Since winning the GetSetUp Startup Accelerator, Neeta has expanded her already-established porcelain painting business, Aria Arts. She's gained social media followers and new customers. And she has exciting plans for growing her product line in the next year.
Making an investment in her business
The prize money she won has given her business a boost. She's gained new social media followers and customers. And she has exciting plans to expand her business even further with new product lines.
"I'm still using the prize money. I want to be economical with it and spend it in the best way possible. I'm using the money mostly to participate in exhibitions so that people know about my art. Exhibitions are good for word of mouth."
Some of her paintings require special brushes and paints, so she's spent some of her money getting these essential tools for her craft.
"In Portugal, there is an artist called Filipe Pereira. He has the best brushes, which I can't get here in India. In porcelain painting, the paint is not ready-made. I get a powder, and we mix it with a medium. It's basically like an oil, and the paint and medium from Portugal are the best. To gain a better respect for my art, these are the things I really need.”
Progress and goals for the future
Neeta makes her biggest sales at art shows during festival times when she typically sells all the pieces she exhibits.
In the past six months since the Accelerator program, her social media accounts have grown, gaining 200 additional followers on Facebook and nearly doubling the number of followers on Instagram.
Neeta has achieved several goals for her business after the Accelerator program. The main goal was to participate in more exhibitions. She's been in three this year, which is more than she's ever done. She's also begun conducting workshops and seminars, with more on the way.
"Seven to eight porcelain painters are getting together in December for a three-day exhibition at the Aakar Art Gallery. The first one we did together was in 2017, with plans to gather every two years. But because of the pandemic, this is the first we've had since then. I like the show because you naturally exchange ideas with everybody, and you learn a lot from them."
Another goal is to have a website that is specifically suited for e-commerce. Neeta has hired a web developer and expects her site to go live in December. On the new site, she'll sell her artwork and have a link where people can register for her painting classes.
She enjoyed the Accelerator classes on digital media, especially the ones taught by Guide Raju.
"He told us all in detail how to use social media accounts like Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp for business purposes. And we learned to use Canva to make graphics for our social media accounts."
Once her website is live, she wants to use her new marketing skills to increase her social media efforts and by boosting her posts, and she'd like to explore Google Ads.
Neeta enjoys sharing her love of art with others, and she'd like to teach more painting classes. She has a seminar scheduled in January and is busy working on the logistics around it.
Finally, she plans to add decorative furniture to her list of products, including chair backs, table tops, mirror frames, and cupboards and hopes to partner with interior designers.
Advice for other active agers
Given her success, Neeta is a firm believer in following your passion no matter your age. Her advice for active agers thinking of starting their own business,
"I always say age is just a number. If you have the determination and the passion you can do it."
Read more about the Startup Accelerator program and explore GetSetUp business classes. Maybe you'll be inspired to start your own business!