“I was a kid who loved art; I loved experimenting with new forms and trying out different DIY stuff. And growing up in a family which took matters of sustainability quite seriously, we were meticulous followers of waste segregation practices. One such day, it so happened that our usual paper wala stopped collecting our glass bottles since he couldn’t make much out of it. The glass bottles started accumulating and I wanted to give them a new lease of life for repurposing and eventually started painting on them; here I guess, is where my journey with art on surfaces began!
My life till my kid was pretty humdrum – I did my electrical engineering despite having secured a seat for Viscom, left to one of the top B schools in India to complete my masters and got into an amazing job as an HR professional in one of the top companies in India.
And it went without saying that in the midst of my career chase, my love for art had to take a back seat! Probably the idea of going back to it was always there with me but a particular incident from my life acted as the tipping point for me to take a blind leap of faith fearlessly.
As couples who loved the water, me and my husband were training in open water scuba diving in the mid-sea of the Andamans. It would have been the third day of our classes when in the middle of our session a school of jellyfish started approaching us! As someone who has never witnessed something as magnificent and terrifying as a school of million jellyfish, I was scared out of my wits and in that instant, I was convinced that that was probably my last day!
This was probably one of the most powerful moments in my life because in that terrifying instant when I was stuck so helplessly with several jellyfishes stinging my legs, a thousand thoughts raced through my mind; things I wish I had done in this lifetime and art was on top of it all! This incident stuck with me and several years later, it would be the one thing that pushed me to do what I loved the most – art.
In the midst of a flourishing career, I started to take time out for myself and started getting back to painting and sketching. It was during this phase that I tested my idea of doing art full time and divulged into different forms to better understand the market and the trends.
At the end of two years, when I was convinced, I quit my job to pursue my passion full time. And after a lot of learning and unlearning, I eventually started my own company – The Colour Company in the year 2018. What initially started as a handmade gift and decor startup eventually spread into teaching – when I was diagnosed with a slipped disk.
I was advised to take a break from creating art since it would again worsen the situation. Here, I was once again thrown into a crossroad situation but this time, the answer was evident. I wanted to couple my love for teaching with art! Hence began the workshops and the decoupage series became an instant hit with all my students. I must have taught more than 1200 students (Adults & kids) over the span of a year and a half and few of them became full-timers at my company eventually.
This brought me a lot of queries on starting an art business full time and I started to help people with the little knowledge I had accumulated over time. Slowly and steadily, my credibility grew and I launched my coaching business for solopreneurs and it has been a roaring success.
The road here was not at all an easy path! First with financial stability since, as a growing artprenuer, it had to take a huge pay cut from my professional job! And it was even harder to fight off the prejudice of everyone who couldn’t grapple with the fact that I resigned from a well-paying job to make art. I could see how being a creator had little to no value in India and finding the acceptance for this has been a long but a worthy struggle.
But for what it’s worth, every little curveball, every crossroad, every change only brought with it a whole hoard of opportunities; paths I didn’t even know existed until the time I went looking for it! I wouldn’t have started my business if I didn’t know I had a market for it and even in all it’s quirks and falls, if I had to redo it all again, I would choose art over and over again.”
#womenentrepreneurs #art #journey #inspire #motivation #support #success #artist #madras #humansofmadras