Stive Asia


What’s It Really Like To Build An Online Art Business Full Time While Having 3 Kids?

"It's not difficult to take care of a child; it's difficult to do anything else while taking care of a child." – Julianne Moore

Being a mother is not easy, especially when you have a job to balance on the side. There are tons of responsibilities to bear. From waking up the kids to replying to work messages and finishing up house chores, the challenge never gets easier with this post-pandemic living. However, what's even tougher is starting a business from scratch while juggling complicated mummy duties. There is no guaranteed security, no consistent income, and no fixed benefits. The fear of 'what if…' never stops looming around your head, but this lady here, she made a bold decision to make that possible. 

Nisa is a 32 year old mom cum watercolour artist with 3 kids and now expecting another. Despite graduating with a degree in Building Survey from University Malaya (UM), her passion for watercolour came about in an accident. After getting married and relocating to Terengganu, she became intrigued by several watercolour paintings on Instagram and picked this skill up as a hobby. 

It wasn't until 2019, the pre-pandemic days, she fully transitioned this hobby into a full-time job selling watercolour paintings worldwide. And at that moment, her company, Knkco was born. 

"It is not easy at first to build my Instagram following. Hence, I got to plan and hit the KPI I set for myself." 

In this social media frenzy society, we all know the importance of social media and influencer marketing. With hundreds of free resources available online, the learning is easy, but the execution is tricky. In the beginning, Nisa chose Instagram as her primary marketing channel. Knowing the journey will be a long haul, she would plan and keep a strategy in mind. By using these simple steps, she successfully garnered her first 20K followers by March 2020 (latest followers close to 30K):  

  1. ✏️ Set up an alternative account to promote her art (make it professional) 
  2. ✏️ Put up a website to collate her work samples as a portfolio 
  3. ✏️ Insert critical points in her bio. (free shipping, email contact etc.)
  4. ✏️ Publish 100 posts every month (at least 1 a day) 
  5. ✏️ Make videos about her colouring process 
  6. ✏️ Engage consistently with her followers via DMs and comments 
  7. ✏️ Reshare all the content that she was tagged in 




But her successful journey didn't stop there. As she slowly gained attention, she managed to get international buyers to purchase her paintings, form social media partnerships and receive several art commissions. One of her notable partnerships is with Klasse 14, a global watch brand with a hipster twist. She was engaged to illustrate one of their watches, and in return, she received a discount code for her fans. 



After building her company for more than a year, she started expanding her presence to St!ve Asia in the hopes of getting more brand collaboration and monetise her artwork passively. Even though we are still in the development phase, having such a tremendously talented artist on board is indeed a delightful experience. So, of course, I wouldn't leave this interview without getting a little feedback about her experience in St!ve Asia. 

"The experience to me is positive. I'm happy to join this platform and bring my art to a wider local audience. Though it's still relatively new, I can't wait to see where this platform is going to grow next!" 

Undeniably, success didn't happen without any setbacks. One of Nisa's challenges is balancing her mother's responsibilities and focusing on her art, especially during this pandemic season. As an artist, having quiet time and focus is vital. However, such a need can be disruptive when your commitment is taking place 24/7 at home

"I love my kids, as well as my art. I can't blame them when they disrupt my time because they are kids in nature. Knowing this happens often, I try not to be too harsh on myself and take breaks on and off. "



I sincerely give my massive salute to all working moms, ambitious women, and care-takers out there! 

Last but not least, we wouldn't end this interview without a bit of spark of inspiration. Hopefully, when Covid-19 ends, Nisa hopes to open an art academy and share her knowledge with aspiring students who want to follow in her footsteps. She also wishes to come out with educational video content and build a brand on Skillshare


To all mothers who are keen to start a business while having kids, 

To all the women who are ambitious enough to believe in their goals, 

To all the young designers who dream of being seen by brands and publications, 

To all the people who are still soul searching and looking for a purpose, 

We hope this quote resonates with you to keep moving forward no matter what. 


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Valerie McDonaldson 2021-07-24 08:51:39