“Not many people have the opportunity to do work that they love and are passionate about” says Partha Raghunathan, co-founder of Bloom & Give. “I feel very fortunate to do this work”.
Have you ever wondered how you could make your life more meaningful and find a way to give back to do good? It is a question many of us have asked ourselves yet few have dared to do. For Partha Raghunathan and Madhu Rajendran, two Indian-born men living in Texas and working in the tech field, it was the desire to do good and help others that eventually lead them both to leave their comfortable positions as engineers at a tech company and start a new socially minded business together called Bloom & Give.
Bloom & Give sells beautifully handcrafted scarves and bags made in India using techniques passed on from generation to generation. However, what makes Bloom & Give so unique is their mission: To change girls’ lives through education in some of the most gender inequal areas in India. Although both Partha and Madhu are Indian, they have lived in the United States for over twenty years and confessed they are a bit removed from some of India’s social issues. It took a trip to India with a good friend to the state of Rajasthan to seal their fate.
I had the opportunity to speak with Partha and Madhu to learn more about their amazing business and journey together to change girls lives in India. It was a fascinating conversation with lots of laughs as well as delightful inspiration to hear how they were able to find a higher meaning and value in their work. Here is their story.
MADE IN INDIA, WITH LOVE
It all began during a visit back to India with one of their good friends, an American textile designer named Hallie Gray. Partha and Madhu, friends for over twenty years and fathers of daughters, traveled to Rajasthan to help Hallie source her products. During the trip, they had their first exposure to block printing, an art that had been around for over 5,000 years and is still practiced today. It was breathtaking to watch and life-changing for Partha and Madhu.
While spending time with the artisans, they learned more about their lives and realized that girls education was a huge issue in that region of India. Both fathers of daughters, they realized how fortunate their girls were to be receiving a good education in the United States while many girls in India do not have the same opportunity. It was a pivotal moment that eventually lead to the creation of Bloom & Give.
Partha and Madhu were at first nervous about entering this new space of creating products for women and giving back to girls education. Typically owners of such companies are women, not men. Yet after much thought they realized that creating Bloom & Give would be a way for them to give back and truly change things in India.