Raksha Bandhan Special: 6 Pairs of Siblings Turned Co-Founders
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
Traditionally, raksha bandhan is when sisters tie a rakhi, a gold and red thread bracelet, onto their brothers’ wrists in exchange for his protection. During the tying, a prayer is said asking for happiness and prosperity for both.
In modern times, while rakhis are still tied, it’s more of a celebration of sibling love. In honor of raksha bandhan this week, we wanted to honor siblings who used their shared experiences to create the ultimate legacy—a business.
When founder Monica Royer was holding her daughter in the delivery room, she had an overwhelming sense that she only wanted anything touching her newborn’s skin to be “the softest, most trustworthy fabric available.” Not being able to easily find it, she teamed up with her younger brother—Andy Dunn, founder of online men’s clothing company Bonobos, now a subsidiary of Walmart—to form their namesake organic baby clothing company in 2014. In a true story of sibling support Monica, whose Indian immigrant mother warned her she may have to support Andy as he started his then-unknown company, advised her brother as he grew Bonobos and, in turn, he serves as Board Chairman of Monica + Andy.
Touted as “self-care for the mind, body and spirit,” Blume was created when sisters Taran and Bunny Ghatrora began asking themselves questions like “Why is the way the world treats periods so weird?” and “Is the silent treatment society gives periods somehow connected to the shame girls grow up feeling about their bodies?” The duo created Blume, which means “blossom” or “bloom” and offers everything from organic pads and tampons to essential oils for cramps and acne, to destigmatize periods and help create a generation of confident and conscious women.
When Viral Modi was preparing for impending fatherhood, he wanted to gift his daughter with something special, something more unique than engraved jewelry, something that his daughter could enjoy immediately and grow with, something that connected her back to his Indian roots. His sister Avani Modi Sarkar, then also pregnant with a daughter, came up with an idea—the Baby Ganesh. Since then, the Modi siblings have grown their
offerings to include books, greeting cards and a Baby Hanuman, coming soon.
Founded by Jen Martin, her brother Jeff and her sister-in-law Teresa Tsou, the idea for Pipcorn sprouted when Jeff was helping his sister move apartments and they were in desperate need of a snack. Jen whipped out these kernels she’d gotten a few days earlier and soon they were munching on “the best popcorn they had ever had.” Lots of R&D, outdoor markets and a trip to Shark Tank later, the popcorn is now available at Whole Foods and other stores across the country and gluten free, non-GMO, and mostly vegan (except for one flavor).
When Tarul Kode Tripathi had her first child, daughter Sanaya, she made a commitment “to never stay silent about the things that matter the most.” She teamed up with younger cousin Tejal Angolkar—though they grew up as sisters amongst a large, tight-knit extended family—to form Sanaya Set, founded on the premise that each person can make a positive impact toward social justice, intersectionality and style. While the duo curates subscription boxes that pulls items from companies founded by or supporting womxn and minorities, they also donate 10 percent of proceeds from each box to a different womxn-empowering charity each time.
In the late 90s, at a time when diverse cosmetics were not at all common, Monal Patel, Priti Patel, Gargi Patel and Pinki Gosal--three sisters and a close childhood friend, “all sisters by any measure” as the quartet says—were inspired by the question plaguing many women of color: “Why doesn’t makeup look good on me?” The four put in “years of research, development and meticulous attention to detail,” to found Vasanti, which means “of spring” in Sanskrit and now the line has expanded to foundation, dark undereye circle concealer, kajal eyeliner, bronzers, lipsticks and skincare.
Avani Nadkarni is a former journalist who currently works in tech PR and is forever navigating the tricky balance of trying to raise her child in the U.S. while teaching him about his Indian and Sri Lankan roots.