When the rest of the country was shut down and immobilised due to the lockdown imposed by the Covid 19 pandemic, there were some hustling to find opportunities for new business or to restructure their venture to meet the demands of the changing world.
The pandemic put the world through lack of varying kinds which then created new models for how business is done and also new products that became part of our every day existence, one of which was disinfectants and sanitisation products.
Tashi Gyalzen Sherpa’s story is no different. He not only saw opportunity, but he also recognised the need to differentiate his business from the rest even as he decided to create new benchmarks. iCLEAN 360 is a product he formulated which disinfects the skin and surfaces, but without drying the skin. It is also non-toxic, all natural and pH balanced. An impressive and winning combination that recognised a problem before it surfaced and offered the right solution.
Covid 19 has made hand and surface sanitizers a way of life. We sanitise our hands, phones, laptops, keyboards, living space and offices and in process, expose our body to all kinds of chemicals present in the sanitizer. One major complaint that most people using the readily available sanitizers in the market is that they are not skin-friendly even leading to allergies and breaking of skin.
“On one hand, people want to be safe and healthy and therefore they use the sanitizer; on the other, they are using sanitizers laden with toxic chemicals which further harm their health,” states Sherpa who also runs Metro Mask, a company that has been manufacturing air-pollution safety masks since 2015. “That’s why my business partner, Jigme Wanchuk and I established iCLEAN because we wanted to provide better alternatives,” informs Sherpa.
After months of research and consultation with experts in the field, they zeroed on Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) as the active ingredient for the solution. iCLEAN has two products: iCLEAN360, which is the solution and equipment, containers for the solution, which includes iCLEAN Stations, Ultrasonic Atomizer, ULVs (Ultra Low Volume) Fogger, Desktop and Automobile Atomizer, Hand Sanitizing Sprayer, Nano Atomizer and accessories.
iCLEAN360 is made in Hattiban, Lalitpur while the dispensing equipment is imported from China. “Our products and equipment provide multi-purpose disinfecting and sanitizing solutions,” states Sherpa.
Industry insiders claim that an ideal disinfectant and sanitizer must be non-toxic to surface contact, non-corrosive, and effective in various forms. HOCl checks all the requirements. In fact, HOCl is considered the perfect weapon to fight germs. It is not a recent discovery though. Before HOCl suddenly became the go-to chemical during the pandemic, it was previously being used in day care centers and hospitals across the world.
“Allegedly, to some extent, the chemical is one of the reasons they were able to contain the virus in China, Japan and Korea,” states Sherpa.
HOCl was picked by iCLEAN for multiple reasons. “HOCl is a weak acid that our body produces to fight infections. iCLEAN Technology mimics what is produced inside the body. HOCl is a powerful oxidant that is effective against invading bacteria, fungi and viruses. HOCl is EPA recommended and FDA approved disinfectant against Covid 19. iCLEAN 360 HOCl is safe, non-flammable, highly effective and eco- friendly solution for disinfection and sanitisation. Being alcohol free, non-toxic, pH balanced, the disinfectant/sanitizer/deodorizer is safe for people, animals and the environment”.
He adds, “iCLEAN 360 HOCl will be completely decomposed in about an hour but this does not mean that you have to spray or fog every hour. Experts suggest 2-3 times a day. It should only take a few seconds to a minute depending on the selected equipment and the size of the area”.
The product is tested and certified, and currently available from the iCLEAN store at Le Sherpa, Maharajgunj. “Our products are available at Local Project and North Face stores as well. We are increasing our online presence and have tied up with Daraz and grocery.cheers.com.np. We will slowly increase our presence in retail platforms also,” states Sherpa who claims that the market response has been pretty good so far.
Recounting from experience, Sherpa states that it is easy as well as difficult to do business in Nepal. “If the government amends the legal processes and makes them more business-friendly, more business ideas will be realised. The main thing is that if you have the passion for it, no matter how many roadblocks ahead, you continue the journey. Motivation and passion is what kept us going since at a time when the pandemic had paralysed the country, we were fully charged to venture into a new business,” he shares.
“Our main focus right now is to target the top-tier of each segment like hotels, schools, hospitals, restaurants, airlines, embassies, call centres and day-cares. The Ministry of Health used our solution for their mobile swab van. Samyak Diagnostic Lab, Thai Embassy, Yeti Air, Altitude Air are some of the clients who use our machines and solution,” enumerates Sherpa. He also shares, “We were the Hygiene Partner during the Miss Universe Nepal 2020 which proved to be a valuable partnership for us because we got to meet and expose our company to a larger audience. Now we are working with different events”. Anshika Sharma, Miss Universe Nepal 2020, will help the company with their promotional activities for a year.
Sherpa also plans to explore other verticals like air purification and water purification.