We had the good fortune of connecting with Maya Modi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maya, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I’ve never been emotionally moved by finished works of art, instead, I care about processes and experiences. Even when I taught high school art, I was more concerned with the intention and work ethic of my students rather than the end result. So when I left teaching to start my business I quickly became dissatisfied selling reproductions of my paintings. I didn’t want to be a “fine artist.” I realized I would much rather involve clients in the creation of the art and my DIY Watercolor Kits allow me to do just that! I get so excited when someone that didn’t think they could draw a stick figure, paints a gorgeous cactus! My products were designed to give people a confidence boost in their creative abilities. I’ve always said, “if you want to throw your painting in the trash or bury it in your closet, then I didn’t do my job.” The most important factor in my success has been the way my DIY Watercolor Kits make people feel. My products instill joy and confidence in people which converts to frequent orders and new clients! I get a lot of messages saying “a friend of a friend told me about your kits” because when you’re excited about something- you want to tell everyone!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Most of my work has been directly inspired by animals and nature. I started out painting custom pet portraits and teaching local watercolor classes. I LOVE catering to women who need a creative detox from everyday stressors!! The thing is, the people that need this outlet the most, are the ones who can’t attend my workshops! One day, a few moms had to cancel their reservations to my workshop because they couldn’t get a sitter. Disappointed, they asked if I could just mail them all the materials… of course… I had no idea how to do that! Fast forward three months and I had figured out a simplistic format that allowed me to mail watercolor workshops all across the country! Launched in 2018, the DIY Watercolor Kit is a chic, modern, tool for painting at your own pace. Inside is everything I would teach in a beginner or intermediate watercolor workshop but packaged together in an easy, convenient, and affordable way. What really sets my work apart is that everything down to the paint is thoughtfully included. Honestly, I never thought I would be where I am today, but I let my journey evolve naturally. During the COVID-19 Crisis, the popularity of my DIY Watercolor Kits grew insurmountably to the extent I could barely keep up! I ran out of 6 months’ worth of supplies in 10 days which was an incredible challenge in itself. I very quickly had to come up with alternative materials in order to continue providing clients with art therapy. The biggest thing I’ve learned throughout my journey is to take everything one step at a time. I’ve joked with people that if I had actually gone to business school, I would be so overwhelmed, nothing would get accomplished! If I could challenge everyone that thinks they don’t have an artistic bone in their body to create something they are proud of- I’ll consider myself a successful woman.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Bishop Arts District has always been my favorite neighborhood- it got that perfect balance of hipster and trendy. Some of my favorite shops are there like We Are 1976 and Mosaic Makers Collective! Oh, and we can’t forget about Emporium Pies- its a must-have while you’re in Dallas! If my bestie were here- I would definitely highlight my favorite mom and pop shops like Jimmy’s Food Store for sandwiches and Waya Izakaya for gyoza! My current favorite dinner restaurant is Namo, but not before spending time at Klyde Warren Park or day drinking at one of Dallas’ many cute patio spots! Lastly- how could I forget one of the countries’ most recognizable skylines?! The best place to take in the view is the rooftop of Canvas (formerly Nylo Hotel.) Talk about a full weekend!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would not be successful today if it weren’t for the collaborative support of Etsy Dallas!! Each member of the community openly shares their expertise which allows dynamic growth. Together we empower each other to step up our games! I would highly recommend joining a “maker community” to anyone that is trying to strengthen their business!
Jessica Cernat Photography Abigail Lane Nelson