Growing a (South Asian) side business and working full time

The Cute Pista is a lighthearted brand celebrating our diverse South Asian heritage from the viewpoint of a first-generation American. The quirky, relatable designs are a glimpse into our unique (and pretty hilarious) culture. 

Growing up, I was a chronic doodler. It brought me so much joy to draw things inspired from our day-to-day life. And as far as I remember, I always enjoyed creative arts and design. Fast forward a decade or two, I graduated with an architecture degree and found a job in construction. I felt fulfilled with the technical work I was doing at my 9-to-5, but missed having a creative outlet, which led me to start The Cute Pista.

When I started working on this venture a little over a year ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t have a big game plan, just a desire to create and contribute. The illustrations I made were an extension of my own personality and humor, and I aimed to reignite the artistic past I subdued to make space for my corporate present.

To date I work a full time job and design illustrations that bring me closer to my roots as a passion project. Balancing work, life, and creative side hustles means you’re wearing many different hats, and initially these can feel at odds with each other. I've been fortunate enough to innovate and create in my free time, and I hope my work inspires others to follow their passions, even when "adulting" may come in the way.

Through this journey, I have discovered the breadth of talent our community holds, and it’s been an amazing experience to highlight our culture in a light-hearted and fun way. Reflecting on the past year, it’s been incredible connecting with so many talented South Asian creatives that are pursuing their endeavours, both as side projects or full time ventures. I am so excited for the collaboration with Lukh, which will be a celebration of our culturally rich and colorful weddings.


About the Author

Neha is a self-taught illustrator, chronic doodler, and avid traveler born and raised in London and living in Chicago. The Cute Pista highlights her love for puns with a unique, desi twist. She tries to not take life too seriously, and her illustrations are a reflection of her personality and humor.