- Shraddha Gurung
When you hear the name Oodni, you think of tradition and elegance. With its bespoke designs and the flair for providing perfect tailor made designs, it’s of no surprise when you see their Facebook page flooded with positive and happy comments from young girls to brides to be!
Asian Mahila Association (AMA ~ आमा ) is proud to introduce Khusbu Dangol, Designer at Oodni Boutique, as the Feature of the Month to mark International Women’s Day. At such a young age, she has managed to not only successfully run her business in Nepal but mark its presence across the globe. Her designs have been adorned by actresses Nisha Adhikari, Jharana Bajracharya and Miss Nepal 2012, Shristi Shrestha to name a few. In this interview, Khusbu shares her journey towards success, her passion for her work and for the first time, we get a little insight into her personal life.
Being a Fashion Designer was not the most conventional profession to have several years back in Nepal. However, we cannot say the same today. Nepal’s Fashion Industry has taken a positive turn and is at a steady growth with budding designers showcasing their panache. Khusbu tells us about her life before Oodni and her decision to become a Fashion Designer.
Before Oodni, I was experimenting with my ideas and designs on papers and on my wardrobe. I think the decision to pursue a career on Fashion designing came from a child inside me with too much of back paper drawings on notebooks who somehow never died on that dream.
Success only comes to those who work hard. Whilst you were on your journey of making Oodni, what struggles did you overcome and how?
I remember having only one machine and working in a dark small room with only little light and not many fabrics to work with. I used to cut my own favourite dresses to use the patches and materials on them to make what I had drawn on papers. I did not give up on my dreams and that is how I overcame the struggles that I went through.
So when you made your decision, how did your friends react? Were they surprised at your decision?
Well, most of them were. Some were really happy that I was doing what I liked, while others were saying ‘Nepal ma fashion bhanney cheeze kaam chaina.’ There were both positive & negative reactions.
What is your inspiration behind the designs at Oodni?
My greatest inspiration has always been brides to be. When I see my designs being part of a woman’s big day, it always inspires me to work even harder.
What is your typical day like at Oodni?
It starts from looking after staffs attendance, needs and delivery schedule followed by a short meeting with my business partner, Rajiv, over a coffee. If I get a chance, I sketch some of my ideas. But the usual attending customers, checking reports and so on form a part of my typical day at Oodni.
Fashion Blogger, Sarita Chamling Rai sent in her questions for Khusbu Dangol. Fashion Beauty Bug gives the readers more than just a backstage pass into the Fashion world.
How do you benchmark your product prices with your competitors? In terms of affordability, how affordable do you consider your product is for your customer?
The price of our products usually depends upon how much hand work or embroidery you want to use and what fabrics you would like to use. The price is similar in the market as handmade work by tailors is them charged the same to every designers. Since these piece are handmade and not ready-made (machine), it cannot be compared with a ready made products. So I think in terms of handmade designs, I think it is affordable.
What has been the proudest moment for you so far?
More than achievements, my proudest moments are always those small moments when I hear my customers saying ‘I love my dress’ while trying on the piece I make for the first time.
There are so many girls who aspire to be where you are right now. Do you see being a Fashion Designer as a feasible career prospect? What do you think is absolutely essential when running a business?
Yes, I do. Patience, hard work, positivity; no matter how hard your job gets and learn from your mistakes.
Where do you see yourself and Nepal’s Fashion Industry in 10 years time?
I still see myself as where I was yesterday as per Nepal’s Fashion Industry, I strongly believe that it’s going to flourish to international levels and great heights.
Men often have hard time approaching confident and independent women. With the height of your success, do men get intimidated to approach you?
(Laughs in agreement) Yes. But in the end having a good heart is more important than having anything else.
According to you, what makes a perfect date?
Candle light dinner with some soft-smooth live music.
If you could only live with one item, would it be handbags or shoes?
If we take a peek into your wardrobe today, what will we find?
Narnia? (Laughs) I seriously don’t know what I have in there.