Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Juanita Dharmazi, Co-Founder and Owner of KADOO, located in New York, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

KADOO is a custom curated gift box company in New York City that provide service to help people make gift giving easier. Our core mission is to spread the joy of gift-giving while at the same time raising awareness on reusability through our eco-friendly Furoshiki fabric wrap.

As a minority and women-owned business, we feel that it is important to support other women-owned businesses and local vendors. We also focus our sourcing on companies that implement sustainability in their product creation or working with other companies with a good social mission behind their brands.

We have retail customers who shop our ready-to-ship gift boxes as well as our B2B clients. Many corporate clients come to us because they need unique gift items for their specific events. We help them source different items from various places, arrange the logistics, ship gifts to different locations, including international countries and provide design service that is tailored to their unique goals.

Tell us about yourself

I became a small business owner because I love to create. I am a creative person, and every time I see something inspiring, the light bulb in my head turns. And I love to make these light bulb ideas in my head turn into something sellable that people will love. I also become a business owner because I love to learn, and I like to understand how things work and how to make things flow more efficiently. Becoming a business owner allows me to grow, make mistakes, fix them and learn from them. With every mistake I make, I feel that I am growing, which is the part I love the most.

Prior to becoming a business owner, I was a creative director for a design company for 11 years. I had a complicated pregnancy journey, and after the birth of my son, I decided to take some time off for healing and for processing the new routine. I switched to doing some freelance work so that I could still focus on my newborn. But after the birth of my daughter, I was ready to go back to the workforce and was inspired to start my own business.

I want to be able to work on my schedule while putting my family first, and more importantly, I want to be a good role model for my children. I want them to see that through hard work and perseverance, they can achieve almost anything. Especially for my daughter, I want her to know that she can be a mother but, at the same time, continue pursuing her passions. Life does not have to stop just because you choose to become a mother. In the beginning, I was struggling with this. I feel like it is impossible to achieve both, but by starting my own business and not giving up, I started to see that it is doable and that I can do it. I can talk to a client and sign a deal during the day and be present for my kids before the end of the day. This makes me feel so powerful and proud to be a woman, a mother, and an entrepreneur.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I am very proud to see the progress that we have made and how our business has grown to the profitable stage. We started the business with ready-to-ship gift boxes for retail customers. But as we grow, our main focus has shifted in a major way to B2B, helping corporate clients create one-of-a-kind gift boxes. We are very proud to be able to work with a variety of companies, from technology, media, fashion, finance, hospitality, education, and many more. Some of our clients are Rio Tinto, HBO, Pinterest, Google, Amazon, Horace Mann, Bardin Hill, and Food Dream A Jean-Georges Foundation.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Being patient. Like everything in life, there are some good days, and there are some bad days. There will be days when we have too many inquiries, proposals, and orders to fulfill. But there are also days when nothing is really happening. The slow months can be soul-crushing. But I have learned to use the slow months as a productive use of time to look into building the business and constantly find ways to make the business more efficient.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Do your market research, take a leap of faith and do it! You do not have to do everything perfectly from the beginning. Start small. You can always go back and perfect it later on. It is more important to start the business rather than overthinking how to make it perfect.
  2. Set up your business account and your bookkeeping in place from day 1. If you don’t have a degree in accounting, do not tempt to do this on your own. Invest in a good bookkeeper. It will pay off in the long run. This is the number one task on your list that should be outsourced.
  3. Pick a niche and be an expert in your field. It will set you apart from your competitors.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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