Looks And Feels Like Granite Stone

This week we are bringing to you the story of Ascension Business Concern . In order to bring this story to our readers, we scheduled an interview all the way at Kaushaltar, Bhaktapur where Ascension Paint is located. Despite the early hours, the store was already bustling with clients. And finally, the business owner started sharing with us the story of his journey operating Ascension Paint. “It has only been a year since I started this business. Just a couple of months in and the COVID-19 took over”, said the owner.

Ascension Business Concern presents a first of its kind product, an innovative painting technology that gives the finished look of granite stone. Aside from the looks, the texture of the paint also feels like stone too. The paint is available in various colors and ranges and the application is carried out by a professional technician with a machine spray gun. It is applicable to both interiors as well as exterior walls.

Talking about his initial vision of this business, the owner tells us, “I first saw this product in Butwal, and its look instantly attracted me. I felt like this product was right for me and once I was convinced, I chased after it and it brought me here to Kathmandu. Having my family support me in this has definitely been a plus point. My father and my brother both help me in this business. I have mostly worked with a lot of my family and relatives in this business.”

Taking a relatively new and unknown product or concept to the market is very risky. Considering Ascension Paint’s success despite being a newer and different product unfamiliar to the Nepalese market, we asked him some suggestions he would like to give to any aspiring individuals who want to create or sell something different. “The first impression is the last. How you represent the product to your target markets matters very much, it weighs heavily on the path that your business is going to take. All of us conduct market research before we start a business, but the difference is only made based on when and how we blend the research findings with our business strategies.”. He adds, “In my case, the product I sell is something that is considered ‘extra’ or even a ‘luxury’ option hence a lot of people did not show any interest. They would not even bother to know the details or benefits because they have a misconception that anything that is even just slightly new or different is going to cost more. So, the hesitation from customers was a really major hindrance to our business.”

“The first few months of the business were the toughest. I moved to Kathmandu from Dolakha and set up a store here. I put a lot of investment into this with long-term planning in mind. I was thinking big and large-scale but for a few months, not a single customer stepped foot into my shop. It was a situation where all the optimism was almost drained out of me, but I didn’t let myself falter and stayed put with the confidence I had in my decision to start this business.”

On how he managed to sustain his business in the competitive and huge market in Kathmandu, the owner said, “When I first started, my only hope was architects. I would connect and chase them in hopes that they would use my product for their projects. I was working another job and using all the income from that to support this business. So networking is the major factor that helped me. Even now, almost all of my projects come from recommendations from my previous clients or my circle of friends who work in this same field.”

‘Patience’ is what has been holding me well amongst all this chaos.

When asked if the covid-19 lockdown took a toll on him, the owner said, “Financially, I have been managing just enough to feed my family and to pay my staff. I am a very optimistic person and also a believer in destiny. And thankfully, our business is in a field where once operations begin again, it isn’t that different, and we can catch up. Whereas for other businesses, it is very hard to get back on track after a long gap. Especially with Dashain just around the corner, there is this glimmer of hope to recover the loss caused by the lockdown. We are already covering quite a lot of projects and have been busy since the lockdown was lifted. The main thing I did was to not lose hope and keep going. Throughout the lockdown, I kept in contact with old and potential clients, and through that my business was able to gain a lot of referrals and recommendations.”

Shrawana Shakya, Kathmandu, Oct 20, 2020

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