Creativity is a wonderful thing but when creativity meets a cross section with compassion, that’s when the real magic is made. In this instalment of our Community Member Spotlight series, we catch up with Manavi Singhal – Artist, Creator and Founder of an Artisanal Design company, Ravisi. As a “passionate ally” to the LGBT community with a passion to drive forward the Black Lives Matter movement through the art of design, Manavi tells us more about her award-winning initiative, Twinning LGBT. We talk all things dreams, design and what her advice would be to anybody else looking to transform their passion into a profession.
Fed: Tell us a bit about Ravisi and how you came to start the company…
Manavi: I was always freelancing for start-ups and small businesses even whilst working full- time. Eventually I thought of taking my passion seriously, so I made a portfolio, registered a name for my company and pitched to one of the restaurants in London. Well, I got that project and that’s how I began my journey with Ravisi, an Artisanal Design company.
Fed: Is there a story behind the name?
Manavi: Well yes.. So, my father’s name in Hindi means ‘a lamp’. And, what does a lamp do? It shines bright, illuminating everything around it. My mother’s name means ‘a ray of sun’. And my brother’s name means ‘the sun’ itself! So you see, radiance is essential. Well obviously, this was all a co-incidence, and I always jokingly questioned on having a different meaning to my name. Which is why if you break down Ravisi in Hindi, it’s ‘Ravi- Si’ and that means Like The Sun.
Plus, I always had a special liking for the word ‘ravishing’ for what it means and how it sounds! So I decided to call it Ravisi, pronounced as ‘ra-vee-she’. The meaning, as the name suggests, is truly radiant, dazzling and ravishing!
Fed: When did you first discover you had a talent for design?
Manavi: I’ve always, always loved creating stuff. When I was a kid, I sketched portraits of Indian Gods and Goddesses and my grandma would put them up in her little temple at home. My mother is an artist as well, so she taught colour theories and the art of brush strokes to me. I grew up gifting handmade products like paper lamps, pencil stands, floral clay art frames, etc to my friends and family. Then I did a course in graphic design and won the first prize in a competition at a junior level. That was very motivating and I practised regularly and eventually started working on small projects (both personal and professional). It always gave me a great pleasure to create stuff…just the degrees at which I took that up kept changing with time..
Fed: Tell us more about the Twinning LGBT concept that you’re working on right now…
Manavi: We’ve always seen ‘love’ being expressed by a heterosexual couple. Whether it be on the internet, or places where ‘love’ is mentioned, usually a guy and a girl is seen. I believe any mental stereotype can be broken by marketing. While promises to “do better” are important, they aren’t enough to address the issues which begin at the grass root level. We need to change the way we SEE things… after all “Seeing Is Believing”. Which is why, the Twinning LGBT concept shows women in companionship in its first phase. It shows them twinning in simple, everyday emotions, in a way which appeal to a common man…
Fed: You link Twinning LGBT with the BLM movement too, right?
Manavi: At the end of the day, our aim is to spread love and build solidarity. Freedom for black and LGBT people are all civil rights…justice has no hierarchy. Meghan Markle said, “You are going to lead with love, you are going to lead with compassion, you are going to use your voice.” And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do by combining the Twinning and BLM together… Creating visibility and better representation through design for LGBT and Black lives, is indeed one of the best ways to create inclusion.
Fed: What advice would you give to somebody looking to quit their full-time job to turn their passion into a profession like you have?
Manavi: As cliché as this may sound, I genuinely believe a lot of hardwork with an optimistic vision is required to turn your passion into a full- time profession. Having said that, you must also always be prepared to challenge yourself for the times when things don’t work out the way you’ve planned. You must then try to figure out all the possible ways to make them work. When one door closes, mourn a little and then reach out for the next door.. There must always, always be a Plan B, Plan C, Plan D… Basically- hardwork, patience and perseverance… Just keep at it, don’t give up.
Fed: Your Twitter bio says you’re a ‘dreamer’ – if you could pick just one of your wildest dreams to come true, what would it be?
Manavi: I’d love to inspire everyone to follow a cause that can make a small difference towards the better, in how we all see the world today.
Fed: What is your favourite thing about being a Creative Industries Federation Community member?
Manavi: I attended an event online through which I got an invite for the Creative Fed membership. It feels great to be a part of a community which ensures that creativity sits at the heart of UK’s social and economic regeneration. It’s helped me expand my circle within the industry and is indeed a great platform which brings like- minded creatives together. I’m glad to be working with CIF for the Creative Coalition 2020 project.
To find out more about the Twinning LGBT initiative and Ravisi’s other projects, head to www.ravisi.ms.