KATHMANDU, July 23: It was in September, during Dashain last year, when there were several inspections carried out at various meat outlets around Kathmandu. To everyone’s shock, most of these shops were found to be selling meat that was unhygienic and not meeting national standards.
Three friends, all media people, namely, Jeevan Pandey, Kanchan Adhikary, and Rajesh Luitel sat down for a talk about the issue.
“It was disturbing to learn that meat, which we Nepali people consume on special occasions, was responsible for deteriorating health,” expressed Jeevan.
After the inspection incident, chief of public health division of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), Dr Babu Ram Gautam was quoted saying that about 30 per cent of diseases in Kathmandu is associated with meat and meat products. It was then that these young journalists decided to venture into the meat business and provide quality product to consumers.
Rajesh Luitel and Jeevan Pandey
Although having no practical or theoretical experience in the business, these three friends decided they would start something new. After months of homework and tremendous amount of research, they finally opened their store, Achano Meatland, in February this year.
Now this meat store is not only unique because of the home delivery facilities, Achano also boasts being the first online meat store in Nepal.
At present, Achano Meatland Pvt. Ltd is currently located at Kapan serving mutton, chicken, rabbit and ostrich meat, including ostrich eggs. These young entrepreneurs shared with Republica their initial days, the response they have received, future plans and so forth.
How did the idea of an online meat store occur?
Achano Team: There are two things here. First, everybody’s busy in today’s world, and secondly, access to Internet is getting easier by the day. It may seem like a little early to invest in an online business and that too for meat, but we knew that people would like the idea. As more business houses are going online for their consumers’ convenience, we too thought about it. An online meat store where people can order meat and get it delivered to their homes within an hour is definitely a good idea.
The name is an interesting one.
Achano Team: There’s a story behind the name. It so happened that while we were in our initial phase, we would regularly hold meetings to decide on various things, including a proper name for the store. We were, however, not being able to come up with any interesting names and therefore gave ourselves a two-day deadline after which we were supposed to come up with ten names each. Achano came up from that meeting. It’s a Nepali term for a butcher’s chopping block.
Entrepreneurship must be tough?
Achano Team: It most certainly is, but then again, what comes easy in life? During our initial days, we applied to many banks for loans but were rejected everywhere. We had to invest from all our personal savings. It took us more than Rs 2.5 million to build the slaughterhouse alone and then there are other little things which aren’t visible but require creative and monetary investments. Also because none of us have a business background, we had our share of tough times. We actually have been cheated while buying meat. We’ve faced delays, fraud and many other obstacles, but the good thing is we’re learning all the while. Even in these few months, we’ve learnt so much about sales to marketing and other business strategies that books alone could never teach.
How’s Achano different from other meat suppliers?
Achano Team: We can guarantee that our meat products are of the highest standards. Our chopping block itself has been imported from Malaysia. Also we use only stainless steel knifes and other tools unlike most places where knifes are rusted and the board is made of wood which is an unhealthy practice. Also, we understand the Meat Act and the rules stated out and we follow all of them.
What are your long-term plans?
Achano Team: As of now we only have a single outlet and therefore we plan to open another one before this Dashain. Apart from that, we want to turn Achano into a brand name. We aim at building our shop into an entire industry that not only offers quality meat products but also one that provides employment opportunities to the youth of the country.
To order online or learn more about them or place an order, log on to www.achano.com.