We work with over ten suppliers based in Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu and one supplier who is in Delhi, India. Many of them have become close friends over the last four years and we look forward to spending time with them when we are in Nepal.
Pops has been a specialist suppier of Nepalese art for over 50 years. His son Binaya now manages the family business and helps us to source the Lost Wax Method statues and Tibetan thangkas and mandalas. Binaya has taken us to visit some of Nepal's leading artists in Patan, Kathmandu, who create their works of art under the most challenging conditions. Some of the statues in our collection have been selected by Binaya between our visits for us to see when we are there. Other pieces we have commissioned directly through him - specific deities in particular finishes. Spending time with Pops and Binaya is always both a real pleasure and an education about how these incredibly beautiful pieces are produced and the meanings behind each work of art.
Govan Shakya and his brother Pujan are Nepal's main producer of the resin statues that have become so popular due to the quality of the detailing and low cost compared to the metal statues. Visiting their store is, quite simply, a crazy experience - the constant stream of customers and large orders going in and out, the extensive choice of pieces for us to choose from whilst the brothers and their family take it all in their stride working at high speed behind the counter!
Sunil, a cousin of our very good friend and ace Blues guitarist Ashesh Dangol, is the silversmith who makes the 100% Silver OM Pendants for us. We have also bought pieces of genuine Tibetan turquoise from him for customers. We understand that genuine Tibetan turquoise, sacred to both Tibetans and Nepalese, was only ever mined from one place in Tibet and this is no longer in operation. As a result, old pieces are increasingly hard to find and of a high value. Tibetan turquoise is green in colour and flecked with yellow - very different.
Sunil does most of the day to day running of his father's business, Uncle Govinda to us, as one of Kathmandu's leading wholesalers. An Aladdin's Cave of wooden carved statues, plaques, display pieces, hand painted wooden chests located over four floors in the heart of Thamel... the list is endless. Next door is Sunil's Aunty and cousin who we buy our Tibetan/Nepalese bracelets and smaller pieces from. Sunil, like many young people in Kathmandu, combines working full-time with studying for his Business Degree at the local college.
We discovered Jayanti Karki's small shop as it is very close to the hotel we stayed in on our first trip to Kathmandu. In truth, her keen eye for business and natural organisation skills means she pretty much runs the terrace of shops that her own is part of. Jayanti makes our gorgeous Elephant bags, silk pouches and purses and also supplies us with the Lokta paper items.
We buy our yoga mat bags, leather dhaka weave and the cotton shoulder bags from Sunny Rajthala. Sunny took over this father's business some years ago - his sister Kristina is the designer and Sunny manages the factory where they employ around 80 people in Kathmandu.