring leader. He got selected by the Golden State Warriors in the 2009 NBA draft. The early years at Golden State Warriors were challenging for Stephen because of his injuries, players and coaching changes to name a few. However, with the addition of new head coach, Steve Kerr in 2014, the fate of the franchise started to change. In the 2014-2015 season, Golden State closed out the series against Cleveland Cavaliers to win their first championship in 40 years with Stephen averaging 26 points and 6.3 assists per game in the Finals. That same year he won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award.

Bio: Stephen Curry is now a three time NBA champion, two time NBA Most Valuable Player and six time NBA All Star just to name a few of his highly coveted basketball accomplishments.

Image credit: Forbes

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: Puma

PERFORMANCE ON ALL LEVELS

THIS IS PUMA

Sport has the power to transform and empower us. As one of the world’s leading sports brands, it’s only natural that we want to stand on the same playing field as the fastest athletes on the planet. To achieve that, the PUMA brand is based on the very values that make an excellent athlete.

Text credit: Puma website
Image credit: turbologo

30 Stories: Jay Williams

@realjaywilliams Story by @thestorieshub

Jay Williams was a high school all-American, national player of the year, national champion at Duke, and the No. 2 overall NBA draft selection in 2002. He was drafted by the Chicago Bulls and was on his way to play for the renowned basketball franchise. However, an afternoon in June, 2003 changed everything for Jay. He crashed his motorcycle on a side street on the north side of Chicago and the NBA journey that was about to begin fell short.

For years, Jay struggled with depression. He took a lot of pain medication for too long and even blew out the candles for his 22nd birthday in bed. He spent years in rehabilitation and at his lowest point, he even considered suicide. During recovery, he did physical therapy every day, often twice, for two years. Once he recovered after many years, he tried to return to the NBA and did a tryout with the New Jersey Nets. Later, he joined the Austin Toros in the Development League hoping for an eventual return to the NBA. When that dream to return to the NBA did not happen, he had to search for the next chapter in his life. 

The next chapter came with ESPN and ESPNU who saw Jay’s potential as an analyst. ESPN lauded Jay’s initiative for an analyst among ESPN’s youngest and his career goals included becoming the “African-American Matt Lauer.” He now says “I hope people remind me of my accident every day of my life because that means I’m a prime example of somebody who had it and lost everything and may not have gotten it back in the same capacity but still reinvented myself.”

Bio: Jay Williams is currently a very successful college basketball and NBA analyst for ESPN, and host of the ESPN+ sports business platform “The Boardroom.” In 2016, he released his memoir, “Life Is Not An Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention.” He is also a minority stakeholder in The Cabin NYC, a restaurant and bar.

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: Offering Happiness

@offeringhappiness Story by @thestorieshub

Our entrepreneurial journey began when we decided we needed to work on a  sustainable business. We had worked on numerous development related projects with donor agencies and now wanted to start a business that was different, creative, profitable, and offered a solution to an existing problem in the market. 

We realized that a lot of people wanted to do something special for their loved ones, but did not have the time, so we decided to offer a solution, while also adding excitement in their relationships. After a lot of ideation, we decided on becoming surprise planners or surprise gift deliverers and with less than one lakh of investment, we started Offering Happiness in 2017.

The first year of business operations consisted of many ups and downs. We had started out without much market research or a concrete business model. In the initial phase, some days we got a lot of business, while other days we were not busy at all. By participating in business competitions and reaching out to mentors, we were able to hone our business model and our vision became much clearer.

Bio: Started by four co-founders, Offering Happiness is a pioneer in experiential gifting in Nepal and has delivered more than 10,000 gifts and experiences since it’s launch. Offering Happiness was the 2019 winner at Seedstars Kathmandu and were awarded the Global Student Entrepreneurs Awards (GSEA) Nepal 2019. Get happy at @offeringhappiness

Image credit: Offering Happiness Facebook page

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: TOMS

@toms Story

ABOUT TOMS

As the Original One for One Company, we’ve always been in business to improve lives.

Since 2006, our community has given nearly 100 million pairs of shoes to people in need. And while shoes can have a big impact, we’ve learned that giving shoes and impact grants can have an even bigger impact.

Now, for every $3 we make, we give $1 away. This is our commitment—to our customers, to our partners, and to our future.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

While traveling through Argentina in 2006, TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie saw the hardships faced by children without shoes. This inspired him to create a for-profit business with giving at its core. The idea? For every pair of shoes the company sold, a new pair would be given to a child in need.

And with that, TOMS—short for Tomorrow’s Shoes—was born.

Text credit : TOMS website

Image credit: TOMS Twitter

30 Stories: Red Mud Coffee

@redmudcoffee Story by @thestorieshub

“Every Revolution Starts in a Coffee Shop”

The journey of Red Mud Coffee began from a short trip that Aashish Adhikari took when he went to visit his grandparents in Kavre. He discovered that his ancestral lands were perfectly suited for planting coffee and as a coffee lover, he was deeply interested in starting a coffee plantation in Nepal. He wanted to grow coffee and export it around the world. However, this vision did not come to fruition. Eventually, he came across an opportunity to buy a struggling coffee store in Thapathali and with his brother and school friend bought it and renamed it Red Mud Coffee. This is how the coffee revolution began for them.

One of the biggest challenges for Red Mud in the initial stages was getting access to capital. After two to three years of having established the coffee shop, they found a Dutch partner who believed in their vision. With the new partnership, vision, and team, Aashish is determined to make Red Mud Coffee the “Starbucks” of Nepal. With 5 Red Mud outlets in Nepal to date ranging from Thapathali to Manang, Aashish is really proud to have created and provided jobs to many young people. He is also very happy to have created a brand that a lot of young individuals can associate with. His vision has really come true – Red Mud is regarded as a socially vibrant space where you can mingle and network.

Bio: Started in 2012 by Aashish Adhikari, Red Mud Coffee now has 5 outlets and a coffee kiosk inside the United States Embassy in Maharajgunj. Aashish also runs Mero2Paisa, a platform and podcast that is focused on producing content that is relevant to issues faced by the youth of Nepal. Follow the revolution @redmudcoffee

Image credit: Red Mud Coffee Facebook page

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: Patagonia

@patagonia is excellent at storytelling.

Patagonia shares its company’s values by making it’s customer the hero of the story.

On their website and social media platforms, they feature a variety of customer stories. The stories move people, inspire their employees towards a shared mission, highlight the adventures of their current customers, and give potential customers’ insight into the company’s core values.

Follow their stories @patagonia

Image credit: Verite

30 Stories: Sneha Shrestha (Imagine)

@imagine876 Story by @thestorieshub

“You can imagine, too.”

The graffiti art form mesmerized Sneha. She had never seen American graffiti and learned more about the art form from her mentor, Rob Gibbs, a pioneer of graffiti in Boston. When she started writing in Nepali, she felt that her voice could really shine. She realized she could show who she is as a person, where she’s from, and a bit about her culture. She finds inspiration for her paintings from the vibrant traditions and cultures of Nepal, where she was born and raised. Her pieces convey a positive phrase – “You can imagine, too.” 

Although Sneha went to one of the best schools in Kathmandu, she still felt that she did not have an art experience opportunity. From her own experience growing up and realizing how important art experiences are to kids, she established Nepal’s first Children’s Art Museum. The museum provides educational and creative learning experiences and has had over 7,000 participants to date.

Bio: Sneha Shrestha (Imagine) is an artist from Nepal who paints mindful mantras meshing aesthetics of Sanskrit scriptures with graffiti influences. She has collaborated with Reebok, Neiman Marcus, and Red Bull and her work is held in the private collections of Facebook, Google, Capital One and Fidelity Investments. She is the founder of Nepal Children’s Art Museum. In 2016, she was given the key to the city by the mayor of Worcester. Follow her @imagine876

Image credit: WhereTraveler website

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: Trisara

@trisara_restaurant Story by @thestorieshub

The journey of Trisara began with three friends who always wanted to open a restaurant. Once they acquired the land they wanted in Lazimpat, the restaurant was on its way to become a beloved hang out spot for many Kathmandu residents. 

Over the years, Trisara evolved with the changing times, tastes, and expectations. When the restaurant first started, they had half of the current food and drink items available on the menu. They had not even thought about hosting live music shows and events. Today, people excitedly discuss their food, customer service, live music, and especially the restaurant’s ambience on social platforms. 

With the success of the restaurant’s first branch in Lazimpat, the friends have opened a second one in Pokhara, followed by the latest one in Durbarmarg. They opened Trisara The Baking Factory as well. They eventually want to open a branch outside of Nepal.

Bio: Trisara was founded in 2011 by three friends Arun Shrestha, Raunak Rana, and Sovan Malakar. The restaurant is now extremely well known in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Follow them @trisara_restaurant

Image credit: Trisara Facebook page

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: 108 Wears


@108ktm
 Story by @thestorieshub

The number 108 holds multi-dimensional meanings. It is considered sacred in many religions and traditions and is also a recurring number in astrology, science, and mathematics. In एक सए आठ the individual numbers 1, 0, and 8 represent onething, nothing, and everything respectively.

We wanted to bring unique and meaningful designs inspired by Nepali culture into a clothing brand and that’s how 108 wears came about. We had been designing limited edition tees by outsourcing our tailoring and printing since 2012. Then, in 2017 we started printing tees through our own print workshop. One of the main reasons behind this was to be able to experiment with different printing techniques.

We remember the days when we printed our first design (Nepal United F.C.) at a local print shop, but the color was printed opposite to what we had wanted. We went all around town trying to find the right printers to change the design multiple times and make things work. We have really experienced the challenges of printing and producing high quality tees without having our own print shop.

Now, we are able to produce good quality designs in our print shop and bring it to the market.

Bio: 108 Wears was started by Kushal and Salil in 2012. They sell their products through @thelocalprojectnepal_tlp@blockoutktm as well as online. Follow them @108ktm

Image credit: The Local Project Nepal 

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: JetSole

@jetsole Story by @thestorieshub

JetSole brings together individuals who are into premium clothing and sneakers as well as brands who want to reach potential customers under one platform.

I have always been the guy that likes to find new brands or wear clothing that are stylish, while still being unique and true to me. However, I realized how disconnected the process of finding and acquiring premium clothing and sneakers was, especially for individuals who were working full time or can’t find time to go shopping, but still want to be in the know. Similarly, new brands were having a hard time getting their products in the hands of potential customers. So, I created JetSole to address the void of convenience and curation of unique clothing and sneakers that are needed by today’s customers.

I have found it increasingly beneficial to travel to a lot of events across the country to get the JetSole brand out there. I like to travel because it gives me a new perspective on existing problems and helps me come up with fresh solutions. 

To date, JetSole has generated over 15K downloads and fulfilled over 1.5K orders since its launch.

Bio: Started by Nelson Gedeon in 2016, JetSole is an e-commerce platform for premium sneakers and streetwear. Follow the Jet life @jetsole

Image credit: JetSole Twitter page

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: The Hiut Denim Company

@hiutdenim Story

Our town is going to make jeans again

Cardigan is a small town of 4,000 good people. 400 of them used to make jeans. They made 35,000 pairs a week. For three decades.

Then one day the factory closed. It left town. But all that skill and knowhow remained. Without any way of showing the world what they could do.

That’s why we have started The Hiut Denim Company. To bring manufacturing back home. To use all that skill on our doorstep. And to breathe new life into our town. 

As one of the Grand Masters said to me when I was interviewing: “This is what I know how to do. This is what I do best.” I just sat there thinking I have to make this work. 

So yes, our town is going to make jeans again. 

Here goes. 

Text credit : The Hiut Denim Company website

Image credit : GQ website

30 Stories: Arniko

@arniko_official Story by @thestorieshub

Marius “Arniko” Arter initially did not plan to make a business out of selling skateboards. He went to Nepal to see if he was going to be able to produce skateboards and after three months of producing skateboards in Nepal, he brought two boards back to Switzerland. Many people in his network in Switzerland liked the skateboards so much that he went back to Nepal to produce more, which ultimately led to the creation of his business, Arniko.

Arniko is well known for their skateboards, which they proudly produce in Nepal and was the first company to introduce the skateboarding culture on a large scale in the country. Back in 2011, Arniko had about 70% foreign customers and 30% local Nepalese customers. The skateboard scene was rising in Nepal and Arniko believed that there was potential in growing and getting more Nepali customers. 

Fast forward to today, we now have @skate_nepal, which is spreading skateboarding to the people of Nepal. There is now also a community-built skatepark in Pokhara, Nepal @annapurnaskatepark.

Bio: Established in 2007, Arniko produces a wide range of fashion articles and skateboards in Nepal and India. Arniko has a flagship store in Zurich, Switzerland and also sell their merchandise through The Local Project Nepal store in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Image credit: Arniko website

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: The Local Project Nepal

@thelocalprojectnepal_tlp Story by @thestorieshub

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” – Steve Jobs

Sachin Shrestha believes that all the work experiences that he had and the environment he grew up in helped him co-found “The Local Project Nepal.” His father had a successful garment factory, which sustained the family. Over time, the orders decreased for the products they were manufacturing and then one day his father decided to close down the factory and hoped to restart the business in the next few years. However, the factory never restarted again.

During his work journey, Sachin worked for KN International for about three years. The company’s long time business clients from Japan started to demand chemical free fabrics that were produced ethically through fair practices, which gave him a lot of exposure in those areas. These experiences also helped shed light into the opportunities and challenges of ethical production of goods in Nepal. Deep inside, Sachin really wanted to start his own brand or delve into manufacturing, but he couldn’t do it for a variety of reasons, until an opportunity came along.

When a business opportunity to start a store that promotes local products inside Evoke Cafe & Bistro came about from Sachin and Binam’s friends, they immediately said yes. Sachin believes that providing a platform for local manufacturers brings him joy and closer to his manufacturing roots. Now, “The Local Project Nepal” has two locations in the Kathmandu valley and is a hub for authentic and locally made products.

Bio: Started by Sachin Shrestha and Binam Shakya, “The Local Project Nepal” encourages local entrepreneurship and production, while providing a platform for Nepal made vendors to sell their products. Follow them @thelocalprojectnepal_tlp

Image credit: Evoke Cafe & Bistro

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: Arthur Gunn

@arthur_gunn Story by @thestorieshub

When I got my first guitar from my mom, I was ecstatic and started singing and playing songs I heard on the radio and TV. That’s how I fell in love with music. 

After high school, I moved to America from Nepal and settled in Wichita, Kansas. Living in Wichita really got me into Bluegrass and Country music. I had not listened to those kinds of music before, but I was pulled towards it. This attraction was magnetic.

I made my American dream come true by being runner up in the American Idol 2020 competition. Thank you to all of you beautiful people around the world for supporting my @AmericanIdol journey. American Idol gave me a universal platform to share my love for music with you and I hope you will join me on the road ahead.

Peace&Love!

Bio: Dibesh Pokharel who goes by the stage name, Arthur Gunn came 1st runner up on the American Idol 2020 competition. He won many hearts from fans all around the world and judges alike with his talent, style, and personality. His 7-track EP “Self-Titled” was released in the summer of 2020. Follow him @arthur_gunn

Image credit: The Wichita Eagle

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: Writers Ink

@writersinkinsta Story by @thestorieshub

I loved writing from a very young age because it gave me a sense of freedom, a form of expression, and most importantly a voice. As a Writing Consultant at Auburn University’s Miller Writing Center, I helped hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students with their writing projects. Each writing consultation appointment allowed me to go on a journey with the student to tackle their writing frustrations, road blocks, and own their success. It gave me immense satisfaction knowing that I was able to help make an impact by improving someone’s writing skills and scope of knowledge.

I knew there were other students and professionals in academia and industry who needed guidance with their writing. I wanted to make a bigger difference in my community and beyond, so that’s why Writers Ink was created. Writers Ink helps you hone your writing skills to achieve your end results. Writers Ink is my passion, my calling, and an opportunity to help you become more confident in finding your writing voice.

Bio: Writers Ink was started by Anshu Shrestha. She is a career coach and writing consultant. Follow them @writersinkinsta for all topics related to writing.

Image credit: @writersinkinsta @siraj.ig

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: Nike

Our mission is what drives us to do everything possible to expand human potential. We do that by creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.

Based in Beaverton, Oregon, NIKE, Inc. includes the Nike, Converse, and Jordan brands. 

Follow their stories @nike

Above text is from @nike About page.

Image credit: diginomica.com

30 Stories: Himalayan Java

@himalayanjava Story by @thestorieshub

Tea remains a huge part of the daily Nepali culture and experience. Most people have multiple cups of tea throughout the day. Back in 1999, coffee culture in Nepal was mostly non-existent when Gagan Pradhan and Anand Gurung brought it to the masses by opening the first Himalayan Java in Thamel. Nowadays, coffee culture is widespread, trendy, and fashionable in Nepal.

Gagan fell in love with coffee beans when he was a student studying hospitality management in Australia. The small, independent coffee shops that he frequented as a student became the model and inspiration for his own Himalayan Java franchise. Gagan recalls that he does not remember a single outlet in Kathmandu that served freshly brewed coffee, and wanted to fill that gap. He wasn’t sure of how customers would respond to brewed coffee. However, he was a passionate coffee-head determined to turn his passion into business and went ahead to start Himalayan Java. From the beginning, the co-founders wanted to sell an experience through coffee.

Today, Himalayan Java not only offers the best tasting Nepali coffee beans in the country, but it is also a distributor of coffee machines, offers Barista training/Bakery training, and has its very own coffee farm.

Bio: Gagan Pradhan and Anand Gurung started Himalayan Java, which has been serving Nepali coffee since 1999. They now have 27 Himalayan Java outlets located throughout the world including Toronto, Canada, Omaha, US, and Minnesota, US. Follow them @himalayanjava

Image credit: Himalayan Java Facebook page

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/

30 Stories: Urban Girl

@iurbangirl Story by @thestorieshub

When we were in college, we would see so many products on international shopping websites that we wanted to buy, but we could not because we did not have international credit cards. Then, an idea of an online shop for the Nepali market came to us and Urban Girl was born in 2012.

Our vision is to create a one-stop solution for all online shopping requirements. Having started out by selling fashion jewelry and customized products such as tee-shirts, we have evolved to sell makeup, home decor, electronics, and eventually cakes. 

In 2020, we launched our biggest project to date, UG Bazaar, which is a social e-commerce platform. From being one of the earliest e-commerce startups in Nepal, to now having launched UG Bazaar, it has been an incredible and humbling journey. 

Bio: Nikita Acharya and Kiran Timsina co-founded Urban Girl in 2012 with an initial investment of $200. Today the company employs more than 50 individuals and operates in Kathmandu and Pokhara. The two co-founders were on the Forbes 30 Under 30 – Asia – Retail & Ecommerce 2020 Follow them @iurbangirl

Image credit: Urban Girl Facebook page

This story was first published on https://www.instagram.com/thestorieshub/