Rebirthing my (brand) identity

Ever since I left my desk job when pregnant, I have not had a socially-acceptable answer to “What do you do?”

Being a homemaker or “just” being a mom was not in the same league as being an engineer. After all, I was no longer contributing to putting a roof over our heads or food on our table.

A year after our daughter was born, I started being asked “When are you going back to work?” or “What’s next?” or “So, do you have any plans to do something now?” — all of those questions insinuated that raising a child was not worthy enough. That I needed to be more, do more.

And because she was a girl, there was that extra pressure of role modeling: giving her a leg up in breaking the glass ceiling, empowering her to be a breadwinner, ensuring that she sees me as an equal to her dad.

I tried.

The first painting I created back in 2017 using fluid acrylics

MansiMakes was born in 2017 as a result of close friends wanting to buy my functional art. They told me to build a website, share my creations on social media … surely others would want to place orders, too?

My marketing background came in handy, but I found myself deriving more satisfaction from the fundraisers I did for my kiddo’s preschool than the actual sales of custom products. Don’t get me wrong — it was validating that strangers wanted to spend their hard-earned money on my creations.

I made peanuts, though, compared to the six-figure salary I raked in pre-motherhood. One year my earnings didn’t even cover my materials expenses. Far from it. But I raised over $3,000 to support various organizations in need.

My daughter was seeing me put in the hours…she was helping me set up craft booths, assisting with staging of products, making labels, manning the cash register and participating in my entrepreneurial endeavor.

But every time we gave away magnets for free to passers by at a pop-up, or placed free art across town for locals — our hearts sang and our faces beamed. She felt the same joy I did in just sharing my creations instead of selling them.

I felt the same way when I created online courses last year, charging a nominal fee that basically allows me to pay for hosting services until 2022. I priced them to be accessible because, for me, making a profit was not important. What was paramount was enabling others to experience the joy that comes with creating uninhibitedly.

I’m, no doubt, in a privileged position where I don’t have to earn my keep. But I do want to feel validated as a contributing member of society — is having a steady paycheck the only way to feel like I belong? Am I a worthy role model for my daughter only if I do something that brings in some money but no joy? Should I continue to “try to make it” even when my heart says otherwise?

It feels disingenuous. It feels inauthentic. It feels wrong.

Maybe I don’t belong? Maybe I never have.

I’ve pondered over this for almost a year now. My self-worth has been tied for so long to “being a writer,” ” being a marketing professional,” “being a communications lead.” But I am not just those titles and roles. I am so much more.

I’d rather BE kind, BE gracious, BE caring, BE inclusive. I’d rather beam with pride when I say “I’m raising a well-rounded human being.” I’d rather respond to social pressures with a “No. Not for me!

I’ve been chasing a mirage. My self-worth doesn’t come from external sources, it comes from deep inside me. Social conditioning makes it hard to let go of preconceived notions and roles.

But I am trying again. This time from a place of self-trust and acceptance.

MansiMakes will now be a portal for sharing. For the most part I will share free tutorials, videos, how-tos and quick tips. There will be some premium content in the form of detailed videos, live sessions and 1:1 art retreats ONLY so I can continue paying for hosting services.

If I sell anything, it will be to support a cause. My goal is to have a zero net return.

It will be a year of enabling and empowering the artist within, regardless of age or (in)experience.

And I know it will feel good. It will feel satisfying. It will feel right.

Looking forward to a tremendous year of creative collaborations, meaningful art-ing, and gratifying returns.

Published by mansimakes

Hi there, I am Mansi, a self-taught artist based in Silicon Valley. I was a full-time communications professional for two decades, with a desk job and a six-figure salary until I decided to become a mom. Motherhood, as many will attest, can be extremely exhausting, especially in those first years. Art became my quiet place. It restored my sense of self. It gave me renewed energy. It helped me become a better mom. I was led down the path of creation by instinct and “discovered“ in early 2019 by a fellow kindred spirit at one of my art pop-ups who asked me to join her entrepreneurial venture. While I immersed myself full time in the role of CFO and co-founder of this women-led venture supporting local women makers, I missed experimenting with mixed-media. So, in 2021, I've decided to focus my energies full time in finessing my craft, producing more online tutorials and offering in-person art workshops for both adults and children. Thank you for joining me on this adventure as I experiment, learn and continue creating custom pieces of joy.

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Dot Ramsey-Patterson
Dot Ramsey-Patterson
8 months ago

Mansi, you have such a giving spirit. You’re sharing your God-given talents with the world. We are Blessed to have you on our lives. Best of luck in everything you do. Dot ❣️❤️

Sandhya Iyer
8 months ago

You are am amazing person and I see my soul sister in you. Follow your heart and you will always be happy!

Claudia B
Claudia B
8 months ago

Kudos to you for figuring it out! I’m in a similar position, except one year became 2 became 20 and now my kids are gone and so is the engineering career I thought I would eventually get back to. I’m still trying to figure out next steps. : (

Paloma
Paloma
8 months ago

It’s interesting that what people “value” now and what they “value” after we are gone. The value then becomes much more about how the person was in life and much more respect is given to kindness, caring, helping, blessing the lives of others. Less value is placed on the “titles.” This life is our journey, our learning, jour joy and heart break. It is about what we do with what we come to know —that is wisdom. Knowledge is what we know and wisdom is what we do with the knowledge learned and earned. You have deep and abiding love…for family…friends…people you help, serve and teach. You have great knowledge of many things and have already journeyed and proved yourself through titles and salary. You are expanding growth in other aspects of yourself now. You are an infinite teacher, a master teacher of wisdom, knowledge, journey…you are a creator of an adorable, well rounded daughter and a creator of inspired works that uplift, bringing thoughtful interactions and interpretations. To co-create and nature a human being is a miracle. To be a master teacher is a lifetime achievement. To deeply love and forgive is a major milestone that many never achieve no matter how hard they try. To respect Mother Earth and the rich tapestry of diverse cultures on our planet is something that gives back to us through many seasons and days. Mansi, you are all these things and more. You are still on your journey of discovery – so much more to learn and teach— so much grace❣️

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