22 year old Akriti Sidhhi got into the trend of making customized clothes and accessories by painting people’s shoes, clothes, bags, etc. in August, 2020. The popularity of such customized fashion is increasing at a high rate in Nepali society.
Siddhi stumbled upon some online customization stores through social media and was interested right away. She came up with her own online store, ‘imprint.nepal’. It was a great option for an art lover like her to earn some money while doing something she loves. “It kept me engaged and also allowed me to earn my own pocket money”, she says.
Sunil Shrestha was inspired by Cam Pickstock- an artist from the UK who creates similar art. Shrestha began his journey as a customized wear creator in 2017 under the name ‘inked_customs’.
Customizing one’s clothes and accessories became a trend to limelight as celebrities like NBA players, UFC fighters and the global fashion industry started wearing them.
“Art is usually displayed on walls and exhibitions. Wearing your favorite art pieces is a dream many people have”, says Shrestha. “This is a unique approach to the concept of wearable art” he adds.
“Western culture has a strong influence on the Nepali youth today.”, says Sidhhi. “There has also been a rise in appreciation for art and creativity in the Nepali society recently. Customizing clothes and accessories helps people express themselves through fashion”, she adds.
Like any other business, these online stores also run on the basis of demand and supply in the market.
Shrestha receives about 2-3 orders per week while Sidhhi receives 3-5 orders per day.
The popularity of customized clothing is mainly amongst the youth. The older generation are still not used to it.
Shrestha shares, “My family did not understand the point of it. They kept questioning why I will be painting shoes, or why would anyone wear something like this. But ever since I showed them my first painted converse and a picture of my customer wearing them, they’ve been really supportive.”
“It was a big step for me to launch this start-up because I am not very outgoing”, Sidhhi says. “It makes me happy to see my family proud of me for trying something I had never thought of doing before independently”, she adds.
“It means a big deal to run a business that represents yourself and things you value”, says Shrestha. “Talking about less investments and even lesser risks, that’s the dream of every entrepreneur”, he adds.
However, they faced some issues during the lockdown like any other businesses.
Sidhhi couldn’t buy more paint for her business as the borders were sealed. “I had to postpone a lot of orders and plans during the lockdown”, she says.
Shrestha explains, “I did not take orders during the lockdown since there was no way for me to deliver them. Instead I spent my time coming up with new styles and ideas for the future.”
Both creators started their small businesses out of their love of art. Today, it has grown to be bigger than something that they expected.
Shrestha aims to collaborate with different artists and establish a workshop and showroom in the future. He wants to custom goods with a fusion between modern and traditional art. Sidhhi also has started planning to take her small business to the next level.