Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Shailja Singh: Shailjaz Art Factory was born right before the year of pandemic. I come from a family where everyone is good at arts but no-one was taking it up professionally.
So as a kid, art and craft was the first thing that I learnt and I dreamt of becoming an Artist.
My parents were very supportive and took me to various art classes and hobby classes. (My mother during early years kept me engaged by giving me tasks to make something out of waste and that really helped me grow as an artist.). They promoted me to participate in a lot of extra curricular activities and pushed me to compete at school and college level.
But due to higher education and corporate jobs it took a back seat before I actually understood that I left my passion behind. But in 2018 I quit my job and started exploring new art forms, art tools, new raw materials available in my field. I started learning by taking up various workshops and started making things which my friends and family liked. So I started gifting them to my closer ones.
But during pandemic when everything stood still we had nothing much to do, that's when my Bestie Major Purnima Tiwari, started making Mandalas and sharing them with me.
I couldn't resist the temptation to draw myself and started with whatever I had. That was the time when I started my IG page and got in touch with some real good artists and craftsmen who were doing excellent then.
I started practicing by watching their videos and making out of what was available. When people started admiring my work, my husband Mr. Abhishek Singh, pushed me to start my own small venture and supported me in all ways possible.
And since I was always very cautious about environment I began with theme of upcycling mostly everything and customising them for the needs of the people in pocket friendly ways.
Great Companies: What are the various services provided by Shailjaz Art Factory?
Shailja Singh: Shailjaz Art Factory is a place where you get variety, we refuse to stop at one idea and offer a variety of home utility products, home decor products and converting scrap to beautiful items.
People can send their old decorative products and get a complete new look for them.
We focus mostly on customisation as per the need of the customer. We make paintings of all sizes, we make beautiful home decoration products along with home utility products as per the budget and requirements of the customer.
We also focus on upcycling glass and plastic bottles which is a major waste problem for the environment to create something useful and for decoration purposes.
Great Companies: What makes Shailjaz Art Factory different from hundreds of other similar service providers?
Shailja Singh : We do a lot of upcycling! We upcycle old paintings done on canvases or boards, upcycling glass and plastic bottles and making home decor products out of it.
We try using discarded raw material from old products to make new ones.
We create new paintings over old ones. We use old raw material, clean them and use them in our new products in making, while trying to keep those emotions attached with the product for the customer.
We try to use old packaging boxes and sheets to reduce any further waste production. We try to reduce waste as much as possible and yet create bright and eye catching products.
Great Companies: What were the struggles and challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Shailja Singh: Starting after so many years was tough in many ways. Since we started Shailjaz Art Factory after a very long time so a lot of techniques were changed by then. Lot of new material was introduced in market which I had never used.
Lot of new artforms were also there which we never heard of. People started promoting themselves over Social media using videos and posts; etc
So during the initial stage, I had to unlearn a lot of things and learn lot so techniques of painting and crafting, I had to learn about newly launched crafting tools and methods to use them, I had to learn to use social media professionally and other applications to enhance pictures, the videos and learnt ways of promoting them. It was difficult initially but as we kept on going, the road became smoother.
Our biggest challenge once we started was to understand what the customer would like to buy and it is an everyday challenge for every small business.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Shailjaz Art Factory?
Shailja Singh: We have always kept on exploring new ideas to keep growing and bringing something new everytime for our customers and admirers.
We plan on becoming a brand known globally and employing a whole bunch of art enthusiasts to work together and specially making women empowered by ways of making them skilled and self dependent. We wish to work with artists on a larger platform.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Advice for the budding aspirants would be to -
1. Keep learning - Unlearn old ways and learn new things everyday, from everywhere and everybody. You learn things from the most unexpected places and people .
2. Take challenges - take challenges for yourself, a little positive pressure hellos you think and grow beyond your imagination.
3. Ask Questions - Don't fear to ask questions if you don't know something. Asking questions gives you an insight in your field of work.
4. Register yourself for workshops - workshops helps you learn new tools and techniques. You get to meet like minded people who inspire and help you grow.