Do I need school to be...

a fashion/graphic designer? with Sakeesha Balkaran

August 26, 2021 Alex Villacís Season 1 Episode 5
Do I need school to be...
a fashion/graphic designer? with Sakeesha Balkaran
Show Notes Transcript

This week’s guest is Sakeesha Balkaran, a recent graduate from the Willem de Koning Academy, fashion and graphic designer living in Rotterdam. In this episode we talk about how she got to the academy, why she became a designer, how education can be improved and much more.

Find more about Sakeesha here:
Sakeesha’s graduation project
Studio Unexpected's Website
Her studio’s Instagram
Personal Instagram

Sakeesha’s book recommendations:
Sakeesha’s Website recommendation
Brand the Change
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Talent is Overrated
(Full disclosure, these are affiliate links. Nothing changes for you when you shop but affiliate marketing helps support the podcast)

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Sakeesha Balkaran:

It's really important, I think, also to have those people behind you because most of the times we think that we do need to do everything alone. But you cannot do everything alone. It's not It's not possible. You always need people, other people around you.

Alex Villacis:

Hello friends, and welcome to Do I need school school to be a podcast about creative education. In this show me Alex is going to sit down with people in the creative field to ask them about how they learned our trade and how they see education going in the future. We're all different and we all learn different ways. So naturally, we're all going to take different paths. If you want to know about how your favourite creatives or others in the creative field got to where they are today. Keep listening. And let's have some fun together. And here we are. It's Episode Five. We are done with the first month of the podcast. I'm sorry, I am very excited. Yeah, it's I think it's clear from the background music What type of podcast is as it's very exciting one and this? Yeah, I should stop talking now and tell you about my next guest. Who is Sakeesha Balkaran. Sakeesha and I met because we actually live in the same city. Yes, she's my second guest who is living in Rotterdam, she and I went to some University, the Willem de Koonig Academy in the Netherlands. And she did a student takeover on Instagram. And she put forth a lot of very important points about education and what we both think it's missing from creative education. Just a small clarification, we're no way attacking the Willem de Koonig Academy, we are just using it as a reference point, because it's the one that we both know the best. And we cannot speak for other institutions since we have not been to those. But this all comments are about education in general. And I think we can all agree that there's something missing and how we can reach that and how we can achieve it and how we can fill in the blanks that we both feel there are and again, it's our only our personal opinions, they do not reflect in any way on anybody badly. Okay, this was a very long winded way to say that we're gonna talk about a lot of things in regards to creative education, and more specific to what we think is missing. And yeah, I hope you enjoy it. Hi, Sakeesha, good morning. How are you today?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Hi, Alex. I'm fine. How are you doing?

Alex Villacis:

I am very good. It's a sunny morning, I finished my first work assignment of the day. And yeah, what's really motivated because I knew that I was going to be talking to you. So I thought, Okay, I need to like, get this done. So everything is said. So yeah, very excited. Very energised.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Nice. Nice. Nice. Same over here. A little bit nervous, but really excited. Yeah,

Alex Villacis:

We'll be fine. I think I am going to show you at the end of the music for the podcast that our friend did for me.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Oh, cool.

Alex Villacis:

And you will like understand the vibe and you'll be like, okay, yeah, it's, it's very true. It's essentially circus music.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Are you serious?

Alex Villacis:

It's it's kind. It's a he wrote it for me. So but it's, it's very fun. It's very joyful. But we still talk about serious topics. We still talk about serious topics, but always from a point of curiosity, and just having fun and being honest, because it's the point of this podcast. So I would love to hear and for you to tell the audience who you are, and where are you currently working on?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yes, so my name is Sakeesha Balkaran. I am a 25 year graphic designer and recently graduated fashion designer at Willem de Kooning. So I'm really happy and finally done. Let's see. Last May I've been married when my husband so before this I my name was Sprinnenberg, but now Balkaran on really have to get used to it. But yeah, unless that I started my own design studio and it is called Studio Unexpected. So at the moment, I'm really busy, busy to build everything up and getting clients and doing market research. At the moment, I'm busy with creating my own website, and I never did it like this. So I'm using Wix now. And that's really fun, too. I really like to build websites, I figured out and next to this, I am busy with a couple of projects. So I am doing a brand new for a new church that is coming to work with them. It's called gateway city church. And I'm gonna start doing the branding for my answering your company, and she's gonna build an event business, so I'm really excited to do that, too. Yeah, for now, I'm just relaxing, because I had a really busy period after graduation with graduation. So yeah, that's what I'm what keeps me busy these days.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah, sounds great. Really, really busy really moving around and getting those creative juices but also chilling. It's important to chill. It's really important. Yeah.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Like in rest and everything and just take time for yourself sometimes. So it's good.

Alex Villacis:

And congrats on getting married. Thank you. So how did you get into design? Because you graduated graduated fashion design, but you're going to be working currently on graphic design.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah.

Alex Villacis:

So how did how did that come about? Did you always know that you wanted to go into design? Or what was the process?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

The process was when I was very young, my grandmother, she is, I don't know what English word is. But she makes clothes in Dutch at school, naaister.

Future Guest 1:

So seamstres.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yes, exactly. And when I was little, she always made my clothes and I could draw what I wanted. And she made it, and I helped her with it. So my thing was always I want to be a fashion designer. But I don't want to do MBO fashion, because that is a lot of making. And I really like the conceptual part of it. So at high school, I already knew that I wanted to do fashion. And I already knew that I did not want to do fashion at ambil. So I was searching actually for your for a way that I still could do fashion because I already also knew that I wanted to do HBO. Um, and then one day, I think it was my third year at high school. And I saw a book and and Anna was graphic design. I was like, Oh, that is fun. And as a college, I didn't even know what a graphic designer was in first place. So I just applied for the study. And after that, I started to do research about what it was. And also like drawing I always drew when I was little. So I was like, Oh, this fits. And then I started to do graphic design beforehand. And when I was done first I went to unfi Amsterdam Fashion Institute. But I don't know if you know or heard about it, but I had a lot of trouble the last period, but they were just, I don't like the school. It's not made for me. They're really letting you down. And I see a lot of pressure, but not the good one. So I was like three months ago, I don't want to do this. And after that I applied for Willem de Kooning. And that is actually how I came there. But I know that I don't want to be specifically in fashion, but I want to imply fashion into graphic design and maybe a combination of those two, because I love to do graphic design work. So yeah, that is kind of my, my story.

Alex Villacis:

That's great. And I think you bring up so many important points, in the sense that we that it's a journey of discovery, is figuring out what your influences are, then where do you want to go? And then if that's not the right path for you, just switching?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah, definitely

Alex Villacis:

Because a lot of people I think would have stayed in the university and said, Yeah, yeah, I want to I'm here already. I'm gonna just finish it. But you had the foresight to say like, if it's not for me, if it's not the right place for me, I can find another path.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Well, it was really hard because I never quit it like a medication. So I left with my auntie since I was 15. And she really helped me. She's really my mentor. So I had a lot of discussions with her like, Okay, what should I do, but she saw that I was changing, not in a good way. And, yeah, I was really getting depressed, and I never cry, but I cried. And know what it was. My mental health went down so quickly. It was not wasn't unhealthy anymore. So that is why I decided, Okay, I'm gonna quit. But it was really hard to make to make that decision, because I dreamed about going to amfi. And when I went there, it was horrible. And I was like, No, if I'm doing school, it has to profit me. And I have to do it, because I love to do it. And not because it oppressed me, as oppressing me. So that's why I quit. But it was a really hard decision to make.

Alex Villacis:

It's those hard decisions that really shape your path and take you like, Hey, this is not what I want to do. And I also liked that you brought up the topic of mental health because sometimes we don't think about the mental health aspect of education, especially somebody who just is not in the right place for them or place doesn't nurture them, or somebody is neurodiverse and they say why can I learn maybe I'm stupid and then they get depressed it's just like, it's not that you're not learning if you're not learning the right way or not making the way that's right for you.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah

Alex Villacis:

I love that. That's so nice.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Thanks, yeah.

Alex Villacis:

and and who were people who were influential in your life, you mentioned your grandmother, you mentioned your and so when you're working on a project and designing something whose voice Do you listen to back of your head? Are there influential teachers that taught you something and teacher it's very broad sense of the word in this podcast is that like, like I wrote in the questions. Could be an experience could be a book Could be anything.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah. So for me, like, I don't have a lot of designers in my family, but the people that really mentored me, and it's more I think, also mental, and not be afraid to, to try out and to do things and to make mistakes every day for my pastor, and his wife, Pastor Alexander and apostle Jared, who really mentored me in, you know, getting confidence in what I do. Next, that I have accepted my aunt, my opponent, and my grandmother and really teach me how to sew and everything wood fabrics. My mother, really, she's really supporting. So that's also a big help. I think in just creating and having making your own business and making decisions that you have someone that support you no matter what is what is happening. And my mother always did a nice job, I have a really good, two good friends who are always with me. And if I have design things, I'm always going to them Cheyenne, and Timay are my best friends. And yeah, when I have questions about or insecurities about what I design, and I'm always throwing it to them, and I'm saying like, Yo, what would you choose this or that? Or that? Or why would you choose this or that? And then I'm, yeah, I can go further. Sometimes, yeah, they're really my mentors. And now, for example, my husband also, he really goes after his goals, and that really motivate me to work harder. And to do better, and to do the best that I can. So yeah, I have quite a lot of mentors. But there are people like in my inner circle, and they really know me. So and they are honest, to me, that is the most important thing, because most of the times you don't really want to be honest, because it can be harsh, or it can be painful. But I know that they will back me up, even if they say the throat and it's not always fun. But they're always honest to me. And that is what I really appreciate about about Yeah, those people.

Alex Villacis:

So you're getting that feedback loop from several people in your life that are necessarily teachers that you have this idea, Well, fine tune it, it's great, or it's not that good. Yeah. And getting those influences that sounds awesome. I'm so happy that you have like a core team of people behind you that can support you.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

It's really important, I think, also, to have those people behind you. Because most of the times we think that we do need to do everything alone. But you cannot do everything alone. It's not It's not possible. You always need people, other people around you. So yeah, that's why I think it's really important, important to have that support behind you. Totally.

Alex Villacis:

And I think that how you find that support how you build that little tribe, or that little group of people behind you. Some people find that in university with their professors, some people find that in their families, find them with their friends, so people find it just collaborating with others in Did you find in formal education, like in university or in high school teachers that were influential to you?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah, I have a few. I think for my minor project that I did, I had, I had a teacher, his name is Ryan Fisk, and I really understood my process and my thinking way of thinking. So I've talked a lot a lot with him also about the design part. Because when I was going to my graduation, I think that my the teacher from my minor, they helped me more than mighty doubted you for my major and they understood me more, and they were able to want to understand me because that's also thing, most of the times teachers, they just want to put their stuff on you and what they think and they don't really listen to what you are saying and what you're efficient is. And I think that that teacher really helped me out with a lot of things and gave me a lot of new insights. So I really appreciate him also. And I learned a lot from from him as a teacher. Oh, yes. Yeah.

Alex Villacis:

That's so cool. I have to say I had a similar experience, like the first two years in the academy that it was no minor there was just like the major. There were times that I wanted to screen to be honest, that I thought oh, why don't you guys it's not the same, because it has a lot to do with the fact that we have different life experiences. So something that it's important to me as a person that can wait for the ambulance to pass.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Okay.

Alex Villacis:

I am in a 17th floor I honestly don't know how I still hear it but Okay, I guess that's good. Okay, the ambulance is gone. So I'm going to repeat that part. That many times. It's frustrating because of the different life experiences that everybody has. I don't know, coming from Latin America and them being Dutch teachers from being more interested in service design, and then being focused on how things function. And they've been focused on how things look. There was a lot of clash there. But it wasn't until I was in my minor in third year that I was like, Oh, so here. Yeah. Now everything makes sense. Now I'm clicking with somebody this academy

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Same. Yeah, same experience, because you're studying graphic designer.

Alex Villacis:

Yes.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah nice.

Alex Villacis:

I'm doing the fourth year. So I'm going to start my fourth year in September.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Oh, fun. Nice, nice, nice.

Alex Villacis:

And which made which minority to take. I took commercial practice branding. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I remember. Yeah, I'm going to be doing more so commercial practice. But next Design Lab.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Oh, nice. Nice. Nice.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah, I'm very excited about that. But okay, going back to the podcast. So now, how would you think that you would approach being a teacher because we're all like your friends are teaching you?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Mm hmm.

Alex Villacis:

You are probably also teaching them. And you're, we're all teaching at some point in our lives, either as a friend or as a mentor or something? How would you take that approach? Would you stick with the honesty approach?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Definitely, I think honesty is really important. I was I was listening to a podcast of the future, and not great that they are so good. And he they talked about teaching and about was the thing, I forgot the name. It was about being polite. And we most of the time, see being polite as actually not being honest to people. And not only through it, and he was like you can, it depends of how you say to through someone. But always say the through because that is being polite, because you're not saying the truth to hurt someone, but to let someone grow. So definitely my approach as teacher will be being truthful, being honest. But still doing it with a mindset out of love for the person, and not to bring someone down. And really try to see not my vision, but they're efficient, and really play on that part. And really try to help that person with what they like or what they want. So really see the potential that a person has, instead of putting my stuff upon the efficient and then you know, messing up their whole fishing. Because that is what happens a lot of school or what I noticed. So I think that's really important. And that is really what I want to pursue as a teacher, yeah.

Alex Villacis:

that's wonderful. And I think there is this line that you have to dance as a teacher between being, what you want them to do and what they want to do. I mean, you as a teacher and them as a students. Yeah. And also being like, you can show them things, you can bring new perspective, I think that's a benefit of having a teacher versus being self taught that when you're self taught is just your own fascinations. And a teacher can be like, hey, do you read like, I don't know. It to keep it in fashion design and graphic design. Have you ever thought about silk screening on fabrics? Like Have you ever thought about six screaming on this fabric? I thought about this and that and you're like, I've never thought about that before? I'm going to try it?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah.

Alex Villacis:

broadening perspectives, but then also being okay with saying I am okay. They're not interested in it. They don't they don't have to be.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah, I agree with that.

Alex Villacis:

I love that. And so we connected through a student takeover at the WDKA.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah.

Alex Villacis:

And you mentioned the business station and part of in design education, being shaped as a designer as an artist.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Mm hmm.

Alex Villacis:

But the lack of presence of the economical or business aspect of design and hear that we're in a podcast about creative education, is that I also see this as a trend. I think that as creatives, we're many times so focused on making great work, then we forget that somebody needs to want it.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah, exactly.

Alex Villacis:

So let's dive into that. So can you like summarise for the audience what your views are on that side of education.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

So I think that's what I also told my teacher the last year because we got business, like literally in the middle of our graduation, you're not thinking about business when you're busy with your graduation, because he did not have it at the beginning of the year. So the question that I asked him was like, why don't you start to advocate to educate your students with this in the first year, because it's really important to, to see how to position yourself how to present yourself in the world, because you're not gonna make things just for yourself. It's always for someone else, even if you're like an autonomous designer, and you just want to create what you want to always make. Something for an audience. And you forget that if you don't, if nobody tells you that in the beginning, and I think that's really important, and that really helps to position yourself as a designer and also give you confidence in it. Because Yeah, that's just the lack of effect and score. And I think also that they should imply, yeah, implied Yeah. And the first year and not have just a business station and put it like we have, I think we have three classes or four classes of business. You cannot, you cannot grab nothing. In those four classes. It's ridiculous.

Alex Villacis:

I agree, especially because we spend four years thinking about our positioning statement.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah.

Alex Villacis:

But as you as an artist, as a designer, it's like, Yeah, but at one point, I'm going to have to talk to people who are not designers.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Exactly.

Alex Villacis:

To tell you about an experience that I had, I saw there was going to be students from the fourth year, this was, I think, in the spring or beginning of this year or something. I don't know. They were going to be presenting at the CIC, which is like the venture cafe, the when people go for startups, it's a networking event. In the centre of Rotterdam. It's really interesting. You should go, I will send you a link to that. Yeah, it's really cool. And they said, Yeah, fourth year, students from transformational life design, that one that one major that nobody knows what they do. And they were going to be pitching. So I thought, like, Okay, this is interesting, I'm going to go not as a student of the vedika, but I'm gonna ask the business owner because they own my own business. And I went to the presentation, and nobody had taught them what a pitch even was. I thought, What are you doing? I was sitting there watching those videos thinking, did anybody tell you what the parts of a pitch are, like proposing the problem explaining your insights, giving your vision proposing a solution? In the last few seconds explaining income revenues? Like how do you expect to make this sustainable and so on. But it was so artistic, it was them showing slideshows about their process, and I thought, an investor doesn't care about your process, your artistic process, they care about.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

What is your plan?

Alex Villacis:

What is your plan? And then, at the end, we they broke up into groups, and they could ask questions to investors. And I was like, honestly, the any of you get explained what a pitch was, and they were like, no, they just told us we were going to be coming here.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah, it does. Yeah, yeah. Same, same thing at Willem de Koonig. They don't learn how to pitch yourself. Nothing about it. It's it's, I don't get I don't get it. I just don't get it. I have no words, to explain how stupid it is that they don't do that. But because it's so important to, to show or to learn how to how to present yourself and just don't do that. They don't get it. I think it has to do a lot. I don't think it's a Willem de Koonig only problem. I think it's a general problem. Education. We have the example of the that's the example that we both lived through. So I understand that we are focusing on that. But I think it's more that we are so focused on the artistic part, that we forget the business part because I have a friend that just went freelancing and she was like, Yeah, I don't know what to do. And I was like, okay, you have to figure out your you have to study a market first, like Who do you want to serve Be as specific as possible?

Alex Villacis:

Mm hmm.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

And those are all things that I learned through trial and error through looking at people like Christo like Michael Janda through reading books and understanding more or less, but we lacked that financial literacy. Yeah. And we are afraid of and also, you're really afraid of the financial part? We shouldn't be afraid of that. Yeah, yeah, we see ourselves most of the times as less than what we actually can ask. I mean, creating a logo for 100 euros. It's, it's, it's crazy. You cannot, it's crazy. Because you're put so much work in it, you have to buy all your equipment. You learned about it. You studied about it for years, and then you're asking 100 euros for, you know, so yeah, we really have to be educated about it more important.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah. And also learning the difference between what is an asset and with a liability when you're starting to buy equipment. You're like, okay, should I buy this? Or should I buy that? Which one will actually produce me money? And which one will be just something that I can live without? Or will he start producing money now? Will they start producing money later? and getting that education and but I also think that has to do with, I interviewed for another podcast, a woman come or Santa's bear, who has a who's working on a foundation called juvenile alliance in Canada, teaching financial literacy to children in Canada from the ages of eight to graduation from high school. Oh, yeah, let's see. Yeah, because you don't learn financial literacy in life generally

Sakeesha Balkaran:

know when you're 18 or here when you're 18. There Getting all the bills and everything and they look like? And then you spend a lot of money on nonsense because you didn't learn about it?

Alex Villacis:

Or, or what is a mortgage? Or how to get into debt or how to get if you're going to go in that go into debt in a healthy way?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah.

Alex Villacis:

To give you an example, one of my cousin's she did a master's degree in Spain, and in Spain, and she took a loan from the bank. And I started asking her questions

Sakeesha Balkaran:

And definitely like, what, how did you decide for this bank? How do you decide for this loan? And she took on low interest loan for seven years? And I thought, Okay, do you have any chance to liquidate the loan? at any any point? She's like, no, because I took the low interest one. And I was like, it would have made more sense for you to take a higher interest, one, that you can liquidate quickly, because then you can, if you work hard, and if you manage your money correctly, finish that loan in three years, instead of being hooked to the bank for seven years. Yeah, but it's but it's that knowledge and that financial literacy that we are missing in education, and then it manifests more strongly in creative education.

Alex Villacis:

at least in my opinion, so if you could, like fix whatever you think that business station and the business side will be taught from first year

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Mm hmm.

Alex Villacis:

For the entire part of the education? What do you think it's that key thing to help people? What is it the key thing a young designer should know?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

I think, seeing the word that you have as a designer, because I think that was my biggest challenge until now. Tim, what's your word as a designer, and the impact that you can have as a designer, also, like how to position yourself, as a designer, as an artist, it doesn't matter if you're freelance artists, or additional autonomous artists, you always need to know how to position yourself. Yeah, and creating a clear vision. And creating a clear vision doesn't mean that you cannot experiment or that you can change it, but know what you want and go for it. And definitely the financial part, how to manage your finances. See what you really need and what you don't need, because they're also say, yeah, you need a Mac. That's what I experienced at when I started. classes, they say, and also Rotterdam. Yeah, you need a Mac, I need this, I need that. I need that. And it's so much and your students are you have barely have money. And then you have to buy those expensive stuff. And it depends, you can always get alone. And I wouldn't recommend even to get a loan, because if you're in that system, it's really hard to get out. But also like, if you have a loan, how can you get out of that? And how can you How can you pay off your debts? You don't learn that I score? I think that is really important. I think that they should bring also in our school. Yeah, how to do that.

Alex Villacis:

Of course. And for me, it would be to don't charge hourly charge per project. Yes, if you go for hourly, the problem is that you say like, okay, it takes me 20 hours to do a logo. I'm gonna charge let's say to say a ridiculous number. 10 euros per hour? Yeah, there'll be 200 euros.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah.

Alex Villacis:

Then you get better. And you say, it's not gonna tell me Take me 10 hours, it's gonna take me two hours. So because your skills, it's getting better. And because you're becoming faster at your work, you're making less money.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah.

Alex Villacis:

So charge per project and say a logo, again, to a ridiculous number. It's 200 euros. If it takes me 10 hours, and I'm getting 20 euros per hour. If it takes me one hour, I'm getting 200 euros per hour. Yeah, so that would be my key thing for people. It's like don't charge hourly charge per project.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

It is a really good point that you're putting out there. Yeah, I have the same thing because I was really struggling with okay. Because I started actually my design business when I was I think 16 or 18 was my Yeah, I was really young. But I wasn't that serious as I as I am now. So I quit it two things two years ago, and it was Kesha design, like my name is Sakeesha and also choosing like, oh my gosh. But then I quit it. And I started to focus more on school. But that was also one of the things. How are we going to price what I'm making? Because hourly to rate it's no, like you said when you're getting more skilled, there can work quicker. So but it doesn't mean that a failure of what you produce is going down. Understand?

Alex Villacis:

Yeah, totally. And it's also the value that you produce. And also saying to a client, hey, this is going to be 1000 euros if they say stay with let's say with logo because I think it's a good example that everybody will understand. Like it's 1000 euros, but this is the value that it will bring you. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, like it's not just a logo and also the value and also very important be able to tell if that's actually what your claim needs. Mm hmm. And be able to separate your clients. Like I always tell the story that I was working with. Back when I was in my first degree when I first did graphic design. I studied in Germany in Lubeck

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Oh nice

Alex Villacis:

And yeah, I was I had, I was in school, so any job was a great job, like anybody wanted to pay for designing something. He was amazing. And I was working with this guy, and he just had all these random ideas. He was like, I need a branding for myself as a consultant. And I'm like, okay, here it says, My brother needs branding for a cattle ranch that he wants to have. So there's another branding. And I was charging monthly fee for all the projects included. So sometimes I was making websites, I was making logos, I was making business cards in one month and charging 200 euros per month. I know it was so dumb. If this podcast can help one person from making that mistake, I am happy.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah. But no, I don't think it's dumb. It's a learning process, though. Exactly. It's a learning process.

Alex Villacis:

I like that better. It's a learning process and learning process. But Fun fact, like when did using your clients? He would rush me on these projects, like make the logo for the cattle ranch. And then I'll ask him, okay, so where we are now. And he's like, oh, he hasn't even bought the land. It's it's all in his head. Because it was there. He was creating our there was another one. He wanted to make a Coffee Company. Yeah. But he had no idea about the coffee industry, he genuinely thought that it was my job to take his branding to the lawyer and get the whole trademark thing done. And I'm like, that's not my job, sir.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

No, that is not your job.

Alex Villacis:

That's not my job, sir. He also thought that I was going to deliver him like finished packaging, like, all the labels I, I get like printing the labels, that's a normal thing, like working with a printer. But he thought it was gonna be my job to glue all the labels to the bags and fill up the bags and give him the finished packaging. And I'm like, that's also not my job. So I think that key lesson there, it's be able to ask your client the right questions.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah.

Alex Villacis:

And see if your services are actually what they need. Or maybe they're too early on.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Mm hmm.

Alex Villacis:

I remember a few then a couple. We didn't talk, we stopped working together because I there asked for a race. And the race he offered me was 20 euros. And I said, Okay, no, oh, I can't. And then a couple years later, we talked again, and he told me that he wanted to have a energy shot, he wants to develop an energy shot. And he wanted me to make a logo, makeup, packaging, make a branding, everything to create a buzz on social media. And I'm like, Okay, before we start older and wiser, where are you in the development process of this product? He's like, No, I just had the idea.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Okay

Alex Villacis:

And I thought you're making something for human consumption. That means that you need approval from governing bodies that would allow you to sell something people are going to drink, you have to create a formulation, you have to figure out how you're going to produce it. You cannot just cook this in your kitchen.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

No

Alex Villacis:

And he had none of that done. So I said respectfully, thank you. But no, thank you, you're not ready to do this part.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

And now you're pointing out this. I think that's also an important, important part like that. You can say no to people that approach you, instead of just taking it because you think it gives you money, but really being specific about who you want to work with. And don't be afraid to say no, that's that's because that's a mistake that I did made. Also, everything that I could get I was getting in, but not for good reasons. And also not in the right conditions. And that yeah, it doesn't help you forever, actually.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah. And that's the learning curve. I still have the problem. I still like jumping there. somebody tells me I have this idea. And I'm like, this is exciting. Yes, I'll do it. And then I mean to and I'm like, Oh, I shouldn't have done this.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

It's really hard, though. It's really hard to do. But really important. And do yeah, just learn how to do it and figure out different ways.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah. Where do you see creative education going in the future? Now that we have this digital component that you can learn anything on YouTube, you can learn you can reach out to people online? Do you think that we're going to lose that human human interaction? Do you see value in that human to human interaction?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Personally, I see a lot of value in human to human interaction. And like we had a whole COVID thing. And there we saw, I think that it's so important that we have human to human interaction we are made. I believe that we are made for that. But definitely, we're going to more technical way more way of getting education online. And that's also good. But I think it's so important to have that that or one mentor that understands you and where you can go back To ask questions to and a person that really challenge you also. But I don't think that, for me personally, what I noticed is as a fashion designer that I really didn't need school, I just went to school actually, for the paper more what I experienced. And I had more value in the people that I found, for example, yeah, my grandmother who learned me stuff. And other people that really helped me to understand how business work and gave me more insight about that. So I think that the face to face contact, human contact is really important, still, and I hope that people are going to appreciate us more because now we're living in a fast paced world. And everything we want to learn quick, but we forgot forgot that we need to take time to really understand things and to really get into the sign and really understand what design is, you cannot do that in three seconds or in one year, you need several years to really understand it. Yeah, so I think what what are what I appreciated more was like my internships, to really go in the field, more the old school side. So personally, I hope that people are gonna appreciate that again, in combination with like, self studies and online service.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah, I love that. Dude. Like, you can give an example. Maybe you can tell me if you agree with this example. It's not the same watching a YouTube video about a how to thread a sewing machine, then actually having to thread it.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Definitely. Because then in your head, you think that you know how it works. And I used to do it, I like what should I do now? And everything is getting stuck. So yeah, definitely doing I'm more a person of doing instead of just seeing things and then think that I can do it. But I can't actually

Alex Villacis:

I saw is really funny video on YouTube. It's I really liked this YouTuber, I think I think her kids are very cute. And she's very funny. And she got a sewing machine for herself. And then she bought she was like, I've never sewn use the sewing machine in my life. But I'm going to learn and I found this really cute fabric. And then she showed the fabric and I saw it and I was like, that's stretchy fabric. That's your first fabric? A stretchy material?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

No, man, that's that's painful.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

You need a different needle and you. You need to know how to sew it because you kind of mess it up.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah, it's like No, you go for like a cheap canvas or something that's hard that you know, or she was making the pattern and she would not put the pattern on to like, hold the pattern sheet and cut it in her hands. I was like, No, you put it on the table!

Sakeesha Balkaran:

On the table!

Alex Villacis:

What's wrong with you? Why is this happening? Imagine me watching the video thinking like, no, I wanted to reach into the screen and be like Oh, no, I had that in graphic design when I saw people in there using the RISO printer and putting transparent paper in it. And I thought no, that paper that paper doesn't absorb ink. It's going to get stuck it's going to get and then pulling back and saying like okay, it needs to get stuck. It's going to suck that I'm going to be here for two more hours but you learned by experience like some things you have to live through. Like getting paid as dumb small amount of money for a lot of work. Or pitching a terrible pitch and be like yeah, that sucked and and so on.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah, but also getting the courage again to do it again. Even that you messed up the first time.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah, and developing that thick skin to be like okay, I failed once i can i can fail I can fail and fail again. Feel better the next time. Yeah, exactly. Well, thank you so much for this interview Sakeesha. This is really really fun. I think we got into really cool topics. Can you tell the audience where to find you? And are there any books movies designers that you would recommend?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Oh, cool. So yeah, first of all I really liked talking with Joe was amazing. I was really fun to do this podcast and I enjoyed it I also learned a lot about your what you said um you can find me soon at my website studiounexpected.com And for the rest you can find me on Instagram Facebook my final project of my graduation is also on YouTube by the way so if you want to check that out, also studio unexpected and there are definitely a few books that I really like I have a book here what I'm missing with Brand The Change we got it with a branding classes. And it really points out like the importance part important parts of how to brand something and how that all works. Also with templates and everything and cases Yeah, it's really good. It's really I Love that book., I really would recommend that one. There's also another book

Alex Villacis:

What the name of the book again?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Brand the change.

Alex Villacis:

Oh, Brand the Change, ok

Sakeesha Balkaran:

And that's another book I did. It's about pricing as a graphic designer or as different artists, web designers, and it explains how the pricing works and also shows you visuals. I'm gonna, I'm gonna send the name because I cannot remember now.

Alex Villacis:

Does it happen to be a yellow book with black letters?

Sakeesha Balkaran:

No, its a blue book.

Alex Villacis:

Okay, I thought it was the same book that I'm reading. Okay. Okay.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

That one is a really good one. The book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I didn't know if you know it.

Alex Villacis:

I am reading that one right now

Sakeesha Balkaran:

That is so great

Alex Villacis:

I'm currently reading that one.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

It's really good. That when I am reading a book right now that I got from my husband, it's talent is overrated. also really good one. I'm not finished it. I didn't finish it yet. But it's really good one. So it goes about how we can get success and that it's not just about talent, but also about the amount of work that you put in a in an effort in your work. Now what I had another one, Oh, my goodness. It's about effectively. Okay, I'm gonna send you that the title too. But it's cool.

Alex Villacis:

Well, I will I will link everything of course in the show notes, like your information, your contact information, and all these books, because I think they're so valuable. And yeah, just, we tend to think like, yeah, books are overrated. No, books are not overrated. Oh, they're good.

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Yeah, really everything? And oh, yeah, there's one website. It's called Kingdom investors. And that one is a Christian. It's a Christian. website. And it's about like, how to put the principles of the Bible into business and how it works for you. So it's really interesting. Yeah, so I would recommend that went to the website, and the guy is David Hutchinson out of my head. And he created that platform. So yeah, really interesting guy. And he came one time, also to our church to give a sermon about how I start how he started. And he was in the military first and how we fell down and how we build everything up again, with with with the principles of the Bible, so it was really, really interesting. Also,

Alex Villacis:

Sounds so cool, I will definitely link that in t e show notes as well. No, tha k you so much. That was a gre t conversation. And yeah, I real y hope you have a great da

Sakeesha Balkaran:

Definitely you too. Thank you for everything, and in fighting me was an honour to talk to you and have this conversation. So thank you so much. It was fun.

Alex Villacis:

It was my pleasure. Well, we raised a lot of points on this conversation. And I love it. I love having these kind of conversations with people in which we can be critical about things always in a respectful way. And yes, I hit my finger on the table right now, that was the sound that you heard. And just be honest about things that we think are missing, and be respectful in how we present their criticism. I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I did. I always hope that I think that's gonna be my catchphrase. I don't know. Well, anyways, you should really look up Sakeesha. And her work. As you can hear, she's a very special designer in the sense that she graduated fashion design, but she's working on graphic design, because there's a lot of connective tissue between the two. And I personally really like her work and recommend that you'll find links to that in the show notes, as well as links to all the books she recommends. I have my own thoughts on Rich Dad, Poor Dad, maybe I'll make an episode about books specifically. An yeah, I have a lot of thought about it. Like, I have a lot o a lot of thoughts about a lot o things clearly, because have podcast. But yeah, I hope yo liked this episode, and you w ll look into Sakeesha work and hat you will reach out to her nd build a connection because here's but it's all about uilding connections and sharing nformation about creative ducation. Thank you, dear listener for joining me again today on this episode. I hope you enjoyed it. You'll find links to my guests information like there are a website or Instagram to that maybe the recommendations they made on the show notes, as well as a couple links that you may use if you want to support us in any way. But we appreciate anything you can do. If you give us a review, that would be great. If you share it with your friends, that would be awesome. And you'll find also links to our social media accounts if you want to just get in touch and give us your feedback. It is amazing to be able to make the show and to be in your ears. Stay curious. You'll keep learning and to talk again next week. Bye