It takes someone with a genuine heart to see good in broken things and try and fix them up. As such, Nitesh Sharma, the founder of Dhaasoo Deals, collects materials that have been worn out or damaged and upcycles them into something unique and usable.
At Dhaasoo Deals Pvt. Ltd, you can find a World War II Gasoline Can with a mark of British Gorkha Nepal 1950, first-generation I-pad, a black and white TV, and so much more. Follow along to find out their full story.
1. What is the social problem that you are trying to solve? What social change do you see your product/service bring in society?
At Dhassoo, we focus on three major areas: reuse, upcycle and create. We reuse the scraps, upcycle them in a way that they can be used on a daily basis and create something useful out of waste. As Kathmandu faces massive pollution and excess waste-producing activities, we are trying to reduce this through waste recycling and management. Furthermore, we’re motivated to educate people about waste management and bring down the number of imports by prolonging the products’ life.
2. Tell me about your journey of starting this venture? When did it start?
After completing my undergrad in India, I worked in different jobs and realized that I wanted to do something unique and creative. Accordingly, I had an epiphany one night at a family dinner while discussing how lucrative waste and recycling industry is. It really struck me when I thought about the most expensive cognac bottle that costs 5.5 Lakhs and goes to waste after the liquor is consumed. “What if I could prolong the life of that bottle?”, I thought to myself and that’s when it clicked. That’s when Dhaasoo was conceived in the year 2015.
The main idea is to create something usable out of discarded products so that people can reuse them and not add to the cycle of high import. Today, we provide all ranges of products from lighting to furniture and décor to a daily utility that can be used anywhere.
3. Who are your target customers?
Our target customers include students, home-makers, restaurant-owners, corporate houses, start-ups, and basically everyone who is a conscious spender. Similarly, we target people who know about up-cycling and are looking for unique products.
4. What is the legal status of your company?
It has been registered as a Private Ltd. Company in September 2015 with my brother as a co-founder. While I look after the operations, he takes care of the back-end process of the business.
5. What challenges did you face while starting the company and what are the challenges you are facing right now?
One of the major challenges that we faced was in terms of educating people about up- Cycling as many customers mistook us for interior designers. Another challenge came in terms of how people perceived our products. They expected our products to be as good as new. Similarly, many were reluctant to accept products that had once been classified as someone’s scrap.
6. How did you overcome your challenges?
We tackled our challenges by strategically positioning our products in the market as something unique with social values. We advocated ourselves as up-cyclers over recyclers. To do so, we visited many colleges to give guest lectures, attended several exhibitions, and interacted on personal levels to educate the market about what up-cycling is. Similarly, we marketed the word ‘up-cycling’, so that our paying customers would not be hesitant about buying products initially made out of scrap.
Furthermore, we involved customers in the designing and production process by constantly interacting with them. We also made them feel like an active contributor to environmental conservation and waste management. Accordingly, our products were able to touch their sentiments.
7. What is the business model for self-sufficiency or profit-making model?
We’re working on a profit-making model. We collect discarded products from households to organized institutions such as embassies and government offices. We’ve also tied-up with scrap yards to receive the raw materials. In this way, our business model is to: Collect. Preserve. Create. Sell.
We offer three models to our customers: they can either choose to buy what we create, bring their own raw materials and collaborate with us or come up with an idea and we create it for them.
8. What is the scalability and market potential of your products?
The scalability and market potential of Dhaasoo is very high as we offer unique and customized products. We haven’t yet tapped 1% each of the three districts and we’re still surviving. So, if we’re to tap even 1% of each 75 districts, we’d be making a lot of profits. In terms of raw materials, we have that in plenty so that’s not a problem at all.
9. How much investment does it take to build a company like yours?
I would say businesses are not made on investments. You can start a business with a small investment to create products with value. Meanwhile, the revenue from sales can be injected back into the business until you can start drawing profits. I’ve been doing the same for the past three years into operations.