Tess Brennan & Pretty Govindji

“Just do it,” said Pretty Govindji. “You’ll be surprised what you are capable of.”

That’s advice Govindji and her neighbor, friend and business partner Tess Brennan heeded when they founded Kangovou, a line of stainless steel dishware for children.

Frustrated by reports of harmful chemicals, like BPA, in plastic dishware, Govindji, then a stay-at-home mom, set out to test all the stainless steel dishware she could get her hands on. Over a beer in the backyard one evening, Govindji and Brennan decided to team up.

The pair, who live three houses apart in Brier Creek, sought not only to introduce a unique product but to challenge themselves in new roles as well.

“(Kangovou) has allowed me to show other aspects of myself besides the one that takes care of a household and takes care of (my children),” said Govindji, “which has been really rewarding for me.”

Brennan, a senior director at Quintiles, wanted to expand her résumé outside of her research work.

“I was ready to do something that I could apply my business skills to but in a completely different area,” said Brennan. “And do it with a friend.”

Products, packaging, a website, logo and company name all followed. Kangovou, a French twist on kangaroo, references the sleek, European feel of the products and the ability of the products to nest together.

The founders launched the line, unknowingly, at one of the industry’s largest trade shows in late 2012.

“We really didn’t know what to expect,” said Brennan. “What was surprising to us was when you admit that you don’t know something, people are willing to help you.”

Help came in the form of positive and negative feedback, which the founders took to heart.
“The key was listening,” said Brennan, “not being so tied to our way of thinking that we were inflexible.”

Kangovou products are  for sale online and in more than 20 stores nationwide, six of them in North Carolina, but didn’t come to be without careful consideration from the founders.

“If we launch this company, how will this impact my own family?” questioned Brennan. “What will it add to my family and what will it make me sacrifice for my family?  

“I think we’re setting great examples for our children,” she continued. “They watch us multitask and multi-manage and prioritize our lives.”

“For me, it’s always been really important to show my kids that I’m not just a stay-at-home mom,” said Govindji. “I’m a person who is very creative and a risk taker.”

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