“I started my business 8 years ago when I was 19. I am a passionate, hardworking young entrepreneur who believes in making her dream a reality.”
– Nikita Acharya
“A testament to the youth”
“Age is just a number,” says the founder and CEO of the e-commerce platform Urban Girl, Nikita Acharya. Nikita Acharya started her business when she was 19 years old. With extreme dedication and powerful passion towards her work, she outstood from the crowd of her teen groups.
Despite her age, she has been handling the overall operation of the business. Moreover, she has successfully broken society’s concept of girls are meant to be tied up in the household work only. Nikita Acharya is the living example in the Nepalese society representing, “Girls can perform any sort of task whether it be running the family successfully or running the business.”
Nikita Acharya says, “I have two families one who supports me and one who motivates me to go beyond my potential. If I would not have the team which I have had while starting my business, the company would not have reached the peak of success that it has reached today. They are the main reason behind this successful launch, expansion and establishment of the Urban Girls.”
She believes that to become a successful entrepreneur team building is the most important characteristic one needs to learn.
That moment of a click for Nikita Acharya!
During her interviews, she said, “I remember vividly surfing through the international e-commerce website and wondering how amazing it would be if people at Nepal had the same option, same freedom for choosing the best out of the best product for themselves.
And I dreamt of opening one of my own. This dream of mine came to action during the fifth semester of my Bachelors in Business Administration (BBA) program. At that very time, the Nepalese consumer market was bereft of an online shopping portal.
The moment of realization hit me hard, thinking the prevailing market condition was a problem for customers and it was the best moment to grab this as an opportunity and do something about it. Brainstorming the ideas, making a concrete plan, setting long terms as well as short-term goals with Kiran (the other co-founder) we established a vision. We concluded by establishing an online portal for the preferred shopping center for our targeted customers.
The journey toward making the plan and starting to take the action was not easy. But, I was enjoying the process of doing it. I love learning and getting to new perspectives and am open to diversity. Since these are the ikigai for me.
Little Background on Nikita Acharya:
She was born in Biratnagar in July 1993, and she grew up in Kathmandu. She completed her high school in the science faculty. Despite her doing well in the field of science, she was always drawn to the management stream. So for her higher education, she pursued the BBA program.
She was an outgoing and mischievous child who never ever thought of joining the business fraternity. During her Bachelor’s final year she worked in an IT company which was started by her friends.
She also used to look at international e-commerce websites and always wondered if such e-commerce sites would be launched in Nepal, too. She was astonished by the way e-commerce sites were booming in the market and then she thought of starting one of the e-commerce sites in Nepal, too.
Nikita Acharya is an organized person who starts her day by going to the gym and schedules her overall day. She loves to read books in her leisure time. A humble person who loves cycling and playing badminton and when she takes a break from her work, she likes to travel.
She believes that to become a successful entrepreneur one must have a clear vision and consistency. Everyone is different from one another and has their own unique individuality and talent. One must need to learn to embrace all the flaws and be the imperfect perfect, that’s how one can make their life a worth living one.
Nikita Acharya’s Journey towards bringing changes in the society via Urban Girls
As a 19-year-old entrepreneur, she thought people were cynical about women running an online business. But, she did not let that judgmental thought of others affect her dreams. She was not taken seriously because she was thought to be too young to be the one to start the business.
Whenever she and her partner would be attending meeting calls with the vendors, they would always mistake her for being the assistant not the founder of the company.
At the very beginning of their business, people would doubt their products, they would rather go to the shops to buy instead of buying it from the online stores. But, she didn’t give up. In one of the interviews, she said, “I am glad to see the change in thinking in today’s market and I even believe that the change is due to her experience and also people have seen her work.”
She shared her thoughts regarding her e-commerce portal as “I knew girls love shopping as much as I do and since Nepal never had any specific platform devoted just for girls. We started Urban Girls.”
In December 2012, she and her partner Kiran Timsina started their venture Urban Girl by selling jewelry and accessories for women. Today, they also run Urban Cakes where they sell customized cakes and sell products of Urban Girls and Urban Cakes through their e-commerce platform, UG Bazar.
At UG, they provide a one-point stop where women can buy many essentials online. After a few years, they added a gift and cake section to our website. Then at the beginning of 2016, they even started their own factory a bakery outlet as UG cakes. In 2017, with a new venture, a service for the customized chocolates and delivery was even started as UG chocolates.
Nikita Acharya’s challenges during the phase of bringing changes via Urban Girls
The biggest challenge that she faced was her not being taken seriously thinking she is too young to run a business. After she overcomes this challenge by gaining a lot of experience and showing the world her work.
The next challenge that she confronted was gaining the trust of the customers. Since people of our country are not used in the online market and services like the people of abroad.
She says in her interview with Kathmandu post that, “We started in a small room. Now, we have our own office with around 55 employees. In addition to this, we also have our branch at Pokhara as well. Opening in two major cities and being able to create an opportunity for these 55 people is a major till now. There were a lot of risks which was taken but with small but continuous steps they have been able to reach this place with this success rate.”
Nikita Acharya’s motivation factor
Support, motivation, and encouragement from the parents, from the loved ones, can boost the confidence. On the contrary, when somebody is criticized for doing something, then the person gets defeated. She even said that “Our capability is there, but these things motivate us to work and grow better.”
Sometimes she has to be at the office till 10 pm and there are also times when she has had to ignore family functions. In such times, if her parents would not have understood and supported her, then her business would not have prospered. “So if parents give freedom to their daughters and support them, then they will be able to work more efficiently”, she adds.
A business that began out of her interest is now running successfully. Nikita feels that choosing business over doing a job has been one of her best decisions. In addition to which she also thinks that she would not have received this respect and recognition anywhere else.
The government is also positive towards empowering women, the banks are even providing loans of up to Rs. 1.5 million to women and the increasing trend in social media are also helping women to enjoy the platform, getting their stories covered and sharing it to the globe, and encouraging women.
The world which was 10 years ago was not the same world which is today. For all the young entrepreneurs out there, don’t be scared to be the oddball in your group because that’s the fact that makes you unique. Don’t let the judgment of others affect your dreams which could be your reality in the future. Our country is still lacking in the e-commerce policy since there is no facility of draft or feasible entrepreneur environment.
Work hard and try to set an example to as many as people you can. Be the change and make the best out of it.
Message to young entrepreneurs:
When I started my business, I was just 19. There were times that made me feel like, “Am I doing the right thing?” But, one has to understand that being different is the first step that one takes towards success. As an entrepreneur, one must understand that every day will not be a happy day, things can go haywire every moment. There is no such thing as called “constant factor.”
Every day is one hell of a ride, keep your focus on the end goals instead of getting distracted. In my opinion, failure is the biggest quality needed to achieve and lead.
You just get a life, it’s like a one-time chance thing, make sure to enjoy and make the best out of it.