KATHMANDU: In Kathmandu, riding a two-wheeler in the rainy season is practically a nightmare. Although a biker’s torso is more or less protected by raincoats, it is extremely difficult to keep shoes clean and dry due to splashes from potholes and
passing vehicles. Having experienced this challenging situation, Abeeral Thapa devised a product aptly called a Shoesaver.
Thapa, the owner of Bubbles Industry Pvt Ltd, says, “Shoesaver is my brainchild and especially created for cyclists and bikers. It is made of waterproof clothing, which users can simply wear over their shoes and pants to protect them from dust, dirt and grime, particularly during the monsoons.” Sharing that he got the idea by watching bikers wrapping plastic around their feet, he says, “I wanted to develop something handy that would be easy to wear and carry, and which would keep the attire as well as shoes water-proof. I discussed this idea with my friends, and things fell into place.”
Although he had intended to launch the product during the monsoon of 2011, he says he could not due to technical glitches and lack of manpower. While some people even ridiculed his product, Thapa says several customers praised it as useful riding gear, which boosted his con-fidence. He adds, “I was unaware of similar Chinese products until I began marketing my own Shoesavers.” Thapa explains that compared to Nepali Shoesavers, similar Chinese products cost almost 50 per cent more. Nepali Shoesavers are priced at Rs 150, while China made ones cost Rs 300.
The proud owner of Shoesaver states that the product’s name is adequate to describe its advant-ages. He says, “It is easy to wear, quite handy and portable unlike Chinese products, which are heavy and cumbersome.” The product is especially targeted at office goers, journalists, salespeople and those needing to travel frequently on two-wheelers.
Explaining that the product is still in its preliminary launch phase, Thapa says, “My intention is to test the market to determine whether or not customers like the product. Currently, I am promoting it through Facebook and other social networks, and
it is being marketed through friends. Depending on the response, we may expand manufacturing.” According to him, although they have only sold 20,000 pairs against a target of 100,000, he is satisfied with the sales garnered for a brand new product.
Shoesavers are available in large, medium and small sizes for convenience and is easily available at RB Complex as well as other retailers that stock raincoats. Aiming to sell 200,000 pairs of Shoesavers next season, Thapa says, “I’m planning to promote the products more
aggressively through the media and other channels next year.” Thapa is also the managing director of Nepal Sanjiwani Herbal Industry and director of Polygon College.