From Silicon Valley to Hushbabies
By Resmi Jaimon
As part of the Techgoss series on Techies who leave tech to follow their dreams, here is the story of the CEO & founder of Hushbabies who walked away from a successful career in tech at Silicon Valley to run her own startup. The Hushbabies online store has partnered with companies like Chicco, Vtech, Funskool, Pigeon and Fisher-Price to provide a range of mom and baby services.
Techgoss (TG): What did you study at school and college? At what stage in your life did you think of IT as a career?
Veena Sagar (VS): I did my Bachelors in Commerce and Masters in Computers. IT was the next big thing right from my college days and I wanted to explore both fields before I decided which way to go.
TG: Which tech companies did you work for? What hardware, software and project management did you specialize in?
VS: I worked in Silicon Valley, California. I did work for startups as well as Corporates like Cisco.
TG: At what point in your tech career and what were the circumstances that made you realize that this may not be what you really want?
VS: After a period of time, I felt as if I had reached a stand still and there was no passion in me to continue. So, when I started working again after my baby was a year old, I charted my own course of entrepreneurship.
TG: In America and Europe, women are dropping out of careers in tech. India has substantial number of female IT professionals. Why do you think America and Europe has this problem of retaining women?
VS: Women in western countries change their career path, but I don't think they drop out from active work life. They have more flexibility & wide options.
TG: How long did it take you to leave tech and run your own startup?
VS: It took around six months to plan and set up the business.
TG: What is HushBabies all about?
VS: Hushbabies was conceptualized with the purpose of providing safe and healthy products for babies’ and mommies. Hushbabies caters to our customer’s needs with a whole range of quality branded products for new mommies & new born babies till toddlers by providing an impressive assortment of toys, books, health care, games, baby products, clothing, furniture and new mom essentials.
TG: How did you come up with the idea of Hushbabies? What kind of satisfaction do you achieve from running a business for babies and young mothers?
VS: After I had my daughter, I was not able to shop for all the items I needed for her. In one place I couldn’t shop from diapers to toys at the same time. So, I started Hushbabies with this in mind. It gives me immense pleasure to see each and every order that goes out.
TG: Did your IT experience help in your current business?
VS: Yes, I was able to use my IT experience in shaping up and in working of this venture.
TG: Did you have to take much of a pay cut to pursue your business?
VS: Yes, when you begin a start up you need to take a pay cut. And for me I had to loose a hefty paycheck. But in the long run it is very rewarding.
TG: Do you think running hushbabies is helping you balance work and life better, especially as a mother to a baby daughter, than it would have, had you continued your IT career?
VS: I don’t think it makes much difference, at least for me. If it was an IT Career it could have been a monatomic job with no challenges or interesting stuff.
TG: What advice do you have for those who want to make a career switch – from a full time IT job to starting an e-commerce portal?
VS: Ecommerce is a very challenging field. It is completely different from a Brick & Mortar store - you need to make your client believe, feel happy; build trust for an unknown, unseen vendor. Follow your dreams, Do it with passion - you are the winner.