Despite All The Uncertainty That The Pandemic Brought With It, Anusha Stephen Says She Finds Herself More Motivated Than Ever To Keep Going And To Take The Talking Canvas To More People…
When Anusha Stephen returned from Singapore in 2013, the urge to do something with art to help the wider community was always on her mind. Four years later, the idea for The Talking Canvas was set up, and in 2018, she cut the ribbons on what she believes is a blessing disguised as a business.
The Talking Canvas runs workshops for underprivileged kids, give them art supplies to encourage them to showcase their creativity, some of which are later adapted for printing on t-shirts. Their ranges of brightly coloured tees are designed for and from kids two-year-old to 14-year-olds.
“The Talking Canvas is about providing a platform for kids to create magic. It gives us a lot of happiness and satisfaction when we see our customers react to our products. Their comments or reviews about the designs, concept and quality encourages us to constantly innovate. But what tops all of that is the joy on a child’s face when their drawing is featured on our products. We’re lucky to be able to receive some adorable audio and video messages from kids thanking us for what we do. It makes me teary-eyed every time,” says Anusha.
With the pandemic bringing things to halt, Anusha’s warehouse has been rather full – not a happy sign for any business owner. But her love for craft keeps her going. “When you’re doing something that you are passionate about, you want to get out of bed and get cracking your list. We can’t let a bad situation get to us. Though, I must admit the lockdown period was quite depressing for me to begin with. Everything we worked on came to a standstill and there was so much uncertainty. It was sad to see neighbours and friends losing jobs and shopkeepers and push-cart vendors around us looking desperate.”
Before the pandemic, Anusha says her business was looking up. The summer vacations had a few big orders on the horizon and the tiny warehouse outside her home was to have a space for itself. “We lost ourselves a couple of purchase orders from big retailers which set us back, but I decided to use the opportunity to fix the business model. I got down to fixing my website issues and started spending on advertising even when couriers were not delivering. When the unlock phase started in May, we already had orders to be shipped out. We also rolled out a doodle course for kids which was well received by parents and kids.”
Despite doing something that is a passion, Anusha says that carrying a business forward brings with it a certain level of responsibility, one she refuses to take for granted. “I’m friends with lot of business owners and I know that a lot of them are very passionate about what they do. I think most people who are into business feel the pride in solving a problem or offering a solution, which then puts a smile on people’s faces. I love what I do and every day is different with a new set of challenges to tackle”
And it isn’t just about putting art on canvas. Over the years, The Talking Canvas has used a percentage of their profits towards uplifting the underprivileged section of society. It is something that Anusha says makes her happiest. “We give back a part of our profits to work with underprivileged kids. We had featured one of the kids’ drawing from our give back program and he was so happy to see it! He told us he wasn’t going to wear it and that he was going to keep it below his pillow or safely out of the reach of his older brother. It was so cute and adorable. Things like these keep us going.”
And while the BFC connection is not lost on us, Anusha and her husband being regulars in the West Block and even on away trips, she believes she’s made friends within the club’s fanbase that have helped her immensely.
“When I started The Talking Canvas, I took custom requests and the West Block Blues gave me one of my first big orders. It felt really good to design and execute a polo that many in the West Block sport even today. I’ve made some awesome friends and built some great connections through BFC. In fact, club Media Manager Kunaal Majgaonkar has mentored me on social media marketing and the owner, Parth Jindal helped me connect with his Paint division to help with some queries that I had. To sum it up, BFC has given me friends, a common love I share with my husband and some business too!”
With the Blues’ Back On Our Feet campaign looking to help small businesses across the city come back to life, Anusha believes it is just one more in a long list of things that the club has done to endear itself to the city.
“This campaign is one of the best things BFC has done and everyone knows the number of good things this club has done for this city. When I saw the launch video, I felt humbled and proud to be recognised along with other local small businesses. What’s not to love about BFC? I have immense love and regard for the club. My husband, Ashwin and I are huge fans and we never miss a game. My husband never misses away games too. BFC is not just about football, it is bigger than the sport and that’s what I love most about this club.”
Anusha believes that a combined effort from the big and the small businesses is what will save our economy from complete collapse in what have been tough times. “I hope big corporates would use their reach to help the smaller ones with visibility. We don’t need charity. We just need to reach the right audience because once people see our products and their quality, I’m confident they will buy from us and that we can get back on our feet faster.”
To shop for their wide range of merchandise, log on to www.thetalkingcanvas.com. Use the coupon code BFCWBB15 to avail a limited period discount!