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Community Highlights: Meet Mownika Chawla of Hava

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mownika Chawla.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I grew up watching my mom run a successful small business out of our home and always admired how she built so much from nothing. I ended up going to medical school but after I finished, I decided not to continue on that path. I felt a little lost because I had always wanted to be a pediatrician and hadn’t really considered that anything else was a real possibility. Fast forward a few years, I had my first son Rohan and we were going to a lot of family events and weddings but I couldn’t find any Indian clothes that were comfortable, safe, and fit well. I was only a few weeks postpartum so I didn’t do anything about it then but the thought kept coming back to me. The more I thought about it and started doing some market research, I realized that there were so many people out there looking for the same. I decided to start Hava shortly after.

As I was making my business plan, I realized that this was such a great way to share our culture with the world. A fun and inviting way for kids to experience the world- a fun globally influenced fashion brand for kids was born. I started the legal work to form an LLC in August 2018 and set out to find a manufacturer and learn as much as I could about the industry. We launched in August 2019 and the response was incredible. We’ve had lots of up and downs since then especially in 2020. I found out in February I was pregnant and was sick for most of the year so I had to take a step back from the company for a while but we launched our second collection in November and once again the response was overwhelming! Now with a toddler and an infant in tow, I’m so excited to see Hava grow in 2021!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Oh my goodness, never smooth! I’ve just learned to navigate the bumps better. Early on, we partnered with a GOTS certified organic factory that we checked out in a few different ways but they ended up disappearing with our money! Last year much like the rest of the world, we were affected by the pandemic. Our supply chain was shut down and is still recovering. A lot of the factories and mills are not running at 100% so it has significantly affected our lead times. I would say managing production is the toughest part for me.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
HAVA, an LA-based, modern baby collection inspired by my Indian heritage. I created this line for my own kids and yours, too: Impossibly cozy, infinitely versatile pieces for stylish little ones living in a multicultural world. We at Hava believe that celebrating diverse fashion within a child’s everyday wardrobe can inspire values — like curiosity, love, and appreciation for other cultures — within their budding minds and open hearts. We source ethically and partner with factories and artisans committed to the continued growth of sustainable practices. We design every stitch with babies’ sensitive skin (and the sometimes-daunting task of getting out the door in style!) in mind. And we can’t wait to be a part of your kids’ wardrobe — and world!

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
For a small new brand spreading the word about our brand is the most supportive and helpful thing to do!

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Emily of Tenlittlebluebirds Lauren of Lauren Michelle Photography

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