I chose to feature Lakshmi from Studio Lakshmi for a few reasons:
- She revamped and relaunched her creative business.
- She has always been a big supporter of Blacksburg Belle, and I’ve truly enjoyed connecting with her.
- Her paintings inspire me.
Mini Interview: Lakshmi discusses reexamining her business, changing and relaunching her business, and where she gets inspiration.
1. You’ve recently reexamined your creative business and launched a shop filled with colorful paintings. What led to the reexamination of your business?
With my 1st creative venture, it was all trial and error. It was a huge learning curve. There were many reasons that caused me to rethink my creative business. But if I had to choose the main reason – it’s because I didn’t have a plan about what I wanted it to be & I didn’t think about creating a niche for myself. It took me a while to realize that I was a part of a very saturated market. What I was offering was already out there – lots of it!
I was not consistent with what I wanted to offer. It’s not possible to create something that will please everyone. It’s impossible to be the one stop shop for everything AND everyone. It’s very important to define your purpose and your target market. By trying to target everyone, you target no one. I learnt that the hard way.
I was heading for a burnout because my ideas didn’t seem to work. There were only two ways out of this – give it all up or starting all over again with fresh ideas. I chose the latter with the help of a consult with Mayi Carles.
2. What changes did you make?
When I decided that I would start all over again, the first decision I made was to do EVERYTHING differently than I did with the first venture. I took a clean break from Doodle Kreations. I kept drawing, sketching, tried my hand at sewing ( I don’t sew! ) , tried book binding and a variety of other things to keep my mind active and keep the creativity flowing. Then, to de-stress myself, I picked up my paintbrush, acrylic paints and canvas and started painting. I hadn’t painted in a while. It felt like the right thing to do.
I wanted to start with a new name – one with my name and one that gave it an identity. I think it helps when you pick a business name with which the customer can relate to the person behind the business. It adds a personal touch. With a name like Doodle Kreations, I don’t think it did anything for my identity.
I blogged while I ran Doodle Kreations. This time around, I got my own domain . I think it does a couple of things for anyone who is testing waters on Etsy. It gives my potential clients and others the confirmation that I am serious about what I am doing. Besides blogging, my own website gives me the option for expanding and offering more services in the future.
I decided on a big launch with the overhaul. I didn’t want to add items to my shop peacemeal like I always used to. I wanted to get people excited about what the big changes were going to be. I was active on social media during my break. I did tweet and converse with others on twitter about the fact that I was shaking things up a bit. I didn’t entirely giveaway that I was starting a whole new shop and starting all over again until the few days before I actually launched the shop.
I decided on a theme for the collection. Rather than having whole array of everything, I stuck to one theme – Nature. This was a mistake in the past. While I think it is good to try everything to find what works, I don’t believe I gave it enough time to work. I decided on colors that would work with the theme and the idea of having a fairly consistent collection.
I had a launch party! I emailed friends in the online world and gave them a sneak peek of my art the day before the launch. I requested them to spread the word to their friends, family and followers. I didn’t want to tweet on twitter by myself and annoyingly ask to be retweeted. I don’t find that to be a very personable way of connecting with anyone online.
I really wanted to form a connection with my online friends. I wanted to share my joy with them. These are the people who have been inspirations and companions for what would have been a solitary journey online.
Finally – something that has been talked about a lot – Photographs. I am not an expert on this subject. But, I worked very hard to get the photographs of the artwork right and attractive. I am still learning. But, having good photographs is key to get noticed. I kept the look simple, clean in a well lit spot with a decent camera.
3. Your paintings are beautiful. Where do you get the inspiration for your paintings?
Thank you! Would it be a cliché if I said – everything?!
I love color! I think that is apparent with my art. But I think the root lies in my culture. I am originally from India, where there are no rules when it comes to using color! We even have a festival that is dedicated to colors. Bold colors mixed with traditional motifs and materials, designs in our handicrafts, arts and fabric played a huge role in influencing my creativity. When you grow up in a culture where colorful sights and sounds surround you – it becomes an inherent part of who you are.
While I have moved away from India, and lived in two countries since then, I am now influenced by what is around me in my present state. So I kind of stand in a place which is a hybrid between the traditional influences of India and the modern influences of the western world.
Hands down, I am most inspired by nature. I take in every bit of the changing of the seasons – particularly Autumn/Fall. I fell in love with this season in Madison, Wisconsin where it is riot of colors. The shapes, colors & textures of leaves, flowers, trees and other bounties of nature are my muse.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit to my profession & creative geniuses that I worked with, for influencing my creativity. I am an architect by profession. So, the training I received as a student and my own professional experiences have influenced the way I think and my logical progression that I go through when I am inspired and work on paintings.