About_usIf you’re one of the many moms who returned to her job after maternity leave thinking, “I am not cut out for this anymore,” you’ll love this week’s interview. Sonia Gupta is an inspiration. The owner of her own organic baby clothing line—My Little Pakora—Sonia is introducing a product moms can believe in while also giving back a share of her profits to the Grameen Foundation. All this from her kitchen table. Who says you can’t reinvent yourself after baby?

Links Mentioned: My Little Pakora | Grammen Foundation | The Namesake | Jhumpa Lahiri

Listen: Past episodes of Manic Mommies are available exclusively to Gal Pals!

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5 Responses to Podcast: Mom Profile – My Little Pakora

  1. Hi, Erin and Kristin–

    I really enjoy your podcast every week. I have a 2 1/2 year old, and a long (train) commute into NYC, so it has been really helpful for me to hear what other moms go through in a given week.

    I was interested to hear the type of feedback that Sonia Gupta received from her SBA representative. I work with small tech and manufacturing firms (limited to NYC) as part of a partially government-funded nonprofit organization.

    If a company like My Little Pakora comes to me or to my colleagues, our approach will depend on the founder’s larger funding goals. If a company wishes to attract outside investors, for example, aiming at the Targets of the world may make sense. But it’s not for everyone at Sonia’s stage—for example, she would have to have a huge amount of inventory for Target or QVC, and we generally wouldn’t advise a small company to build up that kind of unsold inventory. We try to understand the founder’s vision first. If an entrepreneur wants to grow organically, and has the time and stamina for that, we try to listen to his/her story and assist with next steps. Sometimes these visions aren’t realistic yet, it’s true, but our approach is often to expose companies to additional information, so that the business owner can become empowered to make these decisions themselves. We offer Kauffman Foundation-designed FastTrac entrepreneurial training programs to this end, and these programs are hosted by nonprofits, colleges, and cities across the country–I would recommend your listeners check whether they are available locally.http://www.fasttrac.org/

    My organization also (partly due to the intent of our government funding) tries to link potential manufacturers with resources within the US when feasible for their business model, and there are resources in most states to help with this search process as well.

    This is all to say that there exists free or low-cost support available to entrepreneurs, but it can take time to find these resources in a given area. Each person you work with in your entrepreneurial support community will have their own perspective, (most of these have at least some value) but it may take some time to find the right resource or combination of resources to support an entrepreneur’s unique vision.

    Best of luck to My Little Pakora and to your own efforts to shape the future of Manic Mommies.

    Colleen Gibney

  2. Susan P. says:

    LOVED hearing about My Little Pakora. Sonia has a lot of information and passion to share. One resource for both Sonia and Manic Mommies might be More Hip Than Hippie. I would LOVE a Manic Mommies meets More Hip than Hippie podcast show (Hint, hint), and Val and Green Feet would be a great resource for Sonia as well. Keep up the good work ladies and blessings to you!

  3. Rod Adams says:

    Erin and Kristen:

    I have been eavesdropping on Manic Mommies since you chatted with CC Chapman for both his show and yours. As the father of two adult daughters, including one that is just a few months from being a “manic mommy” herself, I like to try to do the impossible (for a guy) – figure out how women think and what issues concern them. It makes it easier to keep a relationship with both my wife of 29 years and my daughters.

    Your interview with Sonia finally prompted me to come out of lurker status and make a contribution. I was impressed by her passion and by her desire for independent, boot strapping growth for a company that reflects her values and priorities. I am glad that she rejected the idea of approaching Target.

    In one of my previous lives, I was the GM for a small manufacturing company that hired me to help them recover from an episode with Wal-Mart. The tiny company had landed a significant sales volume of a seasonal toy product with the mega store and then went through an almost fatal process of big sales volume accompanied by annual price cut demands until the mammoth retailer was demanding a price that was essentially the manufacturing cost. (The shelf price of the product never changed.)

    The company, fortunately, was smart enough to walk away from a deal that entailed months of hard work with no return. We later had a different, but also painful experience with Toys R Us. That enormous company demanded a net 60 invoice (payment 60 days after delivery) when our normal terms were Net 30. After they got delivery, they proceeded to pay us on a net 120 day schedule with a 10% reserve for returns. We did not have the time, resources or energy to sue, but we also quit that deal as a bad way to grow.

    Anyway – my advice to Sonia at this point in My Pakora’s development is to stay away from big stores.

    Rod Adams
    Publisher, Atomic Insights
    Host and producer, The Atomic Show Podcast

  4. Jane says:

    This was a great “case study” of a momtrepreneur. Sonia was articulate and interesting to listen to, and I enjoyed looking at the My Little Pakora site . How about offering a discount code for Manic Mommy listeners? (I won’t be at the Escape.) I also hope that the site can accommodate overseas credit cards!

  5. Erica says:

    I applaud Sonia for sticking to it! I had a t-shirt company for a while with a business partner, and needless to say, she lost interest and I kinda did too. It takes a lot of gumption to keep on trucking!