Helena is originally from Brazil, but has grown up living all over the world. Pre-pandemic, she was based in Dubai working at Endeavor a nonprofit organization that helps high-impact startups scale. She decided it was time for a change, and was planning to move to New York to help one of her portfolio startups expand to the US.
Before starting her new job, she went backpacking throughout Rajasthan with her best friend where she was introduced to hemp as a textile. As someone that's really passionate about environmental sustainability, the more she learned about the benefits of the plant the more she fell in love with hemp as a textile.
In Pushkar, she met Giri a guy who owned a small store of himalayan hemp products and he told her his story. He shared that he had been trying to empower women living in villages outside of Pushkar by employing them. She felt touched and bought 30 bags from him. She carried a duffle bag with the hemp bags throughout her backpacking trip.. all the way back to the US.
She never really planned on starting a business.. but then the pandemic hit. Her job was postponed and postponed and then the company she was supposed to work for decided to cancel their expansion plans. The job market seemed hopeless so she decided to sell the bags she had bought on Etsy. She quickly realized that there was demand for alternative, natural and ethical products like hemp!.. and that's when the idea of Pushaoo as a business was born.