Firstly, hi! My name is Maja, I'm 18 years old, I'm the founder of Heartsi and thank YOU for clicking on our story page! The fact that you're here means you maybe are somewhat curious about what Heartsi is, which is awesome. Or maybe you don't care at all and accidentally clicked on this page - in which case, hi anyway.
So anyway, now that you're here, onto the Heartsi story and why we exist...
Through sharing and connecting with different artists every day in the running of my art curation Instagram @art.ig, I've seen firsthand the powerful impact art can have on people's lives in its ability to connect people from all sorts of backgrounds. I've always found it cool how I have people who follow the page of all different ages and from countries all over the world, all united by their passion for art. In an increasingly divisive global culture, it's special to see that art is able to speak in a uniquely universal language.
Almost daily, I have artists messaging me telling me how art has impacted their lives as an outlet for something they're going through, or how they have been inspired to create art by seeing other artists, which has always been the #1 highlight of running my page. I also regularly randomly feature new and upcoming artists that I find, and they are always so grateful to have people seeing their work.
Whilst I definitely don't consider myself personally the "best" artist, I've always loved playing around with art and enjoy expressing my creativity through mediums like photography/writing. I think something important to realise is that your art doesn't have to be 'perfect' or manifest itself in a specific form for you to be considered an artist. Simply the process of creating something is often the most important part, and it doesn't need to be for anyone else but youreslf. I try to post a lot of different types of art on my Instagram, because everybody expresses themselves differently.
I also did a lot of pottery/drawing/painting classes throughout my formative years of primary school, and I think it's an opportunity more students should be exposed to, or at least encouraged to look into. Throughout school, it's often the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) departments that are heavily emphasised, like in my high school, where all students are made to do a science course up until grade 10. STEM is absolutely important of course, but I still think some more emphasis should be placed towards more creative-minded subjects too. Especially at a young age, art classes allow students to develop different important parts of their brains and stimulate creativity, which is essential no matter what field you choose to pursue.
With all this in mind, the first brewings of Hearti's mission became to develop - an online social enterprise and community of artists that sold all sorts of unique, arty-related products.More than just a store, I wanted to create a community around the mission and inspire more creativity. It made sense as I already was starting to cultivate such a cool community of art-lovers through Instagram, and wanted to continue to develop that into something even more.
Also, it was important for me to spread the message of art, whilst having a heart at the same time, because I think the two naturally go hand-in-hand, and this seemed like the perfect avenue to do that. After all, art has been proven to help nurture and develop empathy.
I went on a high school trip in 2016 to Cambodia with the organisation Raw Impact, and the people there were some of the kindest and most genuine I've ever had the pleasure to meet. After my experience there, I resolved that I definitely wanted to be involved with the Khmer people in some way in the future and give back in return for all they had given me.
A few months later, through the incredible platform B1G1 that inspires businesses to give back, I stumbled upon an incredible non-profit organisation called Phareps Ponleu Selpak or "the Brightness of the Arts", which improves lives of children, young adults, and their families with art schools, educational programs, and social support since 1994.
Their message immediately resonated with me, because they believe passionately in the power of the arts as a tool for human development and social change, and they were also based in Cambodia, which made them the perfect match. It aligned with everything I had been looking for in an organisation to partner with. They're dedicated to providing a nurturing and creative environment where young people can access quality arts training, education, and social support. Phare Ponleu Selpak seeks to provide education, access to the arts, vocational training, and professional pathways to the children and young adults of their community.
So that's why for every Heartsi product sold, a full day of visual arts training is provided to a vulnerable child. That means that not only do you get to buy something cool for yourself, but you're also directly helping spread the power of art to people who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity!
We also partner with hand-selected artisans, designers and creators from all over the world for some of our products. It gives them another source of income, whilst also allowing us to stock some really cool unique things.
As Heartsi grows, I want to continue to expand our social message, and I'm excited to announce a few local projects that will be funded by some of the proceeds from Heartsi. I'm currently working behind the scenes with some really incredible people to bring these projects to life, so stay tuned about that.
I can't wait to continue watching Heartsi blossom with you all a part of the journey. Your support, as always, means the world. If you ever wanna chat about anything or get involved in some way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org <3