Name: Jennifer Coulombe 

Major at Baruch College: MBA, Entrepreneurship
Graduation Year: 2015
School within Baruch College: Zicklin School of Business
Company and Title:  Sat Nam babe - Founder and CEO


1. Tell us about Sat Nam babe and your role there.

I am the founder and CEO of Sat Nam babe, a yoga-inspired line of mindfully manufactured clothing for kids under age 6 and babies.

2. Where did the idea for Sat Nam babe come from?

Sat Nam babe was born from a mix of learning about the injustices in the fashion industry during a sustainability in supply chain class in business school and completing my 200-hour Kundalini yoga teacher training. During this training, subconscious blocks that were deterring me from moving into my greatest self were suddenly removed. After researching the children’s wear industry and yoga industry, both showing upward growth trajectories, I felt confident that a socially conscious yoga inspired clothing company for kids under six and babies could actually be a business.

3. What made you decide to start your own company after 13 years in the corporate and non-profit space?

I always knew that I wanted a non-traditional work environment, of not having to report to an office five days a week, so after 13 years, I decided to leave a “secure” job for the unknown. The unknown also included remote consulting work to pay the bills while I get Sat Nam babe running, which still to this day, I work at this remote job, but it’s great because it also allows me flexibility to work on Sat Nam babe. I also had this dream ever since I was a teenager, of becoming a fashion designer, so many years later, my dream is coming true (in an even more exciting way than I could have ever imagined!)

4. What are some challenges you have faced starting your own company and how did you overcome them?

I had manufacturing challenges early on (delivering on time and the correct product) with our harem pants. It was a good early lesson to always listen to your intuition. My vision for Sat Nam babe was to manufacture mindfully and fully in the U.S. (and supporting NY/NJ based vendors whenever possible) so making the harem pants in India due to the suggestion of a fashion industry expert went against my intuition. It all ended up working out, but for the second collection which I’m working on now, I’m excited to share that the harem pants will be fully produced in the U.S.!

5. What have you learned from going through the process of starting your own company? What are some advice you can give to people who are interested in starting on their own?

My MBA at Baruch was a fantastic base to give me the confidence to go out and take a chance on starting my own company. The sustainability and entrepreneurship courses that I took at Baruch were particularly useful and gave me tools that I was able to take with me as a launching pad such as ensuring that you do enough market research to understand your target customer. The idea for Sat Nam babe came to me one afternoon while researching trends in the Baruch Library!
In addition to market research, give thought to how you will fund the launch of your company. Crowdfunding is an incredible option, I used iFundWomen to raise almost $11,000 to launch Sat Nam babe, which funded about 70% of the startup costs I needed to launch the company including all of the manufacturing.


6. How was your experience at Baruch like? How do you feel it benefitted you and your career?

As mentioned, the entrepreneurship and sustainability courses were particularly helpful for launching Sat Nam babe. I also found the more quantitative classes, like finance and accounting, which I had never taken in undergrad, to give a good general overview of the basics of what I needed to properly ensure that I can stay in the black!

7. What is one of your favorite memories you have from your time at Baruch?

I was part of an accelerated part time MBA cohort, which I don’t think exists anymore, but it was a class roughly 50 of us working full time and practically going to school full time. It was two plus years of pure insanity schedule wise, but I met some amazing friends that I still have to this day, which made all the hard work worth it!

8. If you could change one thing during your time at Baruch, what would it be?

I never checked out the gym or got involved in extracurricular activities, because there was no time!


9. Do you have any advice for present and future alumni?

If you’re looking to start a business, do it in a way where you can still support yourself financially. I still don’t take a salary from Sat Nam babe; everything that comes in, I put back into the business to help it grow. I can’t imagine an added pressure of having to make a new company work instantly, so make sure your basic day to day needs are taken care of while you work on your dream company.


8. How can people contact you? 

      

Email: [email protected]