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Ruja Aryal

After her undergraduate studies, majoring in International Business from the United States, in 2011 Ruja Aryal moved back to Nepal with her husband. After their return, the couple curated a multi-disciplinary consortium consultancy, a non-governmental organisation.

They also invested in promising hydropower projects in different parts of Nepal. “I was involved in managing the administrative and financial department of the company. With vision, hard work and dedication, most of those projects have been completed and connected to the national grid already. A few of these projects are progressing,” states Aryal.

Then, of her own accord, she chose the role of a full time mother.

Iconic Nepal was born in November 2020 amidst the lockdown. Aryal had her second child when Covid 19 was declared a pandemic. “I used to dress my first born in high street brands which were bought when we travelled prior Covid 19. I literally used to take empty luggage so that I could shop for only baby clothes as we didn’t have choices for branded clothing stores in Nepal. A few stores in Kathmandu had acceptable ones. However, the prices and quality were a sheer dupe,” she says.

When she had her second baby, Aryal was unable to travel due to the lockdown. Her siblings and sister-in-law used to send them clothes from abroad. That is when she had an epiphany. “I realised that there’s a significant need to have branded baby clothing and accessories in Nepal. I started with a few surveys within my circle of friends and family. All of them endorsed my idea,” she shares.

And that’s how Iconic Nepal came into being. It is an exclusively handpicked online store with high street baby brands available from all around the world where quality and authenticity are delivered to clients at best possible prices. The brands available and imported by Iconic Nepal are Carter’s USA, Gap UK, H&M UK, Mothercare UK, Skiphop USA, The Children’s Place USA, Ella’s food UK, Gerber foods USA to name a few.

In this edition of Business 360, Aryal talks about some of her top brands and what she has learnt from them.

A brand, individual and a campaign that you have learnt valuable business lessons from

Apple – importance of brand value
Coca-Cola – #ShareaCoke campaign that boosted their sales by a significant number.
Lady Gaga – Reinvent when you know it’s not working

Your work philosophy

Never procrastinate and always approach a challenge with an open mind.

Top 4 apps that you use the most

Instagram and Facebook for business
eSewa for online payments and transfers
Zoom app
WhatsApp and Viber to connect with family and friends

Who among the Nepali entrepreneurs would you give the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award to?

Ayushi KC of Khalisisi.com

3 destinations within Nepal you want to travel to

Tilicho lake
Rara
Kagbeni

4 women-run businesses you think deserve accolades

AAD Tayari Poshak
Nutreats
Dessert first Ktm
Sweetfix

5 entrepreneurs who inspire you

Mahabir Pun
Jack Ma
Kayla Itsines
Elon Musk
Blake Mycoskie

A non-profit you want to contribute to

K Foundation Global; they are feeding stray dogs and monkeys in Kathmandu. They also help with the relief packages for daily wage workers and flood victims during lockdown.

The best work advice you have received…

There is always competition. Decide how you are going to play. My husband keeps reminding me on this.

4 Nepali start-ups you think deserve the spotlight

Sahana Guitar
Zapp, the logistic company
Tootle
The Beekeeping Shop

2 Nepali companies whose PR strategies are spot-on

Hermann bakery
Kathmandu Marriott

Which influencer do you want to work with?

Dr. Sanduk Ruit
Sheryl Sandberg
Michelle Obama

3 things patrons can do to promote local businesses

Promote on social media.
Lend credibility and support.
Be positively and publicly supportive of the business.

4 things businesses can do to pull themselves up from the abysmal effects of the Covid 19 pandemic

Support and promote each other
Be social
Reward loyalty
Emphasise customer support

2 things the government can do to help the startups in the current pandemic

Government should subsidize interest loan
Government needs to identify the sectors that have been highly affected by pandemic, create relief packages, and rescue those businesses accordingly.

2 Nepali start-ups you want to collaborate with

Zapp logistic
All things pretty

One myth about e-commerce that you want to debunk

Price is the only thing online shoppers care about!

Complete the sentence: Start-ups are important for a country like Nepal because …

It will create positive impact on youth to do something sustainable in Nepal.

If you could change ONE thing about the present entrepreneurial scene in Nepal, what would that be?

Government must create investment-friendly secured ambience for private sector with flexibility so that entrepreneurship can resonate and flourish.

Five words to encapsulate Iconic Nepal

Eloquent, Flamboyant,
Ex-clusive, Genuine and Quality

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