Today's Telegram: Banking on Creativity

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Today's Telegram: Banking on Creativity

Today's Telegram

Tucked away in a narrow bylane in Damkal, Pulchowk, is a tiny store that passersby might not notice at first glance. The store, Today's Telegram (ToTe), was set up as a leather goods outlet on April 25, 2017, the date that marked the two-year anniversary of the 2015 Earthquake. 
The idea for the store came to founder Arsalan Akhter when he was traveling in Rajasthan, where he came across dealers who exported vintage Rajasthani bags around the world. Deriving inspiration from these encounters, he founded Today's Telegram, which seeks to explore the world of Nepali leather and artisanal craftsmanship. Getting into the sector was not extremely difficult because Akhter's family was already operating a leather manufacturing and exporting business under the name United Tanneries in eastern Nepal, and his family's links proved exceedingly helpful for sourcing raw materials for his products.
"Finding a space in such a prime location in Lalitpur is difficult for anyone looking to open an outlet," says Akhter. "For us, it was more than a stroke of luck, because not only did we find a proper location, but we also happened to find a place right across a premises named Tasneem, which is also my mother's name. We regarded that fortuity as a sign of fortune and decided to open the store there right away."

ToTe's product line consists of sleek and usable accessories that complement people's lifestyles. Every item in the line--designed by the ToTe team--is made from buffalo and goat leather, all sourced from within Nepal. They have designer bags, jackets, portable laptables and even leather beanbags and punching bags. Although bags dominate ToTe's product line, the customer-favourite is definitely the ToTe Handmade Laptables. The lightweight laptable comes with a built-in cushion, which works great for students and writers who are always on the move. Each laptable can be customised to the customer's preference, but the store also sells premade laptables, all of which come with unique taglines and writings printed on them. ToTe's products offer a unique mix of efficiency and craftsmanship. That's why many public figures have taken to carrying and using ToTe products--even some US senators (ToTe products are also exported to the US). ToTe opted to export to that land of opportunity because the country has a zero percent import-duty provision for LDCs (Least Developed Countries).



ToTe is steadily growing into a global brand, but their tagline #FromtheHimalayas goes to show how they are still rooted in Nepal: They want their users to know that their products come from Nepal. ToTe has big dreams for the future: Once they fully capture the local market, they want to open outlets in major cities in Asia and Europe, with New York being the ultimate locale.

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Guest Saturday, 15 December 2018