Female entrepreneurs in Bhutan

It is truly magical to get lost in Bhutan and its natural beauty and reconnect with nature to purify your soul.

The Land of Thunder Dragon is brimming with ancient history and enigmatic tales that will give you a taste of antiquity. It is a calm haven for anyone seeking a tranquil respite from the chaotic pace of city life. 

Bhutan is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that visitors cherish. Almost every visitor takes with them a souvenir or two to remember this tiny kingdom.

From the intricate hand-crafted designs to the fabrics and materials used, each of these souvenirs has a unique story to tell that you can share with your loved ones back home.

Women entrepreneurs of Bhutan are now competing in line with men, breaking all the stereotypes to make their name in Bhutan and worldwide.

Through entrepreneurship, women are now having a tremendous impact on society with their creativity and ideas to change people’s lives. 

So, if you truly want to experience Bhutan through our treasured woman entrepreneurs, allow us to take you on a unique journey as you shop different, shop homegrown during your luxurious stay in this tiny Himalayan kingdom.

1. CDK Clothing Brand – Where Contemporary Style Meets Traditional Design

CDK, fashion designer

Chandrika Tamang is the brains and muscles behind the CDK clothing brand in Bhutan. 

She had no idea that designing would become such an important part of her life or that her passion for creating eye-catching clothes would lead to a career.

CDK was one of the first fashion houses in Bhutan to support women’s empowerment and the preservation of weaving culture.

The company works to minimize waste by using ethically sourced, high-quality, biodegradable raw materials and natural dyes.

The brand exclusively uses handloom fabrics with intricate Bhutanese designs and textiles that bring to light contemporary fashion. 

Her intriguing pieces are inspired by Bhutan’s intricate weaving techniques, natural dyeing, and spiritual and cultural traditions.

2. Mudra Products – The Organic Skincare Line

Mudra products heal your skin and body organically.

After a long day in Bhutan, you want to nourish your skin with organically made beauty products, and Mudra Products is the ideal skincare line to pamper your skin with. 

Mudra beauty products only use 100% clean ingredients to help soothe your skin as you nourish your body with a relaxing and rejuvenating hot stone bath.

Mudra, which in Sanskrit means “seal” or “gesture” (hand gestures used in Buddhist rituals to alter the body’s energy flow and improve mental clarity), was founded by Sonam Pelden. 

Given the variety of therapeutic herbs that grow in Bhutan’s pure and tranquil climate, she realized that the potential for goods containing these elements is limitless.

As a result, she decided to start creating handmade products like lip balms, scrubs, and essential oils. Mudra products are made with locally sourced ingredients that are free of chemicals and preservatives.

Mudra’s extensive product line includes lip balms, all-purpose salves, scrubs, and a variety of essential oils, including natural organic ingredients like shea butter, beeswax, and essential oils.

You can find healthy skin and body care options that are packed with the goodness of natural ingredients in her brand.

Take your pick to pamper yourself with the goodness of Bhutan, from having luscious lips to baby-soft hands.

3. Rinyang Artisan – Bhutanese Aesthetics On Display

Hand-crafted light wood jewelry 

Many jewelry aesthetics have come and gone over millennia and across all cultures, but certain elements of jewelry design have withstood the test of time. Hand-crafted jewelry is not only beautiful but also one of the most worthwhile purchases you can make.

At Rin Yang, you will find exquisite earrings made by the gifted local artist Sonam Yangchen. 

She treasures hand-painting each wooden earring and embellishing them with intricate Bhutanese designs. 

Her collection includes delicate wood jewelry painted with intricate Bhutanese weaving motifs, highly regarded by locals and tourists. She reflects a piece of herself into each of her designs. She makes use of a variety of symbols, such as Sharikpa patterns and Drami designs.

The acrylic painting is assembled on a silver hook that is soft on the skin, polished for long-lasting sturdiness, and painted on the light wood earrings. These earrings will add a pop of color and class to any outfit you have on and are incredibly light and comfortable to wear.

3. Kelzang Handicraft – The Woman Behind Kishuthara

Kishuthara, patterned silk textile

Kelzang, also known as Jambay, is a weaver, designer, and business owner in Thimphu specializing in fine Bhutanese textiles and crafts.

Kelzang handicraft is well-known for its Kishuthara, a vibrant colored silk Kira. 

Brocades, currently available in retail marketplaces, are the primary raw material used in the production of Kishuthara.

Khoma village women weave a type of Kira known to Bhutanese women as Kishuthara, a silk textile with intricate patterns. 

These patterned silk textiles are worn by people of high status, including the Royal Family of Bhutan.

It is quite expensive due to the weavers’ tremendous time and energy investment. The most valuable Kishuthara’s intricate patterns and design can take almost a year to complete.

It is customary to wear Kishutharas during important events such as Tshechu and weddings because the vibrant silk designs are considered a good luck charm. 

Her work is comparable to couture fashions in the West, and she is a shining example of what women can accomplish in society and how they can support themselves if given a chance.

4. Druk Yathra – The Yathra Line

Yathra coats

Yathra is the most famous souvenir you can take home from the central region of Bhutan, Bumthang. This region is known to get extremely cold during the winters, with snow blanketing every inch of the region.

That is how the creation of Druk Yathra came about. Druk Yathra is a family-run business in Bumthang, and they specialize in Yathra fabric production and traditional dyeing.

The stunning yathras are traditionally woven from sheep’s wool and used for creating fashionable yet functional warm coats, raincoats, bedding, furniture covers, caps, purses, and bags.

Sonam is a well-known textile designer who also mentors the weavers at the Druk Yathra workshop.

Her mother was an avid weaver and dyer, who began teaching her daughter Sonam Lhamo the tricks of the trade when she was 12 years old. She has always wanted to preserve the dying and weaving traditions and loves sharing her knowledge with others in the field.

Druk Yathra uses textiles to preserve and promote Bhutanese culture and history, from plush wool carpets to handwoven wool rugs.

The all-natural wool construction of Druk Yathra’s charming mats is visible in most luxurious hotels in Bhutan to create a cozy yet timeless ambiance.

5. Tshejor’s Ayzey – Bhutan’s Favorite Condiment

Tshejor’s Ayzey

Pickles are quite popular in Bhutan’s cuisine but are still primarily imported from neighboring countries.

Mrs. Tshewang Dem conceived the idea of making fresh Bhutanese pickles with a unique combination of regional ingredients in 2010. Her “Tshejor Ayzey” (homemade pickles) quickly gained a large following, increasing production to keep up with the market’s soaring demand.

Mrs. Tshewang also manufactured pickles in a portable manner to appeal to chilly fans living abroad.

Like most creative entrepreneurs on our list, Tshewang’s goal was never to become wealthy quickly; rather, her passion is visible in her products. 

Her signature homemade pickles bring to your plate the authentic Bhutanese experience of heat in the most delectable way!

The success stories of these female entrepreneurs are a tribute to Bhutanese women’s ability to achieve fruitful results despite the obstacles faced by female entrepreneurs in Bhutan and the world over. 

Unlike other luxury travel destinations, Bhutan remains one of the world’s most exotic destinations, with hand-made products that tell a rich story. 

You too can experience the artistic vision and alluring stories behind the vibrant souvenirs as you support the ever-growing female entrepreneurs in Bhutan. 

Allow us at Karma Bhutan to help you create and experience the unexperienced in this remote, ancient, and diverse region through a seamless, luxurious, and personalized itinerary.