“I have always loved to draw and make things with my hands. I never went to art school, but I have dabbled in everything from origami to oil painting. By profession I am a journalist, cartoonist, and a teacher at a university. I view writing and drawing the same way I see art – as a creative process. Penguin Pop is my entrepreneurial adventure, where I custom paint canvas shoes with anything my customer wants.
As an entrepreneur with a small business, the major challenge for me has been finding people with similar skills to expand my business with. My shoes are very intricately painted, and the technique to get the artwork exactly right is not something that is easily learnt. It’s because of this, taking on more work has always stretched me to my limits. The solution I figured, was to market the shoes as exclusive art pieces, which they are, and to make sure that the product is a labor of love, designed in collaboration with the customer, and not just a product for commercial retail.
The most important lesson I learnt in life is to consistently develop alternative avenues in career and life. In today’s competitive world, having one plan does not cut it and there has to be a backup in case of failure. Penguin Pop was never Plan A. I was and still am devoted to journalism and academia. Yet, I know that having my own business is the best way to protect my future, and to make sure I am creatively satisfied and my own boss. I made sure when I graduated from college, I would do what I love. I have been fortunate to find these opportunities where I fit and I absolutely love all my work. When you love what you do, it all becomes easy.” Saadia Gardezi – Owner, Penguin Pop