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AAPI Small Business Series: It’s That Time of Year Series

Enter a kaleidoscope of entrepreneurial excellence and cultural heritage with the AAPI Small Business Series. Through this seventeenth article, we introduce the AAPI Small Business Series It’s That Time of Year Series. Meet the owner Vanessa Kapadia, a former engineer turned author who has ventured into the realm of storytelling to create captivating books that serve as cultural guides for young children exploring Hindu festivals and celebrations. Join her journey and discover her delightful collection through the It’s That Time of Year Series.

Tell us about yourself & what your business does.

I’m Vanessa Kapadia Engineer turned author. I create fun and engaging books which act as guides for young children to learn more about Hindu festivals and celebrations (such as Diwali, Holi and Raksha Bandhan). Each book is filled with not just our rich culture, but other more universal concepts like counting, colours & shape recognition making it a unique and exciting way to demonstrate these concepts to young minds in kinder, preschool and schools. There are games on almost every page to keep it engaging time after time.

How long have you been in business and how did it all begin?

It started in mid-2021 but the need for it began even before my children were born. I was worried about how I would be able to pass on our culture to the next generation having not grown up in India but raised in Australia. When my oldest child was 1.5 years old, I noticed how impactful reading was to him and every day when I would read to him, I would just get inspired with ideas of my own. One of those was to create a book series for festivals and celebrations focused on explaining the traditions, what you need to perform the rituals and the significance of what is being done. So, I created my first children’s book “It’s That Time of Year! Diwali is here!” which details day by day the rituals of Diwali told in a fun and memorable rhyme.

What are some challenges you have faced in running this company, as well as an Asian-owned small business?

One of the biggest challenges is being a one-person show. Meaning, that I perform so many different roles (marketing, sales, inventory management, accounting, designing, proofing, and editing …. To name a few). It’s been a very steep learning curve these past few years, but I’ve learned so many new skills and systems as a result.

What are your thoughts on the changing landscape in the industry?

It’s so lovely to see so much more representation out there for all different cultures specifically South Asian. I also think it’s important to evolve with the times which is why a lot of the books include modern elements to the rituals we perform (for example, For Raksha Bandhan the book includes broader discussions around Raksha Bandhan to include sibling bonds instead of just traditional brother-sister bonds).

What are your favourite things about your company?

My favourite part of creating the book series is without a doubt seeing children enjoying the books whether it’s recounted to me by their parents or through photos or videos. An added bonus is the light-bulb moment they get when they use what they learnt from the books and apply it to the festival/celebration, the way their faces light up when that happens truly makes my soul happy.

What are your hopes and dreams at your company?

My hope is to help educate in a fun way (for both the child and parent) and provide parents with all the resources and tools they need to be able to pass down our culture to the next generation.

How can we best follow and support you?

Follow @itsthattimeofyear_series on Instagram and Facebook. Also helping to spread awareness of the books by sharing posts. And if the books align with you and what you hope to pass on to your children/family or just want to broaden your child’s exposure to different cultures then also grab a copy (or two! – they make great gifts) from Amazon.

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