Photography by: Nandeep Mehta
THE “BAKING” OF AN ENTREPRENEUR
Article by: Manu Shah
Young professionals listened in admiration as Keynote speaker Sukaina Rajani shared her fascinating story of how she turned a macaron recipe into a thriving business, which was featured in Tilman Fertitta’s “Billion Dollar Buyer” TV show.
Sukaina was the main attraction at the NexGen by IACCGH Networking Happy Hour held at the Tasting Room. Organized by IACCGH’s Board member Narayan Bhargava and the NexGen by IACCGH Committee, the event was cohosted with Pratham Young Professionals and sponsored by Wealth Group Design.
Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia offered a brief outline about the Chamber’s activities describing it as an organization for “those who are aspiring to be a better professional or business” while Narayan provided further insight to the attendees on the value of being involved with NexGen by IACCGH, the Chamber’s new, young professional arm.
Sixteen year old Sachin, an active Pratham volunteer recounted his firsthand experiences with underprivileged children in Mumbai. He saw the importance of education up close – his grandparents came to Houston with only $16 and the hope of a better life. It was his grandfather’s education that empowered the family and this realization played a key role in Sachin’s involvement with Pratham – an NGO that works to educate underprivileged children in India.
Sukaina Rajani’s kitchen table operation captured a niche market and went on to become a nationally successful business. As fate would have it, she happened to bake a batch of macarons for a friend who described them as “delicious but ugly” Spotting an opportunity, Sukaina, with her brother as partner, began baking colorful and inviting macarons in her tiny kitchen. The mini desserts, new to the United States, were snapped
up as fast as they were baked and soon catering companies were calling in with huge orders. Rajani opened her first boutique – Macaron by Patisse – in 2011 and has never looked back. Today, Rajani has several storefronts and will begin franchising soon.
The point of the story, Rajani reflected, is that one often finds a path in life that one has never envisaged. Getting the business off the ground, she admits, was a struggle as she lost her social life, was always on the clock, and continually strategizing about how to keep ahead of the competition. On the plus side, she has the satisfaction of getting to make her “own decisions and developing the company the way you want it.”
Her advice to would be entrepreneurs, surround yourself with good people, network but more importantly foster those relationships and adapt and adjust.
The NexGen by IACCGH Networking Happy Hour is organized 2-3 times a year by the Committee and features a guest speaker. The NexGen by IACCGH committee consists of Narayan Bhargava (Chair), Anish Nagar, Priya Bedi, Girija Patel, Dilbag Singh, and Neha Srivastava.