Nitesh Sharma and the word genuineness are the one and the same. He is the founder/creator/designer; all of the above and more in one. What you see as scrap, Nitesh Sharma sees a blank canvas and starts to art in it. Having worked from the age of 16 and changing jobs made him think, “What really is his purpose here?” He has his answer now and his answer has got a name of its own which is “Dhaasoo” through which he wants to bring about a change that is very much needed for all of us to move forward. A person who believes in “Make it simple but significant”, Nitesh Sharma has been changing ways, things are done and seen around here in the scrap industry. Below are few questions and its answers that came up during our meet.
What made you realize that 9 to 5 was not for you?
We will have to go a little back in time for this. In 2007, I had just completed my A-levels and my family was telling me to join the British Army. One, I did not wanted to and two, I couldn’t because of some reasons. After that I went to India to continue my studies but I did not had my parent’s approval which is why I only had Rs. 5000 and my dad said I wouldn’t give you any money and even if you do not want to come back, you will have to have come back. I wanted to see the outer world and I was hell bent on staying there. I managed the money for admission with the help from my grandfather. While everyone was looking for friends and hanging out I wanted to make money; I wanted to experience for myself how hard will it be. My teacher then introduced me to a person who was big-shot and I asked him if he could help get a job at call-center. Now, since my college hours were 9 to 3 he asked,
“At which time will you work?”
I replied immediately: “I will work night shifts at call centers”. To which he again asked,
“And at what time will you sleep?”
I replied: “I have not figured that out yet.” And that is where I got my first job. My college was about to finish and I wanted to come back and continue my father’s business and take it to the next level. But, when I came back I found out that my dad had already planned to shut the business down and the plan was already in motion. So, I went back and got myself a job as Management Trainee even though I did not wanted to; I was working at front office for a hotel but 9 months after that I realized I am not made for this. During that time, people at my workplace started saying that I was much more of a salesperson than a front-desk person; it triggered me somewhere; I acknowledged it and thought that I would get a better job at other hotels where there is positions available for sales. But, when I applied for sales jobs I was rejected as I had lack of qualifications. Then, I entered into event management but the people over there were not even paying me one-third of my last salary and things were getting difficult. I left that as well. I started making a sales profile from the scratch. I finally landed a job but the sales and support that was to be provided was ONLINE. I had got into sales because of my love towards actual human interaction. Anyways, I worked there as the pay was good and I very much needed it. There I learned the art of selling. Back here in Nepal, things weren’t going well so I had to come back. I started looking for jobs AGAIN. I finally got a call saying if I wanted to work for a liquor company. I accepted the offer but I was to handle HR, Business Development, PR, and Marketing; which I did but for exactly 9 months AGAIN. A French guy approached while I was working at liquor to ask if we would put up our liquor collection in Kaymu and also said if there was anyone interested to work in sales, to refer to them. After leaving the liquor company, I called and asked if the position was available. They called in for a talk and we talked for a while and I was working at Kaymu after that. After working for Kaymu for some time I left it as well. Now, looking back I think I should have realized this way way back as I was not being able to fully utilize what I have got within me. I worked in so many places but none of them were mine to be called. I wanted something of my own which was significant enough and one thing after all of this was clear that 9 to 5 was not for me.
How did the idea emerge?
It was in April of 2015 when my family had a small get-together. We were drinking beer and talking about politics and many other stuff; suddenly I do not know from where the scrap yard/ kabadiwala thing came up. And while all of us thought that these people who collect scrap are poor and live in slums; one of my uncle shocked me with reality. That triggered my mind that when a bottle is designed it goes through a lot of process; the stickers, the labeling, the prototypes and I said in a smaller voice, “TRUE”; this is only a glass but it is worth more than what we sell it for. The triggered mind of mine was now thinking only one thing, “When people are selling shoes and clothes; why can’t this be one of them?” I then made up by mind and spoke to self saying, “I am going to recycle and turn it into something beautiful.”
What have been the challenges that you had faced and are still facing in this venture of yours?
The biggest challenge was that of capital. Even though I had worked for so many years I had ZERO amount saved up. So, I prolonged my stay at Kaymu; I wanted to quit but I needed some source to fund my venture. So, I started calculating and I managed the capital needed for the venture. Another challenge appeared when my friend’s card through which I used to do Facebook ads was blocked. Now, the challenge was, “how do I reach out to people to let them know about my products and at the same time generate awareness?” The other challenge is when only you are the one who can see the whole plan work out; it has come to a point when people have asked what is it that I am trying to accomplish. It is a challenge to make another person understand in words what it is that you see. Every time I was asked this I tackled by saying “Have a bit of patience; I will let you know through my actions.” Another is that of the creation of my art here; you know what and how you want it but you cannot tell in words and it really is hard to explain. The designs that I do, sometimes get into shape only after a few days. This is a challenge but this challenge is the most that I enjoy as it puts me in position to think something new and something different. Those near to me knew about the capital challenge and said that if I needed money they are happy to lend me but I wanted to make it all on my own which I did, eventually and even though it took me a while to be where I am today; I am really glad that I took this road.
Can you share with us a moment in your entrepreneurial journey?
Sure. It was just another day and I was working on my projects and then I get a call from a guy saying that he has heard that I recycle and make tables and lamps out of it. He continued to say he also happened to knew about a prototype that I was trying to work on where I was trying to use the engine lock for the base of a table; though it is still in my bucket list. But when that call came I said I had done a few and have sold it too. Now, I did not know who this guy was. We set up a meet. When I reached there I found out that the person was Aakash Golcha and I know I have got myself into trouble. I showed him pictures from Google that this can be done and that can be done. See, I have this attitude where even if I do not “how”; I take it and then learn the “how” and complete the task with the best of my ability. I believe in grabbing the opportunity when you see it. So, after the second meeting a table was to be made but a working desk not a coffee table; now I had ONLY thought of making a coffee table but now I have to make a working desk. My mind was processing as to how can I make all of this possible? A few designs were sent and we had another meeting where one of his employees showed a car table; an actual car made into a working desk. Now, Mr. Golcha wanted that. After that, everyday for 7 months I went to Swayambhu to gas wielders and was giving them instructions little by little. I worked with a carpenter for the desk part but see, telling a design that is in your mind is a very difficult task; anyways we set up our workshop at Sanepa go-kart and started working and it was only a few days later that I could actually see the whole desk’s picture coming alive. So, after one year the project was finally completed.
It does not have the engine and in the bonnet you can store files and other stuff you want. My plan was to fit a projector behind the place where there is the ford logo, so you can sit at your desk and just click and enjoy that one of a kind experience but then he was like I want a superman shelf in front of me, everything else is fine. Again, took a while to figure that out; the design and the process of making it but finally got that made as well. Both of these projects are literally one of their kinds as there are none made like these after that.
What has been the best advice that has been given to you and what advice would want to give to those of us who have just started this journey?
Best advice that has been given to me was by one of my uncle (not the one of the beer story) and it was 1.5 months back. That was when I had started resuming the promotions for my page. Now, see there are times when you believe in yourself but then it back fires you. How? See, your head is all over the place and you cannot think and know what exactly the customers/users want. So, he told me to back trace my steps as to see if I have ever done any kind of check on what people want? ; Which product are the hotcakes here? Have you focused only on “one” product? I took the advice and started focusing only on one product that was lamps and I picked handmade custom shades for the lamps but it was not selling as I expected and thus it backfired on me. On the positive side though I learned to focus but not only one product and be dependent on it but create a new art every single day and FOCUS on creating every single day. The keyword in that advice was “FOCUS”. I needed to focus on creating and as well stocking so that at the last moment I would not have to worry about where I will get the right materials as I do not want to lose any customer of mine.
My advice would be the same, that is to “FOCUS” on what you are doing and building your own way of work. Creating a demand for anything is hard but if you have succeeded in doing so you cannot come short on the part of supply. You never should disappoint the people who are appreciating your work and stop looking at what “X” “Y” “Z” are doing; you do you and FOCUS on what you are doing. Do not be bothered by what others are doing. Focus on your thing; believe in that vision of yours and nothing else.
What is the purpose of you opening a venture like this?
See, in other countries people fix everything themselves as a plumber’s job and a carpenter’s job is a high-skilled labor but here in Nepal it is something that is frowned upon. I want people here to respect the work that these guys do. I see a lot of hatred that is given to this so-called “low-life jobs”. The problem that I have is, “Why can’t be a plumber, a carpenter, a scrap yard worker be treated with the same respect as that of a banker or doctor or salesperson?” After all, we all are human and we all are doing our work. In my opinion, a job is job; no job is a superior job. Because I have been bullied in school I know how it feels when someone does that to you and not giving respect and calling names and branding these folks with the “low-life” tag is exactly what you are doing. I am too a kabadiwala; an educated kabadiwala but just because I wear clean clothes and have a store of my mine why is that you treat differently. Shouldn’t you treat him the same as you are treating me because you see, we both are kabadiwalas. All I have wanted is for people to see, recognize this profession and give them the respect that they actually deserve because come tomorrow if they leave what they are doing then all of those who are sitting on their high horses has to come down to clean their own mess. A job is a job regardless of what someone does. Every job and every profession matters. I want to bridge the people together and bring about the change in the state of people’s mind which is very much needed; my aim is to bring equality among people. You start giving respect to every person and their profession and you will see this country growing like never before.
Any opportunity to work with you in your present or future projects?
Yes, sure BUT I am look for those who are passionate in whatever they do and if we can collaborate in anyway then why not but if you are working for money and looking for quantity over quality I am sorry I cannot work with you as I believe in the opposite. If your case is not the latter then hit me up on my Social Medias:
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Written By Sagar