We had a chat with the wonderful Roshni from Colors of Roshni, a South Asian creator and owner of an Etsy shop. Read below to learn what it’s like to run a small business during a global pandemic, the successes and challenges of running an Etsy shop, and more!
1. What inspired you to start illustrating? Tell us your story.
Ever since I was a child, I have always been creative. I loved drawing and making school projects. That translated through my young adult stage, but slowly lost it in the college and post-college years. A few years ago, I was having a lot of anxiety and after visiting a friend in LA who is a graphic designer, she was drawing digitally with a digital drawing application. Upon returning from that trip, I immediately bought a tablet and starting drawing. And I have never looked back.
2. Your travel account looks awesome! How did you get started with that?
I really love travelling, going on vacations with family and friends and experiencing new cultures, new places to explore, and endless amounts of cuisine. So, I wanted to create a space where I could showcase my photography of all the places I have visited, more like a visual portfolio. I started this before my art account and it has taken a backseat since then. But I have a lot of plans for it and it will be brought back to life soon!
I wanted to share my travel experiences with the world, offering my input and advice on what I have experienced and hope that helps others plan their trips to the same place. I love planning, so anything to help me plan my trips better I think would help others as well.
3. How has COVID-19 impacted your illustrating career?
This has been a tough year for everyone, a tiny bright spot in this has been my art. The pandemic has allowed me to explore my art more and connect with more individuals virtually. Even though the world had come to a standstill, the digital art space was thriving. I had so many requests from individuals who wants custom pieces to business and brands who needed a more strategic project. Being home, allowed me to gain back 3 hours of communicating a day which I invested into my art. This additional time has really allowed me to take on more business, clients, and personal projects. The pandemic has expanded my illustrating career and Colors of Roshni and I am forever more grateful.
4. How has your South Asian heritage played a part in your illustrations?
My South Asian heritage is truly what inspired the elevation of my art and my business. I was traveling to Atlanta for a family event and I created an American design for a baby shower card and got it printed online. My cousin saw the card and suggested that I start creating South Asian inspired cards because of the lack of representation in big box retailers. And that is how I first exposed myself to creating South Asian art. Since then, my art now more focuses on the cultural pieces around holidays, occasions, stigmas, etc. This is the stage of my art that is more educational to me.
If a holiday or tradition is coming up, I have a lot of questions of what it represents and have a lot of conversations about how we celebrate and why. Growing up, I was extremely disconnected from my culture. I was so afraid of being made fun of from the other kids that I separated myself a lot and I did myself a disservice by shutting that part of me off. I still participated in things here and there and more in my adulthood is when I was longing for that cultural aspect in my life. My art has allowed me to reconnect with my culture, appreciate what my parents have gone through, explore long-standing traditions and ultimately celebrate all of this through my art pieces.
5. What is one big success you’ve had during your career?
My art journey has brought me so much joy and with that I have experienced a lot of milestones. I don’t just have one big success, but many little successes. My clientele has expanded, I have met and worked with some AMAZING people, I have expanded my skillset through this process, and most importantly I have developed and created connections with all types of artist across the world and some have become great friends. I couldn’t have asked for anything more and am extremely fulfilled.
6. What is one challenge you’ve encountered, especially in regard to your Etsy shop, Colors of Roshni? How have you learned from that experience?
One major challenge is keeping up with the trends! The art space if very diverse but it requires you to constantly be pumping out content to stay relevant and that can be challenging when it takes hours to create one piece on top of a full-time job. As I become more confident with my work, I try harder to focus less on keeping up with trends. I want to continue creating work that resonates with me and my audience and I know that audience will be there whenever I am able to share it. Its not always easy to keep this frame of mind but it’s a work in progress.
7. What is your favorite part about running an Etsy shop? How do you hope to expand Colors of Roshni in the future?
My most favorite part about running a shop is seeing the orders come in. It makes me so happy when I get an order, that means someone wants my art or wants to gift it. I never intended this to be a business and now that it is I am extremely overjoyed with customers who buy my work because they relate to it just as much as I do. And repeat customers are my favorite, it just shows me that people appreciate the stories I am telling and that they want to display it in some way.