We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Gupta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rachel, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
The idea for Artsy Dinos was (ironically enough) borne out of a healthy dose of mom guilt!
One late night, I started thinking about how we had decorated for and celebrated Christmas more than Diwali (Hindu New Year), given that we’re not Christian and celebrate it purely in a secular way. It’s just so easy to get excited for and caught up in the festive spirit of Christmas, so I was determined to find activities to do with my then 3 year old son that would bring the same excitement for Diwali as we have for Christmas. Being a first generation American, I’ve already lost a lot of my parent’s Indian culture, and I know my kids will inevitably lose even more. But, I really wanted my son to be PROUD of where he came from and not grow up trying to hide his culture to “fit in” like I felt like I had to.
Because my son and I love to craft and create together, I started searching for fun craft activities for Diwali. While there were a lot of DIY ideas and books, there weren’t any nice craft kits out there that I could find. As a child, I LOVED doing “glass painting” and randomly decided to start looking up how to manufacture them myself. That same night (this was one of those 3-4 hour wee hours in the morning spiral that moms often go on!), I also started looking at what other cultures did, and noticed much of the same void. By the time I fell asleep, I was excited about creating crafts that taught kids to learn about other cultures and be proud of their own.
Two and a half years later, we’ve created products (including free printables) that teach kids about Diwali, Dia de los muertos, Chinese New Year, Eid and Ramadan, Judaism and are about to roll out diversity quotes in craft form! Plus, tons of content on our blog and social media about teaching anti-racism, kindness, diversity & inclusion. Lastly, as I do these with my son for fun, we share craft and STEAM tutorials for preschool to elementary students!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
At Artsy Dinos, we want to teach kids to embrace all kinds of diversity in the world. This goes beyond kindness – we want kids to be champions of diversity. To do this, they need confidence in the diversity within themselves as well as an appreciation and respect for the diversity in others. I do a little happy dance when customers tell me how much they appreciate the uniqueness of our crafts and how excited their kids are to do them!
Starting this business has been an amazing learning experience as I do most aspect of the business myself – Chief Everything right here! This has required LONG hours, irregular schedules and social sacrifices. However, this is currently a side business and while I do it mostly because I am passionate about our mission, I know true growth will require more investment. For now, I’ll continue to do it as long as I feel like I’m fulfilling our mission, even if on a small scale. But I do truly believe that we fill a unique gap in the market and have tons of product ideas that help parents have crucial conversations with their littles, while crafting, learning and having fun.
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?
I’m a native Houstonian and there are so many things to love about this city. I always say that we’re not an “obvious” city – there’s a ton to do here, you just have to find it! My favorites:
Museum of Fine Arts, the Menil Collection area and Houston Museum of Natural Science for museums
Tons of city parks that are amazing to walk around in and let the kiddos run through
Definitely getting shwarmas from Phonecia and eating them at Discovery Green in the evening
Love all the patio bars – especially ones that are kid friendly like Cottonwood or Axelrad
Too many yummy restaurants to name but Tex Mex and sushi would be on the itinerary as well
Visiting the random sculptures placed around the city (my favorites are the Tolerance sculptures along Buffalo Bayou Park)
Fun festivals like Bayou City Art Festival, Via Colori, Art Car Parade
Trip out to Galveston
Take in a show at the Alley, Broadway Across America – Houston or one of the many cute theaters we have in town
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to my little awesome Artsy Dino, my son. He is my inspiration, product tester and of course, his love of dinosaurs inspired our company’s name. He also is a good sport in participating in all the content that we put out – whether craft tutorials, thoughts on teaching about diversity or general activities for kids.
My husband also supports me unconditionally. As I do a lot of work for this at night, he is solely responsible for putting my son to bed, getting him ready in the morning, in addition to helping with packaging and shipping!
I also love all the influencers and fellow South Asian women business owners I’ve met through this process. It’s amazing to feel the passion of this community of entrepreneurs in various stages of their business cycles.
Headshot: Photos by Hershey