With our Artisan Gifts & Food Marketplace just days away, our entrepreneurs have been hard at work preparing. One of the entrepreneurs featured in our marketplace is Nadia Janjua of Nadia J Art.
As a visual artist, Nadia’s passion is to beautify the world with her hands. This fascination led her to start her own business creating artwork which is inspired by her spiritual and emotional connection to faith.
Nadia will be showcasing a series of remarkable new products. Nadia was thoughtful in planning and preparing for this event and given us some insight into her process!
What has inspired your new creations for the marketplace?
Well, I love the art of the “every day object”, as I call it — the object that we see all the time in our homes, our workplaces, or even in what we keep inside our purses and bags. I believe art should be accessible and available to anyone and everyone, and that’s what really drives and inspires my retail art. This year at the Marketplace customers will see a whole range of products with colors and textures from my most recent painting series — all of which happen to be inspired by autumn and winter color palettes so timing couldn’t be more perfect!
How did you prepare for the EWI marketplace, what has been your process?
In preparing for this year’s Holiday Artisan Marketplace, my process initially began by thoroughly revisiting my retail art inventory and looking at it through the lens of which items will be appropriate for the target market. Since I have now participated in multiple EWI events since 2011, I’ve been able to gain better foresight into which types of products, and how much of each product I should have in stock for this event. Also, every booth event is an opportunity for me to introduce a new style, a new product, or a new technique, so it’s always exciting to improve or evolve my work and make even more sophisticated and beautiful products. Once I choose which are the best products to showcase and sell, I start production, keeping in mind my goal of having a good range of prices for various products — it’s important to me that people of any background be able to afford something from my booth. During production I keep track of all costs, labor and time to help me in finalizing the prices, and then the fun part begins of playing around with different booth set-ups in my Studio!
How has your preparation for this event challenged you, and how has it strengthened you and your business?
For this year’s Marketplace, I’ve challenged myself to bring only the best products forward, and to let go of some of my old inventory which hasn’t necessarily sold in the past. Something I’ve had to accept in being in the creative industries is the subjectivity of it all — sometimes you can love a painting or product of yours and get attached to the idea that it will sell so easily, only to find that it’s still sitting on your shelf and customers were in fact drawn to another painting which may not have been one of your personal favorites. I’ve learned that it’s important to respect and love your own work, but to be a bit detached with reasonable expectations on how it will do in the market. You can’t control how people will react to your work, but you can control the quality and effort you put into what you do, so I try to always give 200%. This has helped my business in the sense that it’s taught me how to value and price my own work. One of the greatest sources of under-pricing your work is that you don’t truly know your own value, and this is something I try to continuously work to improve Nadia J Art as a business.
You participated in EWI’s marketplace last year, what brought you back this year? Why are these types of events important to you?
EWI has always brought out some of the best crowds and that’s truly one of the main reasons I keep coming back. In truth, I feel I am equally a story-teller as I am a painter, and while not every venue provides you with the opportunity to engage with your clients and customers — EWI events truly do! It’s so important for me to feel connected to my customer base and be able to both share and learn from them. There are many events I’ve participated in where there is a mere exchange of pleasantries and no real depth of understanding regarding the work at hand, and those events are really not for me. It is more important for me personally and professionally to be involved with organizations and galleries who provide platforms for the exchange of ideas, and simply more genuine discussion. I’m grateful to be connected to a group like EWI which allows for just that!
What are you most excited about or looking forward to for this weekend?
I feel blessed that I’ve always been received very positively by the EWI market, but this year I’m even more excited to see how people will react and respond to some of the new products I have in my retail art line! I want everyone to take home a piece of Nadia J Art — even if it’s as small as a postcard, or as large as a painting. I can’t wait to help beautify the experience of holiday shopping for everyone who comes out this weekend!
We hope to see you this weekend Sunday, November 16th from 10:30am- 5:00pm at the Silver Spring Civic Center 1 Veterans Pl, Silver Spring MD 20910