Motherhood Led This Engineer to Launch a Line of Products That Combine Fashion & Common Sense

We love hearing inspiring entrepreneurial stories from founders without a background in business! We are so impressed by Madhu, a former hardware engineer at Intel Corporation, now the founder of Pretty Pokets and mother of two.

During a tech challenge where she had the opportunity to mentor a young girl’s team, Madhu set out to solve a real-life problem – her boring and non-functional diaper bag! Through this project, she became the founder of Pretty Pokets, the only bag on the market with a diaper dispenser.

Now, Madhu is on a mission to add value to women’s life by designing intentional products that combine common sense and fashion. Keep reading to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey, her best advice for new founders and what she thinks about “work-life balance”.

What was the inspiration for your company?

When I was a hardware engineer in Intel Corporation, I had the opportunity to mentor a young girl’s team for a Tech Challenge. The challenge was taking a real-life problem and coming up with an idea to solve it. I rediscovered my passion for the design process, technology, and functional design. I was motivated to solve the problem I had at that time -my boring and non-functional diaper bag. I envisioned how I would want my diaper bag would look like. It started with a simple diaper bag sketch and kept at it, which eventually led me to build Pretty Pokets. Now I have expanded into designing laptop bag totes, backpacks, and other accessories.

What is your background & how has it helped you build your company?

I have my Masters in Electrical Engineering. My background doesn’t have anything to do with business or building a company. I have started on a clean slate.

What is unique about your products?

My first product is a diaper bag. It has a unique diaper dispenser and is the only bag on the market with a diaper dispenser. The bag also has pocket for wipes and disposable bags. Functionality and design aesthetics are key in our designs. Through our designs we bring harmony between usefulness, common sense and fashion. We now expanded into laptop bags and more.

Once you had the idea, what were the first few steps you took to launch it?

I came up with a sketch and started looking for someone who could make a prototype. It took couple of iterations to get a good looking prototype and then I went on look for manufactures. I ordered very small batch to see if people would be interested.

What drives you?

The yearning to contribute to the community and to be and do something different drives me everyday.

What is the most valuable lesson you've learned so far as an entrepreneur?

Good things take time. It’s all about the little steps and learn to stay in.

What are the best & hardest parts of being a parent and a founder?

Best part is the liberty to do something on my own. Hardest is juggling to do all( motherhood, work and rest all).

How do you "balance" motherhood/parenthood and entrepreneurship?

I took the word balance out and replaced it with “Priority”. I live a life of Priority. Because there is no such thing are work-life balance. You cannot give equal priority.

Any last advice you'd like to share?

Take the first step: It’s all about the baby steps. What do “you” want to do? There is no secret formula: It is going to be challenging. You have to keep going no matter what. You do you: Don’t compare your beginning to some else’s middle. Be in your lane. Believe in yourself and be grateful each and every day.

Madhu Challa

Founder & Owner

Pretty Pokets

Madhu is the Founder & CEO of Pretty Pokets. She is a great advocate for raising children with compassion, kindness, and a global mindset. She often shares her views and experience on her parenting blog. Her written work has appeared in online publications like Thrive Global and Medium. An opportunity to mentor an all-girl team for a Tech challenge inspired Madhu to transition from her career as a Hardware Engineer in Intel where she worked for 10 years to an entrepreneur and founder of prettypokets.com As a founder of Pretty Pokets, Madhu is on a mission to add incredible value to women’s life by designing and creating intentional products that find harmony between usefulness, common sense, and fashion. Madhu lives in California with her two children and her husband.