Determined to make his dreams come true, Mr Jeewan Bhattarai forged ahead and set up his own t-shirt line: Urban Yeti. With his own space, he is then able to explore, experiment and design his own graphics – which is his ultimatum.
Against conventional career routes, the 31 year-old’s passion for graphics resulted in the birth of his year-old t-shirt company. Combining graphics that are Nepal-themed and using quality fabric, Urban Yeti is relatively new on the block in the fiercely competitive t-shirt business.
Despite a slew of t-shirt companies present in Pokhara, Mr Jeewan Bhattarai believes that his t-shirts are very much different from the regular t-shirt company along the “tourist village”, Lakeside.
With most of Mr Bhattarai’s cousins working in the restaurant industry, naturally he set up his own restaurant three years ago. Also located in Lakeside, Salt & Pepper Restolounge served as his playground for him experiment with graphics for publicity purposes.
“I kept on playing with Photoshop while I was in my restaurant designing flyers, posters and the menu – but my love for graphics wasn’t satisfied,” said Mr Bhattarai. However, despite designing numerous advertisements and publicity materials it just did not quench his thirst for creativity.
As an advertising major, he initially wanted to begin an advertising agency that will allow him to explore more creative options. After much assessment of the market, he concluded that it was not ready, thus resulting in turning to a t-shirt company.
“I have always been in love with graphics and always wanted to create a Nepali t-shirt brand that was extraordinary in designs coupled with high quality fabric,” explained Mr Bhattarai.
Even though other t-shirt companies are also Nepal themed, Mr Bhattarai explains that he focuses on what people want to wear instead of just simply having t-shirts with iconic Nepal symbols on it.
Living by this quote by Steve Jobbs, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”, which is what Mr Bhattarai practices when designing new graphics. The first thing that is important in standing out is to consider the wearability of it. His target market includes both Nepalis and tourists. By establishing his company’s slogan as ‘TAKE NEPAL HOME’, he hopes that people will be able to bring a piece of Nepal home with them.
Being the sole designer of the brand, he is able fulfill his dream and experiment with different styles and graphics. However in the long run, he plans to hire more designers and have more art collaborations with other designers. For now, Mr Bhattarai is constantly tapping on his day-to-day life and travelling experiences for design inspiration.
Based on the different intricacies of each design, some may take longer than usual. Some are finished within a day, while some may take a week. “The longest period I worked without stopping was on a design ‘ABSOLUT NEPAL’ that took me 26 hours,” recounted Mr Bhattarai.
He added: “After the design is complete, I will get feedback from both my designer and non-designer friends – and if they give me the green light, I will send them for printing”.
In order to stay ahead of competition, Mr Bhattarai plans to continue expanding his business beyond Pokhara and also create a wider variety of products – not just t-shirts. Already carrying souvenir mugs and tote bags in the store, he plans to include more items like flip-flops, hoodies and shawls.
“I am planning to open a few more shops in Pokhara as well as beyond the valley. Also, a website and ecommerce is currently in the pipeline,” said Mr Bhattarai, confident that his year old business will continue thriving.