Asian Business and Organization Campaign: Nina Rachel

Written by: Hannah Beryl

1. Where did you get your inspiration to start this business?

The support from my husband and my family has always been a constant in my life that I'm immensely grateful for. My husband is the one who gave me that extra push and encouragement to start my own venture as he did believe that my skills could be what brought someone a lil joy. For me it was a way for me to help support my family financially and also be a role model to my little daughter. Not only do I want my daughter to learn the importance of being successful and following your passions but how important it is to give back the ones who are truly in need. Supporting and contributing to different child welfare organizations has been something close to my heart for a very long time, since my childhood. Every month, I pick a new organization to contribute towards, September and October were HelpKids India and Autism Canada. November's proceeds go to World Vision's program to helping exploited & sexually abused csexually abused children.

2. On your website, you have mentioned not only about your products but also empowerment and finding self. How did this idea come up? And if they weren’t codependent, why did you choose to combine them?

To me they are codependent. The ability to empower is within each of us. With empowerment of self comes the responsibility of empowering your fellow people and your community, we know this. But that can't be completely fulfilled unless you have found yourself. Knowing yourself, your weaknesses and strengths, your passion, what drives you most, motivates you- that is the stepping stone toward empowering yourself. Knowing yourself can be as simple as identifying your style and fashion sense or your special quirks. Identifying and expressing them is important. This is part of why I choose to support children in need, either by getting them back into school or keeping them in safe homes. Everyone deserves the chance to know and become their own person.

3. Why did you choose to sell decor and art?

By profession I'm an interior designer and I'm a self taught artist by passion. I've always been intrigued by fashion and I believe that's what led me to create the products I do. Self expression is an important step towards empowerment. I like to deal with it at a more grassroot level and help people find their personal styles. I do custom artwork, jewelry & decor for clients who want something more in line with their style and it's a process that brings me so much joy! Being a sustainable , ethical brand has been something I'm trying to focus more on too to at the moment

4. What was the biggest challenge starting up this business?

That's a tricky one to answer. I started planning this business early last year and I envisioned it to help artisan villages in South India and create opportunities for them while getting their kids back to schools and colleges. But the pandemic came along and things didnt pan out according to my plans. God had better plans for my family & I. I am so glad that I kept up the will to not give up entirely and continued to work with what I had. I knew if I found an excuse to stop now, I would probably always come up with one, not the example I want to set for my little one or for anyone I could possibly inspire to 'get up and go get' in the process. Also, I wanted to be able to give back as that was something that weighed my heart down. It just couldn't wait for any longer.

5. . What keeps you going whenever you feel like giving up?

Thankfully I haven't had that feeling yet. At the beginning of this journey I did promise myself that I'd give myself grace as and when needed. My priority is my family and my primary responsibility is to take care of my husband and baby. I wouldn't want it any other way. It is this flexibility and grace that has allowed this business to intertwine itself into my life so well. Yes, there are stressful and overwhelming days but it's important to draw perspective when things get too hard. Know what matters most to you.

6. To give advice to other young people who also want to start such businesses, what is the first thing they should know that you wish you knew before?

You don’t have to start big and professional. When I started I thought I needed a lot fancy gadgets n all the sustainable packaging to support my brand n its message but that made me go into a loss(by my own fault)

Just be genuine, do your best with your pork and use what you have if u can and save up for the 'big guns' later.

Also, ask others for help, whether it's a tiny doubt or something bigger. Always ask.

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