Today we’d like to introduce you to Reena Gauchan.
Reena, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I came to the US to study Physical Therapy from Nepal in 1989. 6 years before I came I gave a birth to a boy who had a complication during birth that resulted in his brain damage & became physically challenged (with Cerebral Palsy). In Nepal 35 years ago with no hospital, no clinic, no therapy I could not take him for any treatment, he was loved and gave as much help as we could but not with medically we could not. Not only that many Cerebral Palsy children were hidden, parents were looked down, they believed they were cursed, much social dogma was attached.
After 5 years, one day he left this earth, I was devastated and sad but I had a mission to help those who were hidden to find them and give them the support they need and educate the parents and the society, established co-founded a non-profit organization call Self-Help Group for Cerebral Palsy-Nepal. After coming to the US to study physical therapy and supposed to go back and work for the organization, I changed my carrier to business, I felt guilty and sad for not fulfilling my promise, I also did not communicate with them for few years since I felt ashamed, was in a bad place, bad relationship with no money. Now, Cerebral Palsy Nepal has helped over 2000 children, gave them education, vocational training and educated the parents and the community, it is the oldest and only large non-profit organization in Nepal.
When I started my business in 1999 virtually nothing, a good friend helped me with consignment merchandise, since I was broke & gave a birth to my present Son, It was a very hard time to have a child without resources, but I told myself to wake up and go to work, gave me reason and mission to work really hard, so I can give him the support he needs. I went to business because I knew our beautiful crafts/clothing/jewelry will gap the bridge between East and West. It’s like a cultural exchange to me since we see the creation and beauty that brings so much joy and happiness to us. I always loved art, fashion, colors and crafts and when I came to the US, I did not find them easily or inexpensively. So, I decided to bring beautiful crafts and keep as low as I could, my idea or mission is to make people happy, have fun and joyful while shopping, I also wanted to cater to all ages, sizes. I feel so satisfied and happy when my customer is happy and leaves with a smile, it’s been 18 years since I had my business and it is all because of my loyal customers, word of mouth and support from the community.
I worked every week without a break literally for 7 years started in 1999, my focused to make this business possible to bring my culture, tradition and beauty of the crafts from Nepal and India to the west, the first year was hard wasn’t making much but I did not give up and had a feeling that if I put my hearts and soul, it is going to make it. In the business for few years, I was able to contact the Cerebral Palsy center and donate money that I raised by renting a space or from the community gathering that I hosted with home-cooked vegan food, live music donated by local artists at the store to bring the community together to learn, share, love, create and build a beautiful conscious environment to live harmoniously. I strive for peaceful, mindful and conscious leaving, I recycle and reuse almost everything to leave as little carbon footprint as possible.
I have had my store for past 12 1/2 years, it has become a place for many spiritual people to come and find their needs to do their practices, also many non spiritual people who come to the store and learn something new and span their knowledge of other culture and practices, I host zero waste community gathering with Nepalese ethnic food, music, henna, tarot and massage creating a small festival atmosphere to give back to the community who enjoys and appreciates what I created especially on Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica which was not a desirable street 12 years ago. I love life and these beautiful planets and the people in it. For me, having my store has been the most fruitful, rewarding because I have many customers who have become my friends and who tells me that my store brings them peacefulness and makes them happy. I pick every item myself and love every one of them, I heard from the customer saying that they can feel my energy in my product which they liked. I am here to share, enjoy and be happy and transmit that to others is my goal. Now, I know when you put your heart and soul into the work you love nothing is impossible.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Coming from a small village in Nepal, I did not have a proper English, so I had to learn them, I was in a toxic relationship and had a small child and we were broke, there was no support financially and emotionally from my boyfriend at that time. After three years of my son’s life, I decided to leave him and ask for help from my friend which is what I did and worked 7 years non stop to build our lives. I am super proud of myself for putting 7 years of day and night towards work to make it where I am today, so everything is possible if you really want it.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Kathmandu Boutique – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I have had my store for past 12 1/2 years, it has become a place for many spiritual people to come and find their needs to do their practices, also many non spiritual people who come to the store and learn something new and span their knowledge of other culture and practices, I host zero waste community gathering with Nepalese ethnic food, music, henna, tarot and massage creating a small festival atmosphere to give back to the community who enjoys and appreciates what I created especially on Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica which was not a desirable street 12 1/2 years ago.
Me being at this location it has changed the vibes brought more positive lights in the area. I also raised with the help of my generous customers $50,000.00 dollars during the massive earthquake in Nepal in 2015, Many of my generous customers & friends were willingly helped to co-create many events during a crises which I was able to send all that money to a different villages for medical supplies, material for temporary shelter, tents, water filtration system, mosquito nets, food and school supplies. My idea is by sharing and caring for each other we could create more harmonious and peaceful society, my store is just a medium for me to reach to the mass so that way I can at least give an experience that they never experienced before, make aware and expand the mind about other cultures and traditions.
I have known for having my (it was quarterly changed into biannual community open house gathering) where we have brought so many people together, connected amazing musicians who are collaborating and making beautiful music, many amazing conscious, like-minded people who are best friends, found their soulmates thru my store. Also known for having a best spiritual store for fraction of the price they would pay in other stores, Namaste
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My mom used to say, food is medicine, and it will bring happiness to the one who is creating, good food is so necessary and it is another way to bring people together, there is so much better we can share, laugh and enjoy around food. I love and enjoy so much cooking and I meditate while I am cooking. Every time I cook something yummy, I think about people and I wished they are eating too. So, my passion to cook and dream to have a place is getting stronger and I wished to have a small or big eatery by the end of this year, finger crossed.
- My prices are from $1.99 to maximum $199.00 (very few in $199 range) for clothing
- from $8 ~ $700 in Statues, paintings, decorations etc
- from $1.99 ~ $199 for very unique jewelry’s
- Address: 1844 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90404
- Website: http://www.kathmanduboutique.com
- Phone: 310-396-4036 store – 310-502-6963 cell
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathmandu_boutique/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathmanduboutique/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/kathmandu2005
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/kathmandu-boutique-santa-monica
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/pinkathmandu/