What are you wearing right now? Do you know who made it? Do you know where it came from? Rupa Singh asks these questions and more when she is curating brands and goods that are being sold in her super chic vintage Airstream trailer and online. Rupa was an architect for 8 years and you can see how her ability to shape and impact space and design is still present in her business Love This. She now has two daughters who are 5 and 3 and they play an integral part of her creative process. She encourages parents to embrace being creative with their children and with what they have around them. Making and doing may look different, but to Rupa it is important to continue to find that outlet. Read below about her journey to start her own business, how her daughters fuel her creative spirit, and how she believes creativity lives all around us.
Empowered by choice.
Love This is a mobile boutique out of a vintage Airstream Trailer inspiring consumers to make ethical shopping choices. Curators of goods that do good. We highlight brands that place equal value in the design of their products as they do their social, environmental, + economic impact. Our handmade collection includes apparel, jewelry, personal accessories, shoes, paper goods and home decor that empower and support others.
The biz got started because I felt empowered with the idea that being thoughtful with our consumption gives us enormous power to do good and change things for the better. I started to have a deeper connection to the things I own - beyond just the actual item. I wanted to know who made it, where it was made, under what conditions it was made, etc. I wanted to know that when I bought something it would make a positive impact not a negative one. It hurt me to know that I was harming someone/something because of my inability or my ignorance to know anything more about that item other than it benefited me. There are so many issues in this world we are facing from basic human rights to the destruction of our environment. Our choices matter, they have consequences and I wanted to have a vehicle to advocate for this while letting people have a visual of products that did good and made a positive impact.
Ten Thousand Inspirations.
I collaborate with so many local RVA business’ and entrepreneurs. We have a strong entrepreneur movement in Richmond as well as a great boss babe group that is so supportive and willing to give give give!
Becoming a mom totally changed my creative spirit. It redirected, challenged and simplified it. Before kids, I had so much more time to do and explore things I wanted to make - sew, book bind, letterpress, knit! Doing creative sprints, documenting work, making handmade cards for all occasions...etc. It was time to spend with yourself. With the birth of my two girls, it died. There was absolutely no time to spend on myself and really with the time I had, was I gonna take a shower or sew a zipper??? Shower, please!
With that being said, I started to live my creativity through and for my kids. I’ve have two daughters who are 5 and 3. We fill our days with making things from what we have around us. It wasn’t a decision I made, it came out of the fact that I cannot stand waste and with kids stuff and biz inventory, there is so much of it! Every cardboard box, bubble wrap, paper packaging was turned into houses, bandages for doctor play and scrap paper for large paintings. Pieces of plastic that held a toy in its packaging, paper straws with cool designs, little bags that show up everywhere were turned into ships with sails or 3-dimensional paintings or paint brushes! This is such an innate part of our household that both my daughters will never throw anything away. They see the potential in it and say “let's use it for art” and go put it in their art bin. I used to look outward to find my creativity, and now I am stirring it up in my girls and it fuels me to see it in them. Sewing, bookbinding, letterpress, knitting are still in my life disguised as glue, tape, markers and crayons until I can transform them when my gals get older. Creative sprints, documenting work and making handmade cards are still in my life, it’s just through my littles I get to do them.
My 5 year old, before starting Kindergarten this school year, would help me so much that I miss her extra little hands and eyes! She’d help me price products, separate inventory, count inventory, stamp bags and tissue and pack. Because she’s at school, when she comes to an event and see’s the shop set-up, she walks around saying “I’ve never seen that before”! When she plays shop, she says “everything in my shop is handmade and people get paid good money to make it!” When I tell her she’s got good design thinking and that she can maybe be an architect like her daddy she says, “I wanna work at Love This”! My 3 year old is just starting to help out and she gets excited, but her excitement most of the time ends with building towers and car washes out the boxes and packaging and complaining about when we will be done.
It's all creative.
You can get creative in just about any situation. I feel like it’s not creative = artistic. Cooking, coding, gardening, building a bookshelf, organizing your dresser drawer, it’s all creative. Change your mindset and just go for it.
Find the thing you love to do and get your kids involved! I feel like a lot of times there is this separation with kids things and adult things and when you mix it up it’s where you can find gems. If you love cooking, get your kids to do it with you, yeah it takes longer, it’s messier and you’ll maybe lose your mind a bit the first time but, you will find a creative way to get them to do it with you so you won’t lose it. They might just not be into it and that’s fine. Let them know it’s important to you and let the TV babysit for an hour and you go to town.
Favorite things to help you get in a creative space.
One day all on your own...
I hate being by myself. I’d want to spend it with good friends - eating, drinking, laughing, sharing and connecting.
Once a creative, always one.
I went to school for architecture and I practiced for about 8 years. Now I may not be doing architecture, but I use all my designs skills in my business. From all my marketing materials to setting up the shop an each event. Space, color, texture all matter to me in each decision I make. Architecture was such such an eye opener for me in school, because it was never the business of architecture but the poetry and creativity of it. If you stray from what you thought you were going to do in your life because of X, Y or Z, know that you’ll find a way to be around it in another way. Once a creative, always one.