You'll never believe what our business manager told me! We need to pay $360 for our labels to come into Nepal. If we don't pay this import tax, the customs agent will send our package back to Thailand. Here's the shocker - that's a 42% duty!
These high brokerage fees are something we've tried to work around since day one in Nepal. The average person thinks it can't cost much to produce in Nepal. This is a very false assumption. An hourly wage is less, but everything else costs more.
Honoring our mission in Nepal is motivation to work there.
HOW WE'VE MADE IT WORK IN NEPAL
For seven years I didn't pay myself anything. My mom helped me out also by shipping orders as a volunteer. The business made it because every dollar of profit made went back into it.
It came to the point though where I needed to start paying myself. Funneling some of the profits to me instead of Nepal was discouraging because we couldn't grow as fast anymore.
THE PANDEMIC CHANGED OUR STRATEGY
In 2020, we had to pause our factory in Nepal. Personally, I was hopeless until my unemployment checks started to come. However, our seamstresses in Nepal didn't have access to that same unemployment. I felt compelled to make some moves to help our sisters out.
A factory here in New York City was our saving grace. For some designs, the total cost was half of what it would've been in Nepal. With higher profits, we helped our seamstresses in Nepal endure those lockdowns.
Now we make some designs elsewhere to balance out the higher costs in Nepal. I'm expecting it to give us room to help grow again.
THE VISION FOR ELEGANTEES FUTURE
Our mission statement remains to fight against human trafficking. Some days, it's a miracle we're still standing. The best is yet to come though!
If you're new to our mission, here's an invitation to support this endeavor to fight human trafficking through fashion.