JYXDI made the decision to drop out of university to focus on her art career, which is a courageous one considering the tremendous value that the Tamil community places on degrees as a marker of success. The decision didn't go well with her family, but it only made her work harder to improve her craft and business to become the success she is today.
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What made you start the JYXDI brand? And how did you come up with the name?
The reason for me to start JYXDI was because I wanted to create my own brand which involved my art and vision. JYXDI is basically my name altered a bit, When you replace X with O it becomes JYODI, which typically sounds like my name JYOTHEE. Also it made a perfect logo, X being the paintbrushes.
I feel like this is the “Golden Age of the Creator Economy” where it’s never been easier to be a creator and monetize as a creator. Would you say that this statement is accurate - has this been your experience?
This has definitely been the case for me as my social media brand and widespread adoption of e-commerce has helped me grow my business quickly. Instagram especially has been good for me because the artwork I post there has got me a lot of clients globally.
As a young, female Tamil entrepreneur - do you feel like you’ve experienced things that your fellow male entrepreneurs would not?
When it comes to painters, i’ve usually only come across male artists, so being a female artist- it was challenging at first and I had a lot of doubts about whether it would all work out. But I did what I usually do, believed in my craft and forged ahead to success.
You have some notable brands that were clients of yours that you’ve worked with including OVO and COACH. How did you land these clients?
OVO40 (Noah Shebib), who is Drake's producer contacted me on Instagram (via DM) and I had the wonderful opportunity to create a pair of shoes for his niece. I also gave him a painting for the studio. I did a collaboration with COACH in 2019, as it was Michael B. Jordan’s Naruto clothing line. I was flown out to New York to represent COACH at Comic-Con, where I also ended up creating artwork for Michael B. Jordan where he was a Naruto character. Afterwards, we ended up making a video at the COACH headquarters to promote the artwork.
You’re almost at 150K Instagram followers which is quite an accomplishment. How did you grow your account so quickly?
I consistently posted content (different artwork) on my account every day. There was no magic to it. People would regularly see my work and my process, which got them interested in ordering items from me.
How did your family feel about your decision to pursue your creative pursuits and building your business?
My parents were hesitant at first because they thought it was risky from a financial perspective, but I pushed forward to double down on my dreams to make my business a success. Eventually they came around after seeing how hard I worked and seeing my success.
Where do you see JYXDI in the next 3-5 years? Where do you see yourself in that same time period?
I see myself somewhere in one of the South Asian countries, painting spiritual artwork and teaching kids art. I am striving to be an individual who gives back to the community through my craft and enriching the lives of others.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business? How have you adapted?
I wouldn’t say that COVID-19 impacted my business as much as it has harmed other businesses. Essentially, It has been the same as before in terms of brand engagement. I'm usually indoors painting, thus it doesn’t make a difference from a creation perspective. However, I used to travel a lot before the pandemic and now I spend more time at home with my family which has been amazing.
Do you have any mentors that have helped you in the progression of your career? How does somebody find a mentor?
I did not have a mentor but looking back, it would have been nice to have one. Being an artist full-time is tough so having guidance along the way from someone with more experiences would have made the journey easier. Finding a mentor can be as simple as reaching out to the artist/ influencer you look up to and asking questions. It's never been easier to reach out to so many different people you would normally not have access to. One person saying "yes" to you could change your life.
Tell us about a major win that you’ve had so far that you’re proud of.
I am proud of myself for buying a house at the age of 23. I was so proud of this accomplishment given the fact that I was an immigrant coming from Sri Lanka. I’ve been able to help my family ever since I started the brand and it's been such a blessing.
What is a great business idea that you would be working on if you weren’t focused on your current ventures?
I would be working teaching kids spirituality (mediation & mindfulness) as it is easy to plant seeds in them at an early age.
What do you think you would tell 16-year-old Jyothee looking back?
Keep painting and focusing on your goals. Its all going to pay off!
How would you describe your dream life?
My dream life would be waking up and engaing in a craft that I love and am passionate about. If it's a passion of yours then it wouldn’t feel like work at all. You’re in a constant flow.
What is your favourite book(s) you’ve read recently and why?
My favorite book I’m currently reading is "The YUSA Guide to Balance", which is a book about balance on body, mind and soul. It taught me almost everything I need to know about spirituality.
What is a new belief, behaviour or habit that has most improved your life?
Waking up and writing morning affirmations, thus rewiring my subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is responsible for your thoughts, actions and eventually changes your whole life.
If you were given $1 billion, how would you allocate the money to change the world?
A lot of people die from poverty every day. I would put my efforts towards spreading wealth around the world as there is always abundance.
How connected are you to the Tamil community in Toronto? How would you describe the Tamil community in Toronto (or Canada) based on your experience?
I would say I am well connected with the Tamil community in Toronto, although 90% of my clients are from the USA. The Tamil community in Toronto is very strongly inter-connected, especially the the young entrepreneurs segment, which as been very useful for me.
What is your favourite Tamil food (meal or dessert)?
My favorite Tamil food is my mom’s crispy Ghee Dosa.
What is your favourite Tamil movie?
My favourite Tamil movie is Rajini’s BABA.
What does Tamil culture mean to you?
Being born and raised in Sri Lanka, Tamil culture has been a big part of my life. I think its really beautiful and the language itself is authentic.
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