Published: 28th December 2020
This Bengaluru brand turns quirky ideas of kids into trendy T-shirts
The Talking Canvas has collaborated with over 100 kids to use their designs on good quality cotton and turn them into T-shirts that the kids would love to flaunt. This is how they get it all done
A canvas, for an imaginative child, could be anything. Walls, tables, their own skin or sometimes, even the conventional paper. So why not T-shirts? The Talking Canvas has become the talk of the town by ensuring that the imagination of children is not limited to paper. Started by Anusha Stephen, who was joined by her sister Gisha Stephen later, this kidswear brand is truly for the kids and by the kids. It was started in April 2019, has weathered the pandemic and all the doom that it brought with it and now, we hear that they are doing 4x the sales they were doing pre-COVID. So we had to quiz Anusha about how she braved the tide.
Let’s get creative
As a child, Anusha was full of creative and wacky ideas. Weighing scales out of coconut shells just one of the things she made. "I felt like the joy of creating things, that I had enjoyed immensely as a kid, was lacking and that's what I wanted to bring back," says the entrepreneur who also took up the Women Startup Programme from IIM Bangalore to this end. And this move helped her develop the idea of The Talking Canvas to a great end.
Anusha and Gisha | (Pic: The Talking Canvas)
Do you want to see your own design on T-shirts too? All you need to do is submit your art by going to the Design Lab tab on their website and you are good to go. Or follow them on social media, they give prompts every now and then for their upcoming collections. In fact for their Christmas collection, which was launched on November 30, they gave prompts in August. Once the design is submitted, The Talking Canvas takes care of everything else. And even if your design comes close to being selected, but for some reason doesn't, don't lose heart, they'll give you a shot out via their social media pages.
"Recently, we received a contribution from a four-year-old. She drew a family of stick figures and called it 'Beary Cute Family'. You might think it's just stick figures, but when you look at the design, you'll notice how original and different it really is. So it's not so much about art, it's all about originality and character," says the 37-year-old. What's more? Ten per cent of every product sold goes to the underprivileged children. Though this has been on hold since the pandemic, they hope to start this off again as soon as sales picks up.
Kids with their painted T-shirts on | (Pic: The Talking Canvas)
Talking more about the prompts, take for example Shapes Are Cool programme. Kids are asked to pick shapes from their surroundings, like a triangular pizza or a circular sun and give it character. "We try to nudge kids in the direction that would suit T-shirts. Designs like landscapes are found in abundance and children must draw them, but it is not easy to commercialise it. That's why we give visual and imaginative clues that they can use to design on paper and then we try to work the designs out on the T-shirts," she explains.
During the lockdown, to ensure that the creative juices of children remained in full flow, they launched new DIY art kits. These kits allow kids to personalise their own T-shirts and so on. Their kits are available on their own website, Amazon and Hopscotch too. In-store, they are available in Toys“R”Us. They are going to launch more kits which will include coaster painting, mini canvas painting, assorted magnets and many more. "The idea of kits is so that they are able to get the touch and feel of fabric, materials and textures," explains Anusha, who pursued her PG Diploma in Human Resources from St Joseph's College of Business Administration, Bengaluru.
Though bootstrapped, The Talking Canvas has collaborated with over 100 kids between four to 13 and sold over 10,000 T-shirts. Just last month, they fulfilled their first international order to the US and the UAE. "Our designs are clearly different from what's available in the market right now," asserts Anusha and concludes.
For more on them, check out thetalkingcanvas.com