From Hardship to Hope - Man Bahadur Rai’s Journey

From Hardship to Hope – Man Bahadur Rai’s Journey

Man Bahadur Rai, a resilient 42 years old from Samtse, the proprietor of Asha Bakery in Olakha stands proudly amidst fierce competition from other bakery in the capital while behind its towering presence lies a tale of perseverance and dedication that has endeared his loyal customers.

According to Man Bahadur Rai, being an uneducated person didn’t bother him for the decision to establish the bakery shop since he believes in hard work and hardships.

At a tender age of 8, he started to work in different fields including mining, construction, and orchard fields, amongst others and worked in the bakery where his interest grew then.

However, reflecting on his journey, Man Bahadur as a content person shared that in the early 2000s, he diligently studied a dictionary from the local bookstore, where he possesses the ability to write and perform other basic essential tasks independently today.

Without a thought with much hardship, just with Nu 12,000, Man Bahadur decided to open his bakery shop in Olakha in 2013. Since with limited budget, he hired all the machines and equipment for his bakery shop as he didn’t avail any financial support from any financial institutions nor was he eligible for such loans back then.

As he recalls, his first day of opening bakery shop earned only over Nu 100. The second day he earned over Nu 200. After a week he made over thousand bucks, which gave him hope and he didn’t give up though there were other bakery shops which are much larger and well set up.

The name “Asha” means hope, says Man Bahadur Rai. Till then he says that he have worked very hard with the hope and shared that currently his bakery shop is doing quite well up to the point where his monthly income comes to around Nu 0.7 million.

Man Bahadur says that the minds of the young stars are flooded with the dream to work in Australia, Canada, and other countries, however, not being aware of the opportunities in the home country itself.

“I wonder why youths want to work hard in the host countries, rather if we work hard in our home country, then one fine day, the rip of the fruit can be definitely seen,” Man Bahadur said, reminding the youths that equal and better opportunities awaits in the home country as well.

With about 17 employees, Man Bahadur himself leads the team as a head chef of Asha Bakery. He shared that with all his very own knowledge and experience on bakeries, he trains his co-workers who works in the kitchen with him while encouraging his employees to remain back in the country and rather explore all the opportunities in the country.

Retrieving on the marketing strategies, Man Bahadur said that he never competes with the similar business as him, rather he believes in his own unique marketing strategies.

With one simple example, he shared that he never gives freebies or tokens to the customer as he believes that it will make the customer and the business operator lazy which will lead the business to collapse at once.

“If customer buys 10 pizzas, then I give one pizza as compliment since giving one pizza free as and when a customer buys one pizza is like a dead road where someday the business will definitely run into loss,” said the proprietor of the Asha Bakery.

Instead, Man Bahadur emphasized the importance of sincerity with customers, stressing the need to effectively communicate and clarify whenever customers compare his bakery’s offerings to the free packages provided by other bakery shops.

Today, the proprietor of the Asha Bakery has extended his business into a two storied floor with well set up infrastructures and services for the customer satisfaction.

Amongst the three main products, namely, pizza, burger and cake, Man Bahadur said that he even have future plans in packaging brands where currently most of the customer feedbacks lie with a lack of proper packaging especially on the huge orders.

Man Bahadur’s last wisdom of words to the youth reads that never to look for the easy money, but rather to work hard and not to lose hope and importantly to be sincere to one self on whatever they are up to.

By Sherab Dorji, Thimphu