There was a time; most of women and girls of Kirtipur were knitting sweater and “gallaicha” as a part/full time profession, but this is the time, small cottage industry are grooming to self sustained business leading by women. Among few women of Kirtipur, Sabita Maharjan is one running her own reputed cottage industry ‘Kirtipur Hosiery Industry’, with lovely motto; “Knitwear made with well-known Nepali hand, skills and love for handicrafts”.
Education, gender equality awareness and seed money landing agencies blended together to foster a courageous visionary like Sabita had got chance to show her craftsmanship through self sustained business. The business that was started by single woman has now grown with 135 local and migrant workers, many national and multinational clients. This was possible due to Sabita’s tireless work, dedication and quality of service.
Sabita is simple, good-natured woman with friendly personality. We got chance to meet her at her own factory this Saturday. When we were about to enter the building our eyes got struck with a notice on the wall. The notice was for vacancy announcement of 40 skilled knitters. We were stunned to see such notice in this small town like Kirtipur.
Our first question to Sabita was about the notice. With a great smile on her face, she said “we have just got huge assignment from Sherpa (one of the leading international brand). We will be producing sweaters that will be exported to 50 countries all around the world. So we require additional workers”. The designs of sweaters were unique and beautiful. Another iconic thing about sweater was its tag with name and email address of knitter. According to Sabita, these tags are to give ownership to the knitter and to connect buyers and knitters directly.
Sabita has taken this assignment as one of the greatest milestones in her career. Besides sweaters, her company also produces different garments and woolen toys. Most of the products are sold through different outlets like Kalanki Knit ware, Everest fashion, Hub creation, Himal Garment etc. She had even tried her own outlet at Babarmahal-Revisited; however that venture didn’t work well and was closed last year. “Rather we take part in different festivals and fairs organized by different organizations including embassies, these events are really good to get new customers. Also we advertise and sell our products online through kirtipurknitting.com”, she responded when we asked her about marketing strategy.
Unlikely a satellite partner with Sherpa outdoors, she owned her own brand logo ‘K’. Sweaters and other products will be sold with brand logo ‘K’, where K stands for Kirtipur. We are happy to find out the way to tribute her business by letting a brand acronymic of her own birthplace. With her brand smile, she boosted her confidence to run factory with no end.
Text: Yogesh Maharjan/ Shashish Maharjan
Photo: Narayan Maharjan