We had the good fortune of connecting with Padma Jonnavithula and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Padma, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking is definitely something that has taken a huge role in my entire life both professional and personal. I was a Learning & Development professional in the financial services industry for 15+ years and giving up all of that to start “Snuggly Blanket Company” my own small business is one of the biggest risks I had taken in my entire life. Having said that, when I look back at my life so far, every milestone moment came after a risk was taken. From moving across continents and countries for 4 different times to giving up my job with every move and restarting my career in every new country, my life was filled with lots of risk taking and adventure at every turn. “Risk brings reward” is a statement that holds so much truth for me personally. Every geographical move we made as a family was leaving the familiar behind and taking that leap of faith into the unknown – new culture, new friends, and a BIG question – will I be able to restart my career? Will I be able to make new friends? I still embraced the risk and took the plunge and the rewards have been immense! With every risk I took in my life, I experienced growth, accomplishment, pride and a new level of strength I didn’t know I had before – a strength that I would have never know if I held on to the life I was familiar with. Has it been a smooth ride with risk taking? Ofcourse not! Becoming successful is not taking one risk and then BOOM you have it all. Reaching your goals and dreams comes with taking several risks, failing numerous times, getting back up and trying again. You need to get so comfortable with failure that you embrace it instead of fearing it. If you’re not scared to take your next step, you are not dreaming big enough. So, if you’re looking at all the risks you need to take in order to chase a dream and it’s scary as hell… Good! Do it! It means you’re on the right path to greatness!
What should our readers know about your business?
At Snuggly Blanket Company I offer 2 lines of services. – Retail and Workshops. In the retail space, I sell hand-knit chunky blankets, throws, scarves and pillows in various college colors and in your own custom colors and patterns. In my workshop space, I conduct Snuggly Blanket Workshop for adults and kids where they are taken through a step by step process of hand knitting a chunky blanket. It’s a Make and Take workshop where you make a take home a blanket with you in 3hrs. I have so far taught hand knitting to more than 250 people in the last 5 months since I started my business. My objective is to take the complexity and the stigma attached to knitting and to bust the myths – “its complicated”, “its not for me”, “its a special skill” and “I don’t have it in me” – I firmly believe “Anybody can knit” and that is what I want to drive through my workshops.
Getting to where I am today was definitely not an easy journey as any small business owner will tell you. I call myself a “Solopreneur” rather than an “Entrepreneur” as I wear many hats – marketing, operations, social media manager to name a few. But it’s been incredibly satisfying and that’s what matters at the end of the day. Having the end goal in sight and the burning desire inside me to succeed is what has helped me overcome all challenges and keeps me going.
Some of the lessons I have learnt along the way are – Planning is extremely important as is keeping your eyes and ears open to what your competitors are doing, what’s working for them? What can you learn from their journey?
All of us are so proud and emotionally attached to our colleges or schools and at Snuggly Blanket Company we want to bring that emotion into the living rooms and dorm rooms with our Team Spirit collection of Chunky Blankets and throws. It’s a feeling, an emotional connect – from a student snuggling up to his favorite college blanket his mom gifted him while sending him off to college to an alumni who snuggles proudly to his chunky blanket years after he graduated – our Team Spirit collections binds them all together.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would definitely take her to all the must-see places in Atlanta – Starting with the Georgia Aquarium, to the coca cola factory. I would also do the North Georgia Wine tour. I would also take her to the Beltline, rent and ride a bike there. My friend loves Indian food so a stop at “Tabla” Indian restaurant will surely be on the cards. I will also take her to the Stone Mountain Park at night.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Two groups of people who I would like to credit my success to – Family and Friends. The biggest shout out goes to my husband who always pushed me to come out of my comfort zone and try something new. He was all for entrepreneurship and starting something on my own instead of slogging at a corporate job. Another big shout out goes to my sisters who are my cheer leaders. They are more proud of how far I have come in my entrepreneurial journey than I give myself credit to. Last but not the least, my friends play a big role in supporting my dream and encouraging me at every step. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you!!