SOPHIE SAJNANI

Founder of Taschen Bags and Bellevue Bites



How did you first become interested in STEM?

I took a summer website design class which was my first introduction to coding. I loved it because I could use both creativity and coding together to design my project. I started learning coding on my own from there. A good starting point for learning to code is code.org.



Is there a woman in STEM who inspires you?

A very inspiring woman is Karlie Kloss because she is not only talented in fashion/design (which I love) but also interested in the tech field. She broke the stigma that tech people aren't just a "male coder in a hoodie," but they can be passionate about other areas like fashion as well.

What was it like being a girl in FIRST Robotics (FRC)?

This was my first year on my high school's FIRST robotics team and I was in the systems subgroup. It's been an insightful opportunity because it's not something you can do at home. While with coding you just need a computer. Since electrical systems require wires and engineering, I'm grateful that my team provides great resources and opportunities for hands-on experience. I also enjoy the competitiveness and teamwork. It's cool to be part of the community and learn from each other.

Did you face any barriers in the process of launching Taschen Bags?

It was hard to balance launching Taschen Bags with school commitments like being in a play, extracurriculars, and a social life. I had to continuously refocus myself on my goals by staying up late working on it and turning down hangouts with friends. This year I qualified for DECA internationals for my business growth plan and hope to continue competing going forward. I'm planning to add more neutral bag colors and feature more women in entrepreneurship on our social media channels.

How can students make the most of their time in quarantine?

Quarantine is a great time to tap into things you don’t normally have the time to do. Find a hobby and go for it! For me, that has been painting and drawing.

What advice would you give to young people interested in entrepreneurship?

Don't think that your age is a barrier. It's getting past the idea that you're "only" 14 years old. It's cool that you're 14 years old and you get to learn a lot from it. You can build valuable connections and leadership skills. Go for it!



Check out another one of Sophie's amazing projects, Bellevue Bites!
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