She gave up a stable, secure job and sold her house for her dream business: Shubhra Chadda

As a child, Subhra Chadda she travelled around the country to lesser-known places, and has always been feeding an insatiable wanderlust. For her graduation, she chose a degree that included travel and tourism at Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru. But at the end of her course, Chadda simply lined up for a placement round held by KPMG and was among the 15 candidates selected.

She attributes some of her work ethics to the professional environment she encountered at the accounting firm. “I was still dependent on my parents financially and that, for me, was not a good feeling. Also, I was very hard on myself for quitting a secure job like the one I had with KPMG,” she explains, reasoning why she applied to American data-storage company, NetApp, and became a part of its five-member sales team. After a few years at NetApp, Chadda joined Canadian telecom company, Nortel.
But destiny came calling when she was on a maternity break in 2007. Her husband surprised her with a colourful display of knick-knacks such as keychains, fridge magnets, sippers, coffee mugs and notebooks – something that was somewhat of a regular habit amongst the quirk-connoisseur couple. She didn’t need him to say anything more; in that moment, the eureka for Chumbak came along. When they decided that it was time to place the bulk order, the couple decided to sell their home.
Within six months of launch, their designs were available in 12 categories such as fridge magnets, sippers, notebooks, keychains, bookmarks, mugs and cushion covers, across 60 stores and also online. Within two years, the company turned profitable and, around the time they were looking for funding, Seedfund’s Bharati Jacob invested $2 million in 2012.

Since then, there has been no looking back. Chumbak is now present in 30-plus stores in India across 75 product categories. They raised another round of funding in 2014 from Matrix Partners and Seedfund, and are currently scouting for their Series C funding, to implement their expansion plans in the United States.

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