Shubham Issar and Amanat Anand
Co-founders of SoaPen Inc.
Tell us about your career and how it all started?
Amanat and I met at the Parsons School of Design while studying Industrial Design. Post graduation, we were both interested in social innovation and found the UNICEF Wearables for Good Challenge online that highlighted problems mothers and kids all over the world were facing. The issue that spoke to us most was the shocking amount of infectious illnesses that affected kids all over the world which if not treated properly, could lead to infant mortality. Looking into it deeper, we realized, that 1 out 3 children could avoid infectious illnesses by just washing their hands with soap.
We wanted to make hand-washing fun and proper hadnwashing intuitive to kids. That’s how we came up with the idea of SoaPen- a soap kids can draw with! We won the UNICEF Wearables for Good Challenge for the concept of SoaPen and started R&D to take SoaPen from a concept to prototype. Along the way, we were list makers on Forbes 30U30 2017, conducted a successful Kickstarter which led to launching SoaPen on Amazon in October 2018.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
As co-founders, we rely on each other’s strengths to navigate new challenges and the journey of entrepreneurship. We also have a big community of women entrepreneurs who have been our mentors, advisors and confidants from Day 1. No matter what, we have each others backs and that defines sisterhood for us!
What's your personal mantra?
Surrounding ourselves with mentors and advisors who believe in our product and understand the vision of change we want to bring to the world. And recognizing that maintaining a work life balance is key to success.
What is your superpower?
Persistence! We’ve worked hard to bring the idea from concept to reality!
Tell us about women that inspired you and your female role models:
We were both very fortunate to have mothers who were leading businesses and private firms- this set an amazing example for the both of us and encouraged us to dream big.
We’ve had women play pivotal roles in our careers and most recently have been inspired by Dr. Sachiko Kuno- the founder and visionary behind Halcyon Incubator (we were Halcyon Cohort 9 fellows of the incubator). Halcyon’s mission is to catalyze and nurture emerging creatives striving for a better world by providing them a safe haven to focus entirely on their work.
What would be your advice for women who are building careers in your industry?
Seek mentors specific to your industry- learn from their mistakes and be relentless in your pursuit of your vision!
One piece of advice for your 18 year old self?
Everything is as it should be- focus on the present and trust that you know what you’re doing.