Undercover CIA Agent Turns Businesswoman, Earning Millions 

(NewsGlobal.com)- Emily Hikade did not intend to head up a thriving new business. Things simply kept piling up after a near-death encounter. 

It’s not unusual for people to change careers or start again. Many people experience them because they have become bored or uninspired by their work. A near-disastrous trip over the Indian Ocean was a watershed point in Emily Hikade’s life.  

Hikade’s position as a case officer for the CIA required her to move her family to nine different locations across three continents, and she often worried about their safety.  

Hikade’s jet began to drop as she flew over the Indian Ocean to meet with a member of a terrorist organization. The plane started to spin erratically, heading into the water. At the time, she was a mother of three little boys. 

She said she could remember hearing “people screaming” after the lights went out. She spoke of her ordeal on Inc.’s “What I Know” podcast.  

She said her youngest son was just a year old, and she also had two older sons at home. They were so real to her in her mind’s eye, and she felt an ‘overwhelming sadness thinking about how they would have to grow up without a mother.’ 

Although it may seem like there’s never a good moment to launch a startup, Hikade figured, “Well, this is as good a time as any,” as the aircraft stabilized. 

Hikade established her luxury sleepwear business, Petite Plume, in 2015 while living and working in East Africa. In the mornings, she went out to look at factories, and in the afternoons and nights, she dealt with customer support calls and coordinated with distribution locations in the United States.  

Petite Plume, which first sold cotton-blend pajamas for kids on Shopify before branching out into wholesale and adult sizes, had its first official launch later that year. 

The Chicago-based label is now carried by high-end retailers like Nordstrom, Maisonette, and Neiman Marcus and sold on the label’s website. In 2022, annual income surpassed $10 million without any outside investment.