I’m super excited about today’s post, so I’m just going to get right to it.  I connected with Avani Sarkar on Instagram after seeing so many people I follow talk about the Modi Toys Baby Ganesh.  I loved this idea and can’t wait to get one for K (currently on the waiting list!).

What intrigued me even more though is the fact that Avani is a working mama AND a momprenuer of TWO companies.  After letting this sink in, I definitely thought about how I don’t have room to make any excuses for myself.  She has the same number of hours in her day that I do.  So inspiring!

With that, here’s Avani to tell her story…

I am fortunate enough to have a job with some flexibility, where I get to work from home twice a week. My daughter goes to daycare for a few hours those days, but my mom and in-laws are the primary caretakers during working hours. Since my mom stays with me a couple of days a week, she’ll meal prep for me. But since my husband isn’t vegetarian like me, I’ll make chicken for him once a week, along with some side veggie dishes. I try to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible because it’s usually for the best! But when I am feeling rather adventurous, my go to is The Chutney Life for easy to follow recipes. My daughter has major FOMO so she usually doesn’t go to sleep until I go to sleep, which either means I fall sleep early sometimes or she’s up way past her bedtime. I try to squeeze in Modi Toys work somewhere in the midst of all of this throughout the day: as I’m commuting to work on the train, as I’m walking home, once my daughter is asleep, etc.  If all else fails, I give her an iPad so I can work uninterrupted at times. Mom guilt is at an all time high when I do this, but I try to make up for it by spending time outdoors with her and going on trips (near and far).

Modi Toys
Passion doesn’t come with a switch that I can just turn on and of unfortunately. I wish I could say that when I’m at the office, all I think about is work. Or that when I’m with my daughter, all I think about is her. My mind has a million tabs open at any given time so I’m always thinking and being inspired and planning ahead.

My first foray into entrepreneurship was actually with a passion project I started in 2012 called Ever After Proposals. Just as couples hire wedding planners to help them with their wedding, guys would hire me as a Marriage Proposal Planner to help them pop the question. My motto for the company always has been: for the hopeless and the romantic. My goal was to simply help steer guys in the right direction to ensure they “think like a woman, and plan like a boss.” In the past six years, I’ve planned proposals everywhere from Florida, Puerto Rico, San Diego to NYC. I still try to squeeze in proposals, but as you can imagine, this falls to the bottom of the priority list these days.

That said, entrepreneurship always excited me, but Modi Toys happened more organically. My brother and I didn’t sit in a conference room to brainstorm business ideas we could launch. We naturally stumbled on an idea, which happened to check a lot of the boxes that you would want in a product: it’s unique, it provides immense value and it has a mass appeal.

Modi Toys
My brother and I both became first time parents at the same time (our daughters are born a week apart). During this time, we were naturally being inundated with toys and other gifts for them. And it was almost like a passing thought: why aren’t there any toys that are inspired by our culture? If there are stuffed animals that can sing the alphabet or random nursery rhymes, why aren’t there toys that are more meaningful? Truth be told, this idea was compounded by our mom, who would always be harping on the fact we shouldn’t lose our “sanskar.” Her point was valid and it became the backbone of our company: if we don’t retain the values/teachings of our culture, then how can we expect our children — and their children — to?

To be perfectly honest, my brother has the “doer” role in our entrepreneurial journey. He was the one that contacted manufacturers and spoke to lawyers and recording artists. He is the operations guy who put the idea into action. If it weren’t for him getting the product into production mode, I wouldn’t have anything to market. But that said, we make a really great team. I manage all of the creative aspects of the brand – from developing the logo, website, social media, partnerships, campaigns, etc. It also helps that my masters and professional background has been in marketing, whereas his has been in consulting. We both just naturally assumed our roles in the company.

Modi Toys
Since Ganesh is the symbol of new beginnings, we decided to launch a plush Baby Ganesh first. We figured, we’ll see how it does, if there’s any demand for it, and take it from there. Surprisingly, our daughters weren’t the only ones who loved it once we received the first prototypes from the manufacturer. Hundreds of moms we asked in mommy groups also loved the idea…enough to give us the confidence boost to do an official production run.

Being a “Mom plus anything” is tough – be it a working mom, entrepreneur, athlete, etc. To feel like you’re being the “best” mom you can be requires you to give kids your undivided attention at all times. And when you have other priorities and other passions in your life, it’s hard to feel like you’re giving any of these roles your 100%. But that said, eventually your kids will grow up and become more independent. While they’ll still need you, the capacity in which they do, will be different. I keep telling myself that if I hustle hard now, I can enjoy the fruits of my labor with my family down the road.

Modi Toys
So rather than wait until “the time is right until your kids are older,” I encourage people to leverage their skills while they’re still young. I’m in my 30s and I’m younger today than I will be tomorrow so no time to waste! Nothing irritates me more than people who have ideas without a plan.  Ideas come easy but you know what else comes easy? Excuses. And frankly, where there’s a will there’s a way.

Thank you for sharing your story, Avani!  I’m positive you’ve inspired so many people to take a step towards their dreams…me included!

By Parita

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