Local Flair Issue 31: Rock Paper Project

It’s been a minute, but Local Flair is back! Today I would like to give the stage away to Indrajala, founder of Rock Paper Project. The project enables your inner artist to blossom, as you are sent everything you need to create an acrylic paints masterpiece. Carry on reading to know more about the business and how it came about. P.S. Giveaway at the end of the post!

Tell me about yourself. 

I’m Indrajala, serial entrepreneur, graphic designer and artist. Originally from Chennai, India, I finished my schooling there, and went on to study graphic design and design thinking implementation at Raffles Institute of Design, Singapore. I worked briefly in Singapore in a design agency after college and eventually moved back to my hometown. I started my career in advertising and now have over 7+ years in the industry having worked with all the Big Daddy’s of the AD world- Lowe Lintas, J.Walter Thomspon and Rediffusion Y & R. I started out as a junior creative designer and then scaled up, learning and leading very quickly.
After long and I mean very long hours and over 9203031 cups of coffee later, I came to a crossroads. I knew I had a lot to offer talent wise but I soon started to feel under appreciated and wanted to take back control of my own life. I knew I had to expand my horizons and there was a lot more to working and creating than sitting behind a desk. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, I too wanted to learn every part of running a business, from getting clients on board to the actual design process and running admin AND accounting, I was definitely out of depth in most of the above, but I still had a hunger to learn it all. After A LOT of thinking I decided to leave my corporate life and went on to start my own branding+advertising company : Inntandem Designs, because I always believed in working “in tandem” with people. I ran this company for 2.5 years and worked on many large scale projects with my small team of designers. I was extremely content running this company because I got to create and play by my own rules.
After sometime I felt I still had a lot more creative talent to offer and I went back to the drawing board again. I had this concept of using art as a medium for creative thinking and utilizing that in the corporate sector. I drew on my own experience of always sitting behind the desk and even though being in the creative field, I very rarely had any sort of creative exercise to boost my brain and productivity. I reached out to a friend who had experience conducting art workshops, and over a cup of coffee we co-founded : illuminArtyIndia which is an experiential creative workshop company. We use art as a medium in all our workshops that help enhance team building, communication, and collaboration in the corporate world. It functions under two verticals illuminArty@work which are workshops for the corporate sector, and illuminArty@play which are ‘sip &paint’ style paint parties. I still co-run this company which functions in India even after moving to the U.A.E.

Tell me about Rock Paper Project.

After moving to the UAE post marriage, I knew I still wanted to do something in the creative space. Joining the corporate life here was never an option. After a lot of long talks with my husband I knew I wanted to introduce the ‘paint party’ concepts here as well, but that was not enough, we wanted to be fresh and innovative. We both brainstormed and came up with the idea of ‘Paint-It- Yourself’, making painting easy for anyone and everyone. We thought let’s make those Pinterest style paintings easy for anyone to create on their own in the comfort of their own home. We
mapped out the whole process, from the look and feel of the product, to all the elements inside the kit, the building of the website and the full order and delivery process. It sounds simple now, but it was a lot of late nights and running around, finding and testing the right art materials while having it look aesthetic as well. After many many iterations and edits, we were ready!
We launched with 15 paint projects to choose from our website, packed in our ‘Paint-It-Yourself’ kits called ‘Paintlets’, which you can order to your house. We also wanted to include free shipping for our products, that was important. Our next step is launching Paint-it-Yourself workshops across different venues in the U.A.E.

How did you go about choosing the name Rock Paper Project and the logo?

We went through numerous options when it came to the brand name. We finally settled on ‘PaperProject’ but wanted something for the prefix. We went with rock since its playful! Since I’m a graphic designer, thinking and planning visually comes naturally to me. I wanted something clean and simple and has an ‘art’ element to it, which is the subtle paint drop merged in the logo. Orange is the colour for creativity and I knew I wanted that reflected in the brand colours.

What’s been the proudest achievement for you in regards to this project?

The proudest moment (so far) is when I started showcasing at live events. We launched with the intention of being an e-commerce platform, but I knew for such an innovative concept people needed to see it in action, so we’ve started participating as a vendor in events across Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It’s amazing to see peoples reaction to the whole concept and having to see the live reaction to the packaging. Both parents and children alike get so excited seeing everything on display and the thought of creating their
chosen paint project themselves! I’ve got nothing but positive feedback and that’s been super rewarding.

What’s been the most challenging aspect of the business and how have you overcome it?

The most challenging aspect was actually the initial set-up of the business, securing the correct license, setting up a payment gateway etc. Information does not come very freely here, and one must be super persistent and patient to get things off the ground smoothly.

What’s the most unique trait about Rock Paper Project?

I would say the whole concept! The whole ethos of the brand is to ‘discover your hidden talent’. When I conducted live workshops in the past, people always led with skepticism. They used to arrive nervous and always said ‘I can’t paint’. But after my careful instructions through the whole process, they would exclaim’ wow, I did THAT?!. I wanted to channel that feeling, of having people believe in themselves and be proud of what they accomplished. I believe everyone has inherent creative abilities, and I’m just giving them the platform for them to explore.

Which canvas design is the best seller?

We launched with 15 paintings, all created by me. But choosing the first 15 were not easy! I created more than 30 paintings first on mini canvases and noted the process of how to make each painting within 5 steps only. I wanted all the paint projects to have unique names as well, so we went through many options for each one. After that long process of creating and deciding, we were ready. The feedback for all has been great, most boys seem to like ‘Jetting off’ and ‘Desert Dreams’ and the girls seem to like ‘Magical Me’ and ‘Pug Life’. My favourite is ‘Magical Me’. It looks and feels empowering.

Are your canvas designs suited for all ability types, or do you have to have a certain skill level to have a go?

All our paint projects are for any and every skill level. I intentionally broke the process of painting down to just 5 simple steps so it’s easy for both children (over 5) and adults as well. I initially planned to have the instructions printed as well, but when I thought about it, I felt it would be easier for a person to watch the process of painting and follow along, so we incorporated Video tutorials for all the paint projects on our website.

Tell me about a day in your life, as the owner of Rock Paper Project.

A day in my life is hectic! As with any entrepreneur. I divide my time into two halves. The morning half is spent on working on my business in India- illuminArty. I plan the schedule of events and design the creative content and have regular phone calls with my partner that so we’re always in sync. The second half of the day is spent on RPP. All the admin work, fulfilling and checking the order status, scanning forums to find out events schedule and then securing my spot to participate in them. I also plan,and execute the creative content for the social pages.

What’s your advice to other women planning to start a business in the UAE?’

Just go for it! If you have an idea, don’t be scared to try it out. Get advise from people who you trust and believe in you, but always believe in yourself. It may sound cliché but it’s important. Join all the forums and stay connected with what’s happening around you, put yourself out there and network!

Where would you like to see Rock Paper Project in 5 years time?

Great question! My aim is for RPP to be a household name like Crayola. Every parent and child should have created paint projects at home or at our live events. I’d like to also partner with schools and corporates having regular art workshops. Creativity should always be encouraged.

Rock Paper Project also conducts paint parties for birthdays, bridal showers, bachelorette’s or any type of social events. We conduct the live event and people get our Paintlets as a take home gift.

My Experience with Rock Paper Project…

I was kindly gifted a Paintlet to review and I chose the design “Jetting Off”. if you are a veteran follower of mine, you will know I love painting and I am a creative at heart. Despite this, mum guilt means I am usually sucked into creating craft pieces with my sons rather than painting something for myself, which is why this concept was so liberating for me.
The paintlet was packaged beautifully and had everything I needed. The video tutorial was so simple to follow, and I love that it gave me room to get creative on my own too.
I think in this day and age where we are so consumed by the digital gadgets in our lives, taking some time out to create a masterpiece you can be proud of, without the need to be a descendant of Picasso is so special, I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a unique self-care or bonding exercise with yourself or a partner.

Also, feel free to use my discount code Zeyna10 to grab yourself 10% off at checkout, and remember that shipping is completely free! YAY!


Rock Paper Project and Mummy On My Mind are holding a giveaway for your chance to win a Paintlet of your choice! The giveaway will run from 23rd February to 1st March. All you have to do is:

  • Follow mummyonmymind and rockpaperproject on Instagram
  • Like and comment on the photo of the Rock Paper Project giveaway
  • Tag 5 of your friends who would be interested in the comments section of the photo.
  • Repost this giveaway on your Instastories OR instagram feed.
  • Please Note: This giveaway is open to UAE residents only, and is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administrated by or associated with Instagram. All the best!

Thank you Indrajala for giving us an insight into your inspiring business that is nurturing the creativity in all of us. For more information and to have a look at all the art prints you can create yourself, head to their website www.rockpaperproject.ae, or follow them for updates on Instagram and Facebook.

Note: All photographs in this post belong to Rock Paper Project and have been used by the owner’s permission.

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