Today we’d like to introduce you to Vaishali Bellad.
Vaishali, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Art has always been an integral part of my life. During my school days, art was always my favorite subject. My family encouraged me in pursuing arts, and I took additional courses on painting and embroidery. My career started with a non-profit organization called Swaimsidha, where I taught handicrafts and art. We were able to empower economically challenged women to make their own living through arts.
I continued to spend countless hours in both learning and creating new art. During the holidays my mom would make henna paste, and instead of using cone she would use a toothpick to pick up henna and make designs on our hands. This is how I was initially exposed to the art. From then on, every summer vacation I learned something new and began to grow in this endless field with creativity.
During one of the summer vacations, a mehndi (henna) design specialist visited our town. My aunts took these classes and brought home the mehndi cones used to draw and practice their newly learned designs. I picked up from there, and with lots of learning and practice, I was recognized for mehndi design in and around my town. Post marriage I moved to the United States and established here.
My first henna work in the United States was at a small fair in a countryside town. It was very impromptu: we had no booth, no reserved place, just ourselves. We just showed up with a couple of henna cones and small coffee table. I do remember the first customer, in fact, many of them. It kicked off very well and sparked something that would grow to be a lifelong applied interest. It was then when I got tremendous encouragement and the motivation to start a new beginning in my career.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I came to the United States in 2001 on a spouse visa. Since I did not have a work permit then, I used to volunteer to teach art to the neighborhood kids. In those initial days were when I was primarily a homemaker with my young children. I worked at Michaels as an art instructor, helping me transition my arts skills to contemporary art.
I then gradually participated in international festivals; both are exhibiting my artwork and doing henna designs. I have dreamt of running my own company from a young age. It was not easy to balance the time between my work and my family as a solo entrepreneur, however, I kept working to get it.
Along with practicing my art, I had to learn everything about business – from marketing to payment processing – to customer service. It was a great learning experience, and I have been fortunate to meet some incredible people along the way.
Looking back, I am thankful for the tremendous support of my family: my daughters helping me out in the art classes, my husband pitching in to help at a moment’s notice, late to missed dinners, it was a unified effort that we all contributed in and took part of. The support of an incredible woman lead Indian community, and my neighbors helped me grow and spread my horizons furthermore.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the ArtzAppeal story. Tell us more about the business.
In 2008, I started ArtzAppeal. As the name suggests, it is about the arts and its appeal to me; hence, Artzappeal. We teach art classes in drawing, painting, crafts, and henna. Our students have been recognized any many events at all levels.
I also specialize in traditional Indian, Arabic, and bridal henna designs. Our henna services reach to weddings, baby showers, festivals, corporate events, birthday parties, bat mitzvahs, quinceaneras. . . And every day we are growing that list even more. We have also applied henna to some celebrities which were a very exciting experience. I have also enjoyed being able to meet customers from different ages and ethnicities who all share my passion for henna art.
Additionally, we have been to graduations, school and college events, and family celebrations. ArtzAppeal is an active participant in many non-profit organizations – Soka International Festival, Relay for Life, National Charity League, RVMAC Memorial Art, Indian Culture Celebrations, to name a few. We have also participated in fundraising events across many schools in southern California.
I still continue to draw and paint and learn more during my free time. Many ArtzAppeal students have won numerous awards at a number of competitions. Also, the reviews we have received for Henna designs have been five stars. I feel extremely proud about this accomplishment. And shall continue to do anything that takes to keep up with this achievement. When I do henna for clients, I always got lots and lots of compliments, that gives me great satisfaction and fulfillment.
What sets me apart from others is my passion and dedication to my work. I am at the events personally and with my full heart. When with my art classes, working with children all the time helps bring out the greatest imaginative skills and creativity, which is the best thing as an artist.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck has played a big role in my life and this business. Being fortunate and blessed to have met my husband, working with my kids, and everyone included has motivated me and given me a supporting hand as to where I am right now. My foundation values that I run ArtzAppeal on have also been a reminder of what I do and why I do it. Being true to myself and my clients is what makes me feel the most important for my success.
As someone once said, is very nice to be important, but it is much more important to be nice. Being respectful and polite to your customer is a foremost quality. Listen to your customer and do not force your ideas. You can suggest something but listen first. The choice of words you use when dealing with seniors, adults, and kids. Liberate the creativity in you and keep exploring.
- Website: www.artzappeal.com
- Phone: (949)-293-6284
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Artzappeal
- Facebook: Artzappeal
- Yelp: Artzappeal