20 entrepreneurs share their small business ‘aha moments’

  • Dreamers & Doers is a networking community of female entrepreneurs, creatives, and change-makers. 
  • Many of its members decided to create their own companies after experiencing an “aha moment,” or a time when they realized they wanted to fully pursue their passion projects or side hustles. 
  • Whether it was a personal need or a problem they wanted to help solve, these 20 women each say they had a pivotal moment where everything clicked and drove them to launch their businesses. 
  • “Having worked in Fortune 500 companies, I always felt like I was walking someone else’s road, so I decided to take control and build the road my way,” said founder and innovation strategist Teresa Comi. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As most founders have experienced, entrepreneurial journeys are anything but linear. There are ideas that propel you forward, setbacks that challenge you, and pivots that have you starting from what feels like scratch. 

Yet despite the inevitable trial and error companies are bound to face, there is usually one moment — an aha moment — where the pieces seem to perfectly align and the vision becomes clear. While the path still isn’t easy, having that North Star to refer to can be essential when a company is still just a glimmer of an idea.

For these 20 female founders, there was a clear aha moment when they knew it was time to go all-in with their company. Whether that moment came out of a personal need, a lifelong passion, or a glaring problem that needed to be solved, their stories beautifully illustrate the significance of having one moment where it all clicks, ultimately igniting their passions to make their dreams a reality.

Read more: How the millennial cofounders of feminine-care company Blume raised $3.3 million in funding in just one month

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Karen Desai (29), Rajul Parekh (29), and Kinney Sheth (29), cofounders of LUKH

Founders_LUKH_Karen Desai Rajul Parekh and Kinney Sheth credit Diego Palomino

Karen Desai, Rajul Parekh, and Kinney Sheth.

Diego Palomino

As three childhood friends from Chicago who are first-generation Indian-Americans, Karen Desai, Rajul Parekh, and Kinney Sheth told Business Insider that their South Asian roots are essential to their identities. However, Desai told Business Insider that they know firsthand how frustrating shopping for Indian fashion in the US can be. 

“The clothes you find in stores are outdated, and ecommerce brands are exorbitantly priced and rarely represent our dual identities,” Desai said. “Moreover, with a diverse mix of family and friends around us, we want everyone to feel included in our rich heritage. There are 30 million South Asians that live outside of India that similarly feel these frustrations and desires.” 

That’s why Desai, Parekh, and Sheth created LUKH, an online rental service for South Asian fashion, in September 2019.

“Think Rent the Runway for Indian clothes — an online rental service giving everyone an equal opportunity to participate in Indian culture through fashion,” Desai, who’s also the company’s CMO, said.

With large gatherings no longer taking place, Sheth, who’s also chief product officer, said business has been slower but mostly coming from micro-weddings. But according to Parekh, the company’s CEO, they still managed to turn a $10,000 profit since their launch and drove 21,000 unique site visits as people re-plan and reschedule their events. They’ve also pivoted and doubled down on unique digital collaborations, including virtual styling sessions. 

Since June, they’ve launched postponed wedding care packages, featuring products from various South Asian artists — and sequined South Asian face masks, with 100% proceeds donated to United We Mask in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America — to meet their customers’ more timely needs.

“Although, like many entrepreneurs, they have been facing adversity due to the impact of COVID-19, they have persisted and turned what could have been a challenging launch into a moment of true empathy,” said Pooja Agarawal, COO of the coding bootcamp Flatiron School and former COO of Birchbox, who’s a mentor and advisor to the three founders.

Despite the impact of the pandemic, the three cofounders were recent finalists in the University of Chicago’s New Venture Challenge and raised $20,000 in capital from Dorm Room Fund. 

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