Kena Paranjape is a marketer, merchandiser, writer and the creative force behind BRIKA. After earning her MBA, she created merchandising strategies for Old Navy, Banana Republic, Joe Fresh, and a high-end eco-lifestyle concept shop before launching BRIKA with her co-founder. Today Kena also consults with artisans and designers, helping them to define and grow their creative businesses.

What was your biggest discovery in 2017?

My biggest discovery in 2017 was that when you own your own business, and face a challenge, there is literally no one who can give you the right answer. You can connect with mentors, read entrepreneurship articles, and consult with other entrepreneurs, but you are, ultimately, the one who has to find the answers. It is daunting but exhilarating if you are willing to take on that challenge. And it forces you to be more creative and innovative than you ever thought possible.

What hurdles did you face in 2017, and how did you navigate them?

My daughter was born in the fall of last year, so my 2017 challenge was all about finding balance between spending time with her and focusing on my business. When you have two babies, it is hard to know how to split that time! But like all moms, I did the best I could. Your baby is only a baby for a little time, so when I am with her I fully enjoy it. On the other hand, BRIKA brings me so much fulfillment and satisfaction that I never feel guilty when I spend time on building our vision.

What is getting you pumped up for 2018?

I’m excited to push ahead on some big ideas both personally and for BRIKA. Some of the themes I’m focused on for 2018 are creativity, growth, and expansion.

When you’re not thinking about business, what occupies your daydreams?

I dream about traveling the world with my husband and daughter, while writing, meeting, and helping artisans and designers grow their businesses, making new friends, and eating delicious food.

What is in your “entrepreneurship” emergency kit?

A pretty notebook and my agenda, other entrepreneurs to commiserate with, coffee shops and cookies, and of course, my co-founder Jen (my work wife-ha!).