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Art Splash Academy of Fine Arts
Meenakshi started Art Splash Academy of Fine Arts in 2015. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Art Splash Academy of Fine Arts?
My paternal grandfather was my mentor in Indian music. He taught me Carnatic vocals when I was 4 years old. He was my inspiration. My maternal grandfather was a businessman who ran hotels, lodges, oil and rice mills, spares shops, etc. He too was my inspiration. My mom will always be an inspiration to me as she taught me righteousness and virtues.
Also, my school provided great exposure to dance and vocal, both being my passion. I had participated in various cultural competitions and events during school and got recognized and awarded by our Chief Minister and Governor at that time. I even performed in the International sports festival inauguration dance that happened in India during my grade 12. The thrill was the music was composed by our Oscar awardee AR Rahman, India's pride. I used to be actively participating in Lions club events, competitions, and Bookfair every year.
To start any business we need to have the investment and I definitely wanted to save for that big day. It took me years and I decided after my younger kid was born. I wanted to balance my work and family life better, without compromising both and also keep them growing.
I definitely wanted to be an entrepreneur and in the education field. That was a decision taken probably about 2006 when I struggled between regular office, travel to Singapore Malaysia, pan India and global implementation of about 5 applications at once and building team from scratch until the software was operationally successful and handed over and also training and support system built from scratch and independent to function in place. All this single-handedly done by me and later assisted by a support staff of 4 members. Especially when I had my mom suffering post-operative situations of brain cancer and me having a baby. I managed to work until my second baby in 2012. Then I wanted to start my own business.
Being a mother helped me understand my students’ needs, the parents’ expectations, and my work experience in understanding requirements (thanks to my ERP job where irrespective of the domain we grab the SRS) and customer management was an added advantage. To be honest, it’s an extended family, the bond we share with each of my customers.
Yes, there was more than one aha moment. The first was when my first customer Poornimaa joined us, such a fortunate angel. Then Purvaa our very first student who grabbed a grade 8 Trinity Certificate in Vocals that was an aha moment. Another aha moment was the first time we hit the news and my first article.
Every year we make sure all our students participate in our Annual concert and perform. Every such concert is in my golden moments. My stage performance of dance after a huge gap of 20 years was another aha moment. Last but not the least, Mr.Blaaze, Rapper well known for his work with AR Rahman and several other Musicians collaborated with us to take "Rhythm and Poetry" as a well-designed course for students passionate about creative writing and rapping.
This was and is different than other business ideas as it is not just the commercial mindset that could help. We need to absolutely understand the customer, their requirements, and ensure their passion eventually gets met. It’s a long term association and takes time. This is not like just grabbing a cup of falooda or just buying a branded cloth or getting a facial done. It’s more of managing each client each time at each session consistently delivering for a longer tenure. We need to keep up our words, honor our commitment, and make sure we meet their learning needs. We have to understand the customer including their interest, choice, and their time schedules to be flexible with them. That personal connection is the core.
Similarly, the connection with the mentors. Artists have to be encouraged and kept well. Only a happy mentor can meet up the learning needs. Their work involves a lot of repetitive cycles and we have to choose the right mentor who enjoys the work so much that it no longer becomes a work but a passion.
We have wonderful musicians around and am proud of my team. They have been with me in ebb and flow. Despite their talents, many faces struggle as they don't have the proper support to get a loan or start their own academy. Their revenue is not consistent. Only a handful really meets heights and luck does matter. I well understand this as my grandfather suffered struggles despite his abilities. I have long associations with my team of teachers and we have the trust in place.