Story of ThreadPaints.com – An online T-shirt Store in Nepal [Startup story]

Threadpaints.com is an online t-shirt brand – a venture of WhiteSpace Pvt Ltd which officially started as a company on 31st December 2012. After operating via. a Facebook Page for about 6 months, the team is officially launching their website on 15th June, 2013. Aashish Acharya – the Managing Director of Threadpaints.com shares the story about his startup and initial challenges:

Threadpaints.com
How the group was formed?
People behind threadpaints.com team are Aashish Acharya, Aayush Shrestha and Sabin Bhandari. We are computer engineering students and have been working as a team ever since we came to IoE Pulchowk Campus in 2010..

The idea
The whole idea of an online t-shirt store was not ‘at first hit’ thing. Originally we wanted to do a web comic series while we were first year students at IoE Pulchowk campus. It took us 3 whole years until the idea of designing was pitched and finally the team decided to test our designs on t-shirts. There were some cool tee designs available on the web. The designs that people of our age group thought “awesome” and that were available on the web were not available in the market. We wanted those designs on their tees but we could not get them. Like every other guy in town, we wanted to make a bit of cash and some fame. And that was the reason why we thought awesome t-shirt designs could actually sell.

The name of the brand ‘threadpaints’ itself was a result of a sessions of brainstorms. Finally we came alive through Facebook page. We operated informally for nearly six months only through the Facebook page. People loved the way we played with colors and the way we illustrated their concepts. The order has scaled up in last couple of months, they say. We now have a fan base of 2500+ people in our page and everyone is sending feedbacks/suggestions on our works. We are confident that their reach will increase exponentially 6 months down the road.

How is it different from other stores?
We are not putting up our efforts in being a different store. We come from a class of so called “young and energetic” group of people who thoughts are just a bit titled away. We materialize what people of our age groups think. When thoughts match, the attraction is just obvious.

The approach that we use to bring our product to our audience is could be a different one. With threadpaints, now people can have the “amazon-style” shopping experience. We thrive for quality in our products, people can simply make choices based on the designs.

Initial Challenges:
When we finally agreed on name of the brand and made a commitment of sticking to the plan, all that was left was to hit the market with their products. Apparently that was the only thing that mattered, apart from having a “world changing” idea. We did not know anything about the garments and the fabrics. All we knew was we had designs and we needed them to be on t-shirts. The market was ruthless. People in this sector were so engaged in the traditional shopping and no one even had time to listen to what we had to say. So we decided to make garments on our own. We collected our pocket money and with a fund of around NRs. 10000, we purchased our first lot of cloth. As was obvious, the first lot was the worst of all. The quality was an average one and after a few more bulk purchases, we knew, the suppliers of our first lot of garments had made out more than 200% profit from us. One thing that was all along with us from the very beginning was, our friends circle. The people who bought our first designs sent us words of encouragement and appreciated our designs. The made sure we stayed with the original plan of printing designed t-shirts and it is because of those people that we are what we are now. Our friends, family and our fans continue to support us. We work nights just to make our products up to them.

Threadpaints.com group

The reaction so far:
Initially the sales was less than 10 pcs per week which has scaled up to more than 300 pcs per month (ref the latest month). Orders are mainly from people of age group 17-32, from students and job holders, parents and musical groups. We have a total of more than 15 designs and more on the way.

Our expectations:
Well a bit of fame and pocket full of cash, like every other guy in town. Apart from that, we want to bring out garments with better designs on them at a reasonable price. Technically, we expect to have a crowd sourced designing and earning platform that is accessible to everyone. In course of operating informally for about 6 months one important lesson that we learnt was we could make an impact at a higher level. Our designs of “Give me my freedom back” represented the voice of people when the government imposed the need to cut hair for social security and harmony. That very design reached out to more than 48000 people in just 3 days. We got overwhelming support on our “Nepal Bandh” design. It was the satire to the unstable political situation and administrative turmoil that prevails in our country. We knew threadpaints could be a social awareness generating medium that is humblest in all possible ways and yet the most powerful of all, that can actually cause change!

What are we trying to achieve?
We are a developing nation. We are always around problems that need to be fixed and issues that need to be addressed. Usually the governments are weak or too busy to think about everything. In such a circumstance, an educated and well learned crowd can work for a change like nothing else. We aim to provide a platform to present the current and critical issues of our society through artistic designs on the garments. People can present their dissatisfaction, in the most non-violent way possible, through the designs of their tees and jumpers. We believe our designs will address the issues that are local and common in our context. This way, people will not be making noise and yet their voice will be so loud that everyone will hear to what they have got to say. Plus people will have the designs of their choice on their tees and jumpers.

Future Plans:
We believe this is an unorthodox approach to deal with the social issues. Instead of turning into violent mob, people will be consciously and genuinely thinking of making a greater impact of the small designs they do. We aim to build a complete web based system this purpose. People can get into our portal and choose the design they like on their tee or jumpers. We will make our designs available across the country, in the towns, cities and in the villages to. All in all, we want to redefine the way people interact with the ICTs in their day to day lives.

Suggestions to new startups in Nepal:
Today, the scenario is every other guy will have his idea that could change the world. The time is such that just having an idea is not enough. What truly matters is what we do next in the quest to making our idea come true. A startup company or startup is a company or temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. These companies, generally newly created, are in a phase of development and research for markets. Startups are emerging everywhere. Nepali IT market is full of startups. A bunch of people sharing same passion about a particular technology in the sector of ICT often end up being a part of their own little startup. Some of these startups work on other’s product while other develop their own. But what generally happens is people do a start-up with an idea. And 6 years down the road, all they end up with is a small room for office and the ongoing hunting of new ideas. It is not that startup always succeed in a short time. In fact 90% of startup fails in the very first year. One should have a start up with a view in mind that they need to go big soon, growth is not a choice but the ultimate fate of any startup company. If we fail to be dynamic, we fail as a startup. Every cloud has a silver lining and we bet yours too has one. All you need to do is find it. Startup is fun and aspiring, we did one and you should too. Happy startup-ing!

Startup Stories in Nepal is a regular section at Kalopati. If you have started your own Startup and are willing to share your story, you can contact us via. email, Twitter or Facebook.

  • Saurav Pradhan

    Good read and I’m very happy that Startup’s are at rise in Nepal . Guys at ThreadPaints Deserves a salute. All the best and keep up the good work .