Nurturing Creativity: A Conversation with U. L. Thiyara Ranasinghe

Nurturing Creativity: A Conversation with U. L. Thiyara Ranasinghe

U. L. Thiyara Ranasinghe is the proud owner of @Ytartsandcrafts, an Instagram-based hand-painted cards business she manages with her sister. We interviewed Ms. Ranasinghe as a part of the project ‘Beyond the Lables’, in order to get insights as to her motivation in starting this business, the hurdles she faced and her advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs, among other key aspects.

The following are the questions we directed to Ms. Ranasinghe during the interview and her remarkable responses.

What motivated you to start your business?

Since we were kids, both of us were talented in art, and my sister and I used to make birthday cards for our parents as well as our best friends every year. They were quite unique and beautiful, cards you can’t usually find anywhere.

Because of all the comments we got from our parents and friends, we had the thought of starting a business for a while. Then after we finished our Advanced Level exams, we officially launched a brand and started it.

Were there any unique challenges that you faced?

At first, it was hard to get a customer base and decide on the prices for the cards. In the market, cards are usually sold at lower prices, which makes the customers expect our cards to have lower prices as well.

How do you balance your work and university life?

I mostly do it as a part-time job and I only take a limited number of orders per month. That way, I can balance both my academic and working life.

Have you faced any prejudice as a woman at university or when doing business?

No, I can’t say I have. All who have seen or gotten to know about my business have helped me to promote the business as well as encouraged me to do even better in the future. Sometimes, even to the point where they are more excited about my work than I am myself!

Is there a female role model you have? How did they inspire you?

No. But I consider my mom to be a source of inspiration for everything I do. She helps me with everything when work gets hectic. She’s not the most expressive person when it comes to appreciating the cards, but I know she silently admires them in her own ways. She’s hard to satisfy, so I keep on trying to make orders better than the last one.

What changes do you think need to be made to make the university a safe space for women?

I think the university premises are a very safe place for female undergraduates. But the security outside the university premises can be improved.

Were there any instances of cyber bullying that you had to face when doing business?


Any advice you would give to aspiring female entrepreneurs?

I would like to say that if you even have a slight idea about starting something, you should start it today rather than waiting until you get time. It’s harder to start but you’ll get experience as you move along the way. No one’s perfect at the beginning but can improve with time and customer feedback.

In our interview with U. L. Thiyara Ranasinghe, owner of @Ytartsandcrafts, her journey from childhood creativity to a thriving hand-painted cards business embodies resilience. As we reflect on this insightful interview, it prompts us to consider the untapped potential within each individual and the unique stories waiting to unfold, such as the creative endeavors that lie dormant within you, and how you might bring them to life. The narrative of Ms. Ranasinghe raises a question: What could be the beginning of your entrepreneurial story and how might you channel your passion into a creative venture?

Interviewed by Rtr. Vibhavee Sarathchandra

Written by Rtr. Michelle Perera

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