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Why and How?

Why = Adventure / How = People
Why did you start your business?

That is the first thing that I get asked as an entrepreneur. Followed by How. How did you start your business? Well, let’s discuss!

I think I started my business because I was looking for an adventure, a puzzle to solve, experiences to be had and people to meet! I know this because I was thirsty and restless for an idea. The idea for a waterproof cover for another bag came to me while I was on my couch on E. 33rd street, smoking a joint and in a deep discussion over the lack of innovation around umbrellas. They weren’t effective! At best they kept one’s hair dry but certainly not your bag. I was really trying to solve for a better umbrella solution (leave a comment if you want to chat more about this!), but what I came up with, was a handbag protection solution: a lightweight waterproof bag that folded up into itself that could be used as outer-shell for another bag, and when not in use, could be carried within that bag (that is why The ANDI Totes all have the inside removable pouch – they fold up into it!). 

That was the original idea. At the time, I was working full-time as a project manager in the legal industry, liaising between US-based clients and India-based operations teams. I was also in the process of getting my MBA through this very cool program that allowed me to keep my job while traveling around the world (and still I was thirsty for MORE adventure! I have since been informally diagnosed as a stimulation junkie if you can’t tell). I wanted to see my idea for a waterproof cover for another bag come to life! That’s the WHY. 

Here’s the HOW. I sourced waterproof material swatches from Google searching and the first ever ANDI prototype was made in Shanghai while I was on a school trip to China. That was made possible by a prospective student in Shanghai interested in the business school program, whom I met at a happy hour. She agreed to take me along with my fabric and rough tech-pack to a local market and translate for me so that they could make the first ANDI. After using that bag, I realized that I didn’t want a waterproof cover, I wanted a bag that I didn’t have to worry about in the first place. I wanted to make the most useful and stylish bag of all time. I had serious work to do. I found as many people as possible to talk to about my idea and followed any possible lead that they gave me. From a hat designer, to a knife manufacturer, the CEO of G-III, my friend’s brother’s girlfriend who used to work for Michael Kors and everyone all over the garment district. My friend’s friend who did PR, a connection of friend who worked in fitness, and everyone in between. The HOW is about people. People willing to listen and to help and to share. So many people helped me start my business and keep it moving today! I love helping others as well! 

Do you have a thirst for adventure that you should probably act on? Do you think people are the ultimate way that we are able to move ideas forward? Are you looking for feedback, mentorship or connections to help move you forward? Holler in the comments below!

That’s me, on the St. Petersburgh, Russia subway, where I am wear-testing the first ANDI which was made a few months before in Shanghai.

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