As a child, Aarthi Sivaramakrishnan, the founder of The Colour Company, India, dreamed of owning an arts-shop someday. Of course, life happened, Aarthi went on to get a business degree from a reputed institution in India and that art shop became a forgotten fantasy. She has held many roles of responsibility with various corporate houses, across the country, for 8 long years. Art found her again when Aarthi became a mom. She started making DIY art pieces for her little one – from paper cut-outs to stuffed toys. The passion got momentum that eventually snow-balled into the launch of her entrepreneurial venture in 2016. Blank Slate Chronicles had the pleasure of a conversation with the artist and founder of The Colour Company, India – Aarthi Sivaramakrishnan
The Fortunate Upcycle
While Aarthi never got a formal training in arts, her tryst with colours remained a constant in her life. At one point, she became interested in upcycling old and worn out everyday items.
“I started off by painting glass bottles for friends who had very specific requests about what they wanted on it”, recalled Aarthi.
It was obvious, shortly, that her passion had a potential of commercialization.
“Before I knew it, I was swamped with orders. That’s when I knew that this presented me with the opportunity to do things that I loved – art and business.”
The Butterflies in the Tummy
Aarthi remembers that there were concerns and hesitations, at the start line.
“Having had no professional training in arts, several people warned me of the perils of pursuing a career in the creative space. From “you will earn a pittance” to “painting is a good thing for a woman to do – you can take care of your daughter” (not sure how the two are related) – I’ve heard it all.”
Some even expressed concern about deviating from her successful corporate career, with a ‘ticking bank balance’. She heard cynics say that she is wasting her XLRI degree on a fanciful venture – a suggestion that is fraught with as little understanding of a business degree, as it is of arts.
But, Aarthi fought the doubts with courage and patience.
She reasons, “What good is a fancy education if it cannot enable what your heart really desires, I say? The knowledge that I could generate and manage my own income and possible provide employment to several others motivated me to take the leap.”
So, she took the leap of faith and formally started up in 2016.
About ‘The Colour Company’
The Colour Company has the vision to make art accessible and allow it to seep into our lives.
“Art can be incorporated into seemingly mundane, everyday objects – a storage space, a piece of furniture, a wall, a phone case, a pen, a notebook, a water bottle. The possibilities are endless. What’s more, it can be customized – to colours that you like, with words that motivate you, with motifs that depict your style. And, it doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket :)”
Her products are all hand-made and customized for an extra-special feel of belonging. Elegant book covers, adorable trinket boxes, smart belts, witty posters, dreamy trays and stunning décor pieces – The Colour Company has it all. Her creations would transport you instantly to a magical world. The Colour Company is like a little magic shop in a fantasy world.
“I started as an experiment to see how my hobby would do commercially. Eventually, I broke even around 6 months after I began The Colour Company. What I do today is profitable and fulfilling”, muses Aarthi.
Today, Aarthi delivers custom-made products to individuals, as well as corporates. She is receiving very warm feedback for her artsy, yet practical, gift products.
The Pillars of Support
Aarthi found her biggest support system in her friends, who not only motivated her to go the length, but also keep her going every day.
Her strongest motivation has been her parents. “My father became an entrepreneur at an age when most people would retire and hang up their boots. His energy is infectious and he is my role model.”
Aarthi has also found a business advisor in her husband, Kailash. “Running my passion like a business has been the toughest thing to do, for me. I get very excited and carried away by the prospect of creating anything beautiful. But, the husband (also my harshest critic) promptly brings me back to reality.”
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