Wednesday Aug 10, 2022
Wednesday Aug 10, 2022

Inspired by the Mountains- Bojustore

Palina Rai, founder of Bojustore recalls her journey of finding her purpose as an entrepreneur


Nepalnews
2021 Apr 21, 15:37, Kathmandu
Bojustore- an online based store, owner Palina Rai Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai

Palina Rai was always mesmerised by the beauty of the mountains. Inspired by the mountainous terrain of Taplejung, Rai was captivated by the food, culture, nature and people of eastern Nepal, which inspired her to establish Bojustore, an online based store that delivers food items from east and west Nepal which are organic and offer health benefits.


Bojustore- an online based store owner Palina during her trip
Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai
Bojustore- an online based store owner Palina during her trip Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai

Bojustore supplies products like Kinema (fermented soyabean), Yangben ( wild edible lichen), Churpi and herbal tea from the eastern regions and Jumla Marshi Chamal, Jumla Simi, and Surkhet Masaura from the far western regions of Nepal.

With the theme of ‘Healthy eating, healthy Living’ and emphasising support to farmers, Rai has been working with independent farmers from the east and west of Nepal.


Bojustore- an online based store
Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai
Bojustore- an online based store Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai
Bojustore- an online based store
Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai
Bojustore- an online based store Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai

Being an introvert, Rai always preferred being on her own and avoiding crowds. Despite her love for travelling, she wasn't able to explore much of the outside world due to family restrictions. “My first picnic out with my friends was at grade 12, which was only possible because of my father’s absence as he was abroad.’

She recalled her teenage years as being in a cocoon and it wasn’t until she started travelling solo that she discovered herself. “Travelling was the turning point in my life,” Rai said. It was travelling that helped her explore and discover a new side. She loved going in the fields, talking to the farmers and helping them as much as she could.


Bojustore- an online based store owner Palina during her trip
Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai
Bojustore- an online based store owner Palina during her trip Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai

Many people remember Palina Rai as a delivery girl who used to drop products like Kinema and Yangben at their doorsteps. Back when she started Bojustore, Rai took care of the delivery all by herself. “I used to deliver the products on my own as I wanted to approach them myself,” said Rai. Her involvement made her customers happy and they became regulars.

Rai believes that now she’s more active at farmers markets rather than social media sites. You can find her at such markets on Saturdays. Most of her customers are foreigners and people of different backgrounds. “The products that I sell represents the Kirat food culture, but my consumers are diverse and want to explore the food diversity in Nepal,'’ said Rai.


Bojustore- an online based store
Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai
Bojustore- an online based store Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai

“When I first started bojustore, I knew I wanted to bring different food cultures to Kathmandu beyond Newari and Thakali food,” said Rai. She is determined to commercialise and monetise products that support farmers and create value for them.

A survivor of domestic violence and a single mother, Palina Rai, has not had an easy road to becoming an entrepreneur. Single mothers are still frowned upon by society. “People viewed me differently when they came to know that I was a single mother. They showered me with sympathy and concern but also doubted my entrepreneurial ability,” said Rai.

‘’Time makes you stronger,’’ Rai said with confidence. She doesn't want anybody to pity her or sympathise with her. Rai has turned pain into power. Rai said “I will turn the tables, I love what I do, I found myself and I've become stronger and I am more than happy as the person I am today,” she said with satisfaction.


Bojustore- an online based store
Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai
Bojustore- an online based store Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai

Currently Bojustore is engaged with aspiring women entrepreneurs. “I am thinking of working with women prisoners who have been released want to get back to a normal regular life.

I want to create employment opportunities for them to be independent and I want to work on empowering women.”

Rai is working on her new projects bringing more variety of mountain food to the main markets. She is fascinated by the benefits of food that mountain people consume. Rai thinks the reason behind their strong immune system is hard work and the food that they eat. She passionately talked about how Yangben Jhyau (wild edible lichen) is beneficial for health.

“Bojustore is for the elderly people that I've encountered from my travels, a piece of them hovers around my consciousness motivating me to push my limits, '' said Rai.


Bojustore- an online based store
Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai
Bojustore- an online based store Photo: Bojustore/Palina Rai
Bojustore online store organic
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