Sisters in Business: MP Nepal’s Journey

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Sisters in Business: MP Nepal’s Journey

‘I have enough jewellery,’ said no girl ever. Jewelleries are a girl’s exclamation points. Browsing through exquisite jewelleries in social media, glancing at the expensive price, then your purse, and breathing a sigh of sadness is common among us girls. It was the same with Mahima and Prathana Uday S. Shrestha when they decided to fill this market gap and avail women with good quality ethnic jewellery at reasonable prices. 

Mahima Uday S. Shrestha, 23, is a student of architecture at Nepal Engineering College, and Prathana Uday S. Shrestha, 20, is pursuing BBA (Bachelor’s in Business Administration) at Kathmandu University School of Management. This is the story of these two sisters who built MP Nepal, a popular online accessories store today. 


 Papa’s girls

Their father, Mr. Uday Sunder Shrestha was the driving force for the inception of their business. In 2014, their father was sick and stayed home most of the time. Seeing his daughters usually wasting their time on the internet, he suggested them to do something productive out of it and handed them an initial capital of Rs. 5000. 

They didn’t have to step outside. The girls often used to shop online and browse through the stores on Instagram. This is when they decided to use their father’s investment and came up with the idea of opening an online store themselves and started ‘MetaPhor Nepal’ on Instagram on 24th December 2014. “‘Metaphor’ in English means having a hidden meaning,” says Mahima, “and in our case, it signified the initials of our names Mahima and Prathana.”


MetaPhor Nepal

MetaPhor Nepal began with selling clothes. As a huge fan of accessories themselves, they then shifted to selling accessories online. "We used to receive a lot of accessories as gifts from our aunt abroad.”, says Mahima, “When we studied the market and compared the price of those products with the current market price in Nepal, we found out that the profit margins were up to seven times higher than the cost price.” Discovering this, the sisters started selling their products at relatively lower prices compared to the market, and this game-plan promoted their business so much so that the products were sold out within few days.

“When we studied the market and compared the price of those products with the current market price in Nepal, we found out that the profit margins were up to seven times higher than the cost price.”

In December 2015, MetaPhor Nepal was renamed to MP (Mahima X Prathana) Nepal, in response to their customers’ confusion with another online store having a similar name that had opened its physical store in Thamel. “We did not know that there was this confusion until our customers went to their opening thinking that it was our store. Then we decided to change our name.” says Mahima.


The business

MP Nepal imports its products directly from India that are brought here through FedEx, and sells them online through various collections on Instagram. The deliveries are made to their customers by the sisters themselves. On an average, each collection earns them Rs. 30,000 -40,000, a portion of which is contributed to Voice of creative disabled, Chabahil, Kathmandu. 

Thematic display and reasonable pricing of its quality products comprise of MP Nepal’s unique selling point. “I used to take her (Prathana’s) photos wearing the jewellery initially. The simple photographs weren’t working so we started using thematic displays in our collections. This way, our products appealed to the audience more than in the simple photographs, and our sales volume increased.” expresses Mahima.


Hardships along the way

MP Nepal is where it is now because of the bond between the two sisters. At the initial phase of their business, Mahima and Prathana were informed that their father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In spite of several attempts from doctors in Delhi, their father lost the battle to cancer. This incident made them realize the difference in bond even among the family members related by blood. The behaviour of their immediate cousins and the neglect from family members after the death of their father motivated them to constantly work to build their own empire. This strengthened the bond and drove them to work for the dream they were trying to achieve together.

“As females, we had to face a lot of hassles from government officials at the company registration office. We realized they just stalled you if you are a girl.”

Being women entrepreneurs without a male figure in the family was not easy either. "As females, we had to face a lot of hassles from government officials at the company registration office. We realized they just stalled you if you are a girl," shares Prathana. They also had troubles in the customs department at the airport. The lack of uniform policies at the department makes it tough for them to receive their packages in time.

Online stores have been springing up a lot in Nepali market lately, it has increased their competition. Mahima says, "Some leading stores are launching collections at 8pm like we do, which is the peak time for people to check their social media profiles. The idea of using dividers on Instagram has also become popular."

Despite the hurdles, the sisters have constantly been working with pure passion to build their empire for the greater good. 


Building their empire

While most siblings can’t stay without fighting with each other, the bond between Mahima and Prathana has made them the perfect team. It is the combination of Mahima’s creativity and Prathana’s management expertise that got MP Nepal over 9000 customers within a year of its operation. Responding to the want for ethnic accessories in international market, they have also been able to sell products at reasonable rates in the US with the help of an aunt there. The sisters’ passion and honest product offering have contributed MP Nepal to reach heights.

"You only need to connect to one person in the business and the network builds.”

MP Nepal launched ‘Face of MP’ contest in October, 2015 looking for a model for their Bollywood collection. Through this contest, they were able to engage their customers in the business and also expand their network in the market. “You only need to connect to one person in the business and the network builds,” states Mahima.

After the success of the contest, they launched MP brides, a section of MP Nepal where the sisters, along with their team style brides. Mahima invests her time to shop for the brides according to their interests. The packages ranging from Rs. 80000 to Rs. 120000 include bridal styling, hair and makeup along with the option of photoshoot. 

Most recently they have launched MP talks, which is a platform where the experts, media and general members of the society from various fields such as art, philosophy, environment, architecture, finance come together to bring light upon the current events and commonly overlooked issues.


Team MP

The MP Sisters are the founders and executors of MP Nepal. With the launch of MP bride, they have expanded their team to work together on building their MP Empire. The members of the team include Prajwan Shrestha, photographer, White Light Studio; Mereena Dalee, makeup artist, Dalee makeup; and Anjan Shakya, media head. The business has also recently partnered with Jama Nepal to sell their products directly to their customers.


Future aims

Within a year of its operation, MP Nepal has been able to establish itself as a popular online store in Nepal. The sisters envision establishing an empire of business houses working in various fields to help people better their quality of lives. They plan on opening a physical store ‘MP Studio’ at Kupondole along with the plan for more ‘MP talks’ sessions. 

The zeal to achieve is evident in Mahima and Prathana. Their vision for the venture, their passion motivating them and the constant hard work they put in despite being full time students is what positions them as the women entrepreneurs to watch. 



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Guest Monday, 19 March 2018