Artväna is a new company that has a mission to help people de-stress by bringing out their creativity via mail-delivered boxes of art supplies. The curated subscription boxes from Artväna allow anyone to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of art while developing their painting skills.
Art and creative expression are well-known versatile approaches to therapy that can help just about anyone. The Artväna box is a membership club that enables users to receive art supplies, tutorials, mantra cards, and reflection worksheets. The subscription runs on a monthly basis.
Founder Rikki is a professional painter and certified therapeutic art coach and she was inspired to start the brand to help with her anxiety and stress levels during the pandemic. She found others related to her need to unwind and use art to reduce symptoms and build confidence, today enjoying over 2,500 satisfied members and growing!
Rikki recently discussed Artvana via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you develop your interest in the arts and how did you break into the DIY industry?
Rikki: I grew up in a very rural area so we had to make a lot of our own fun. I remember creating a very elaborate Polly Pocket world for years when I was young, cutting and coloring and gluing everything together. It really just kept growing from there. I started painting professionally around age nineteen. Teaching painting classes came later when I was around twenty-six years old. I started my first company in Minnesota when no one had heard of paint and sip in the Midwest. Since then, I have branched out on my own and started my company Artvana here on the west coast.
MM: What prompted you to start Artvana and how did you come up with the name?
Rikki: I rebranded as Artvana during the pandemic, at the time all of our live classes had been shut down which left me with a lot of time to think about what I was going to do, and also what I wanted to do. I spent a lot of time considering what it was I loved about teaching people in person. Then I thought about how I could still do that despite the pandemic. I was also busy getting certified as a therapeutic art coach and the combination of all these things, led me to Artvana. The name is a spinoff of Nirvana, how creativity can be beneficial like meditation and mindfulness, but with art. I often parallel our creative practice to yoga practice, you don’t always show up knowing what to do or even feeling like doing it, but you always feel better when you do and it helps to have that coach and community supporting you. I want to create that space for people at Artvana.
MM: How did you select the materials to include in each box?
Rikki: The Artvana subscription is a little different than most boxes in that it is not stuffed with a bunch of random things each month. Each month has a selection of art supplies, canvas, brushes and anything the member will need to complete the project. The real value is in the tutorial, live coaching session and community. I wanted to take all of the guesswork out of it for our members and make it as easy and exciting as possible for them to sit down and create each month. Having the community to share your progress and paintings with is also a lot fun and I love watching our members progress and learn as they practice.
MM: How do you select the colors for each month?
Rikki: I design every project from start to finish. I am always trying to include basic techniques, for our newest members and also sprinkle in new or more advanced techniques for those who have been in the club a little longer. The colors are chosen after I have an idea of what we are going to paint and then I build the project.
MM: What are some of the most unique and original artworks you’ve seen people create using these sets?
Rikki: We did a mixed media artwork a few months back that I taught as a collage in the tutorial. One of our members told me later during a coaching session that she had actually read the pages of the book I had included as collage paper and it inspired her to take a completely different route with the project. It is always inspiring when I see members start to grasp those basics and free up their creativity so they can do things like that and stray off the path to make their own creations.
MM: What’s the best feedback you’ve gotten about the company so far?
Rikki: I think hearing how much some of the members especially busy moms or working moms really enjoy taking this as their me time. I have had many reviews from members telling me they just shut the door and do their art time. That they look forward to getting their box each month and taking a few precious hours just for them. I love knowing that they are interacting with the service this way because that is when it is most beneficial.
MM: How would you like to see Artvana expand over the next five years?
Rikki: Wow, I am so excited for what is coming next, I feel like every month we make changes to keep improving and adding value. The more the membership grows the more I can do in the box, we are launching a kid’s version of the box this summer, which is our next big step. In 5 years, I would love the possibility of offering more advanced memberships that people could work into and more Artvana retreats focused on art, finding creative flow and building confidence.
MM: What projects are coming up for you soon and is there anything else that you would like to mention?”
Rikki: Our kids’ box is my baby right now; I have been developing it for some time and as we get closer to launch it is getting really exciting. The only other thing I like to mention is for those readers who might think they cannot paint or are not good at art. Creating is not just for Artists and everything takes time to improve on. I want to change the narrative around people thinking they have to ‘be good’ at art before they should do it, nothing really works that way, you have to start where you are. I hope that Artvana will provide a starting point for your creative journey.
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