Posted on December 9, 2020 at 1:11 am

Featured Interviews

Kulture Khazana Founder, Akruti Babaria, shares on being a mompreneur

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We had a chat with the founder of Kulture Khazana, Akruti Babaria, on what it’s like to be a mompreneur and run a startup business.

1) Tell us your story. How did you start Kulture Khazana?

My parents (Dipak and Minaxi) and I immigrated to the United States when I was 16 years old. Through the difficult transition years, my culture provided the roots and wings to grow and make this place my home. After my son, Ayaan turned 1 in 2018, I found my purpose – to share Indian cultural stories.

I looked for resources to share cultural stories with Ayaan and realized there weren’t many authentic ones out there. That’s when I took a trip to India, connected with publishers and curated a collection of 40 titles which children around the world between the ages of 0 – 10 can relate to.

In the past 2 years, Kulture Khazana has evolved into portal that shares cultural stories through learning, experiences and play. What started as a collection of curated books has now turned into a platform that offers online cultural workshops, story videos, activities, and most recently our Rangoli Mandala Floor Puzzle.

Kulture Khazana

2) What has been one challenge as a mompreneur?

There is a reason I call myself a mompreneur – mom comes before entrepreneur. I take it as an opportunity to follow my passion and show my son the value of our roots. Some days are more challenging than others, I mean kids get sick or schools get canceled, but he sees his mom working hard every day, creating something from scratch. When I had my in person workshops, my husband would bring him along so he could experience it and see the impact of sharing culture.

The most challenging part has been to move past the guilt I feel as a mom whose attention is pulled in multiple directions. But then again, no one multi-tasks like a mom and I make sure he knows that he is my priority, just not all the time.

Kulture Khazana

3) What is your favorite part about running Kulture Khazana?

Children requesting my story videos before bedtime or as a treat. I hear from parents regularly that their kids love videos from “Story Aunty” and look forward to learning about Indian holidays, folk tales and other cultural aspects. That’s what energizes me and gets me through tough days. They’re available on IGTV and on Kulture Khazana’s Youtube Channel. They are now a library of 30 – 40 videos that range from 5 mins – 12 mins each. These stories and experiences are weaved into everything that I offer through Kulture Khazana.

Kulture Khazana

4) What does your day-to-day look like during COVID-19?

When I am not hoarding toilet paper or making sourdough starter, I am hustling. Sleep is a mystery, workout is a priority, keeping my son happy is a must and feeding a husband who hasn’t left home since March is a struggle. Now my son actually sees me working, packing orders in the living room, filming story videos, talking to the screen as he calls my online workshops, and a sometimes cranky mom. The other day, he fought with his friend who wanted to throw the puzzle and told him “My mommy worked very hard to make this. You cannot destroy my mommy’s hard work.” Until then, I had no idea he knew I worked, let alone worked hard and that he was proud of me. I balled my eyes out.

My parents have been my angels and help with watching Ayaan for a few hours everyday while I squeeze in 7 hours of work into 3. My husband helps pack orders on the weekends. It has truly become a family business. One good thing about this life is that we spend our mornings together as a family. We eat dinner together and my husband and I never miss his bedtime. Grateful for our health and the time we have to watch him grow.

Kulture Khazana

5) Why did you start Kulture Khazana? How do you hope it will make an impact on children?

My parents (Dipak and Minaxi) and I immigrated to the United States when I was 16 years old. Through the difficult transition years, my culture provided the roots and wings to grow and make this place my home. After my son, Ayaan turned 1 in 2018, I found my purpose – to share Indian cultural stories.

I am an immigrant and the culture that I brought with me and the culture that I am creating here is what makes me belong. It’s my dream to help children feel like they belong, they are seen and they learn about their roots. I want children to openly share each other’s holidays, foods, stories, clothing and traditions; and build empathy.

Kulture Khazana

6) If you weren’t running Kulture Khazana, what would you be doing right now? Any other passions of yours?

I’d be a Dance teacher. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Bharatnatyam, Indian classical dance and had a dance school for over 15 years. It is another avenue that I share Indian culture and stories through. Dance is my soul language.

7) What advice would you give to someone aspiring to start a business?

Build a community. Don’t be afraid to ask for help as people are rooting for you and sometimes you just don’t see it. I’ve developed so many strong relationships in the past 2 years by just reaching out and them doing the same. People genuinely want to help and it is OK to not know everything and take that help.

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