Patrons of Tibet Arts in St. Paul may want to know the store has moved a few doors down from its original 1087 Grand Avenue location to 1051 Grand Avenue in St. Paul, near the Lexington Parkway intersection.
The move offers a time of reflection for new owner, Dolma Lama, owner, who said that like most immigrants, the path in her life has been uncertain, and at times things never happened as she planned.
Her dream to help her father’s business led her to pursue a business degree in Nepal. A year after graduating from college, however, her marriage was arranged. Two days after the wedding, she was already in the United States.
She recalled reading books about Australia and London, but had never really read about America. She said she never imagined about moving to a place like Minnesota, especially since she wasn’t very fond of cold weather. Nevertheless, she ended up in here seven years ago, and said her sense of self-awareness along with family support has helped make the difference for a good life in a new place.
Dolma said that one way to get through the ups and downs during a transition to another culture was with establishing and operating the successful Tibet Arts in St. Paul. She said the new building has a more experienced owner and she looks forward to meeting new customers along with her loyal clientele that she said have been supportive to her business.
She also said the neighborhood has been very conducive to her type of cultural business. Tibet Arts offers various Tibetan art and crafts from Nepal, including traditional and modern rugs, jewelry, fashion accessories, books and music.
Living her life surrounded by Tibetan craftsmanship back in Nepal, Dolma said she was not very aware about the products and the makers. Other than knowing how the handcrafts were made, she had never learned the handcrafting first-hand. She said it was to her benefit to increase her knowledge of all aspects of her products once she opened the store.
Another thing that is important in this business district with a lot of imported goods is the idea of fair trade – to know that where her goods came from, and who made them. Dolma said she likes to be fair to everyone, from the craftspeople to the buyers and then her customers.
“I know what I am doing is right, I know what I am doing is fair. Everybody is benefiting,” she said. “I feel very good about it, that’s why I am doing it.”
Tibet Arts opened in 2004, and was initiated by Dolma’s in-law family in Nepal. She recalls at the time being indecisive about what she should do, and was convinced to give it a try. She has learned a lot since opening the store five years ago.
“Whenever you have a good time, don’t fly so high, because you have to think about the down time,” she said. “Whenever you are down, don’t be so down because a good thing will again come. So, like that my five years went.”
“Now, I am totally expert in that emotion, that balance. At last, I know my work, so I feel very comfortable.”
Dolma said her family and in-laws motivated her family to make the store happen. They “put everything they have in their life to the store,” she added, because of the confidence they have in her to make it succeed.
“They invested in everything, so I cannot just take them for a ride,” she said.
Back in Nepal her in-laws and her sister are helping out to buy and select merchandise. She often receives ideas for merchandise over the phone from her sister.
Dolma also helps out back in Nepal with advice. She recalled being shocked to find that her sister used business cards produced by a home printer. She said, “Sister, you are in America,” and explained that the business card makes a big impression. She was equally pleased soon after to receive “nicely printed business cards” from her sister in the mail.
All of those things are what Dolma calls “family-pushing” in a positive tone that has helped her keep the business growing.
“Nothing in the world, in life, is so big that you get beaten by it,” she said. “If it doesn’t work out, then that’s fine.
“For me, it wasn’t started out like I plan,” she added. “But now, I planned for it. I planned to make it happens.”
For more information about products or questions call Dolma Lama at 651-224-0600 or visit www.tibetartsmn.com.
|Support people-powered non-profit journalism! Volunteer, contribute news, or become a member to keep the Daily Planet in orbit.|