“A true opportunity arises from a problem. I had to settle for less because the things I wanted weren’t made of good quality or according to my preferences. My intention was always to be a little different than the market, and I wanted to reach people like me who also wanted to glorify their wedding and make their wedding valuable without going through mental stress. The opportunity was always there, but I just needed to look beyond the obvious. This led me to start my own online business, “Mangalaya,” says Oscar Maan Singh Pradhan, CEO.
Since Oscar’s childhood, he always knew the future in Nepal was in business. However, his parents were both job-oriented and encouraged him to find a job. To strike a balance, Oscar maintained a job and started his online business as a side hustle. It was during his sister’s wedding that he encountered a pivotal moment that changed the course of his life. Oscar observed the lack of professionalism in the wedding industry in Nepal, which subjected his family to immense mental and physical stress. He noted how suppliers of simple wedding essentials such as clothing, accessories, and pouches frequently failed to deliver on time, causing significant inconveniences. This inspired him to step into the market and establish his own online business, “Mangalya,” in 2021.
“While weddings hold immense cultural significance in Nepali society, there is a noticeable lack of specialised stores or suppliers catering to the diverse and intricate needs of wedding ceremonies. The market was not offering what I wanted, just cheap materials from India and China. I could see how clients were ready. Addressing this market gap could not only empower local artisans and designers but also enhance the overall wedding experience, making it more culturally rich and memorable for couples and their families, and Mangalya aims to fulfil those objectives,” he says.
He says that the first few months were more focussed on investment than profits, but soon people started recognising and demanding his products. Although the team at Mangalya is small, they outsource a lot of the embroidery and tailoring components. “The skills that it takes to produce, manufacture, and assemble the product are Nepali, but unfortunately, a lot of the raw materials are from India and China,” he shares.
“When people usually start a business, their motive is to just earn money, but when I started my business, my intention was driven by the service that I wanted to provide. I wanted to make an impact on my clients’ special days so that they do not have to go through mental pressure. In return, the clients always come back to me and respond through stories on social media or just send me testimonials on how happy they are with my products. Business matters but there are always emotions attached to them,” he adds.
Oscar has diversified and expanded. Mangalya’s now has lap towels, Ghumto, Sindoor Avaran, Supari Sets, Ganesh hand-embroidered lap towels, chakatis, haldi trays, hand-embroidered baraini, hand-embroidered tray covers, groom belts, deer stags, dry fruit pouches. They also work on customised orders.
“My mom is a home science teacher, so although she was very hesitant about my business in the beginning, she now helps me. Now the tables have turned as she went from an opposing factor to becoming a guiding factor, and is leading the business,” he says with a touch of pride.
Oscar aims to have a physical store soon. Currently they only have accessories for the Bahun and Newari communities, but in the future, they will expand their product line to indicate other communities and cultures.