A vogue new worldUrban Girl, an exclusive online portal for women established three and a half years ago, has already become a household name in many of the metropolitan cities in the country.
Urban Girl, an exclusive online portal for women established three and a half years ago, has already become a household name in many of the metropolitan cities in the country. Nikita Acharya, its founder, started the business when she was still in college, and little did she know then that her business would take-off in the way it has. In an interview with the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Acharya speaks about her venture, its challenges and the future of online shopping in the country. Excerpts:
Is online businesses finally picking up in Nepal?
Currently, online businesses are booming in the country. When we started Urban Girl (UG) in 2012, there weren’t many e-businesses operating—we were one of the very few outlets back then. But now, after having worked in the sector for the past three and a half years, I have seen accelerated growth in the market. Also, the market has become very competitive—it is an added advantage in a way that we established our brand early on.
What challenges did you face while establishing an online shopping portal? Have any of those problems persisted?
I come from a management background and my partner is from the IT sector. So, we both knew what we were getting into. Honestly speaking, while launching UG, many vendors refused to help us. It was difficult for us to win their confidence but now after three years, vendors come to us to sell their products; it is quite an accomplishment.
But due to the current political scenario and the regular strikes, not only us but most of the businesses are going through small/big hurdles every day. Also, the constant load shedding has always been a major issue. During strikes, we have had to deliver items on foot as well. Efficiency in the face of adversity is crucial to run a smooth business but we don’t want our people to suffer either.
How challenging was it to start a women-oriented shopping portal?
Our website is exclusively for women—more so, urban women—and we sell products accordingly. After the success of the online portal and the increasing popularity of our cakes, we launched our own bakery—UG Cakes. It’s wonderful to see our growth and all the credit goes to the entire team’s effort.
Making our business exclusively for women was definitely risky but things have turned out for the better. Currently, UG has about 16 women employees. There are many male applicants too but I have always preferred women, be it in technical field or others. Women are capable of excelling in anything.
How do you anticipate the online market to evolve in the coming years?
Online shopping has become a necessity, in a way, for the modern, suave and urban denizens. It is an easy, convenient way to get your shopping done and have it delivered right to your door step. Hopefully, the online market will see double the growth in coming years. Healthy competition is always fun and I am looking forward to it.