We had the good fortune of connecting with Sugandha Rosenhaft and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sugandha, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
La Dee Da Studio was created out of my own passion for the arts and a curiosity for early childhood learning. I was born to two extremely creative parents who were pioneers in their own regard. Growing up as a little girl in a small town in India, we didn’t have access to a lot of technology or big box stores, or even a lot of supplies. My dad who was an engineer would conjure up ideas and creations out of household supplies. There was always a DIY project of some sort around me. I was surrounded by freethinking and artistic expression. My mother was a successful female entrepreneur owning several businesses and I was raised with a strong sense of individuality, the value of hard work and hustle, and full creative freedom! My journey with La Dee Da started when my own children were rather young. My daughter Samara was 4 and my son Liam was just 2 at the time. As someone who was relatively new to parenting, I was also very the curios about how the arts played into early childhood education and drew a lot of comfort from my own childhood experiences. In observing my own two children I realized that kids have different learning styles, and that they learn more by doing and exploring. I was very attracted to the Reggio Emilia and Montessori way of self-guided experiential learning, but wanted to create something of my own. La Dee Da was created out of a lot of love and passion but also a very calculated methodology. I wanted children to be able to come and explore their surrounding and senses through art and in an environment that was open and warm and inviting. I wanted to allow children to feel uninhibited about expressing themselves, being ok with messy paint splatters, have the ability to experience the sensory stimulation when working with clay, or use a pair of scissors at a young age, or even experience the sensation of wet paint on their hands and even their feet! I wanted to give them access to tools like a hammer or a sewing machine that they might not necessarily have till they got older. At the time I did not find a place that necessarily transcended children from crayons and coloring sheets to more meaningful forms of self-expression. At La Dee Da, I feel we have achieved that. We’re so much more than “just” an art studio! We believe that all children are born creative. We believe that math and science and art all go hand-in-hand to provide a well-balanced learning. We do it all in a fun, safe and loving atmosphere. We have top quality instructors and our curriculum is carefully curated with trends and themes that speak to the culture and interests of our children today!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My formal education is in graphic design. After graduating from The Art Institute of Atlanta, I worked for one of the largest global leaders in the gaming and lottery industry. I designed ticket art for scratch off lottery tickets. Although it was a great financially paying job right out of art school, it was very far away from my creative dreams and I slowly started craving the entrepreneurial experience that was planted in me from watching my own parents as a young girl. A few years into my young career I got married and I planned all aspects of my own wedding. This got me excited about event planning, especially invitation design. I found that I could use my artistic creativity along with the graphic design skills I had learnt at art school and my natural flair for design and I started my first business out of my basement selling hand painting wedding invitations. From there grew a second business that became a nationally recognized brand of fine custom stationery. That really was the foundation of my entrepreneurial dreams. I had serval lines of custom wedding invitations, a bar & bat mitzvah line, a holiday line and even a line of social stationery. My company designed and sold invitations to over 300 high-end custom retailers and stationers around the US and in Canada. We designed invitations for celebrity clients and got recognition in top bridal publications. We attended the top trade show markets in NY. I had a team of designers, sales, customer service personnel and an overseas manufacturer. That business taught me a LOT!!! I learned how passion, talent and hard work alone cannot lead to business success. I learned about supply and demand and customer service. I learnt how to manage staff and be a better leader, I learned about finances, I learned how to not take everything on face value, I learned about the manufacturing industry and to always have multiple sources to manufacture your product. I learned about competition and business contracts and employees, I learned a lot about people, but I mostly learned about my own strengths and weakness. I also learned about juggling motherhood and a business and the emotions associated with the pressure of wanting to excel at both. After almost 8 years of running that business, a recession and competition from the online stationery world and an unhealthy toxic relationship with my manufacturing facility, that business dream came to an end. I had just had my daughter and then subsequently my son and that led to the birth of my 3rd business called La Dee Da! I don’t believe that any experience is ever wasted. I have taken a lot of what I have learned from my past and have been able to apply those pitfalls and turn them into learning lessons. It makes me stronger, more mature and effective as a business owner. I also have realized that things may not always go as you originally had planned. Surviving and pivoting these last few months of COVID-19 has taught me the importance of being able to change course and implement a new plan very quickly. It’s been quite a journey and I’m excited about what’s to come!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Atlanta is an interesting mix of culture and newness at the same time. It’s got some fun pockets of history and whimsy all set in a sprawling modern city with museums and the Aquarium of course. We love ethnic food and exploring new restaurants. Probably a drive down Buford Highway and enjoying some cultural cuisines. There are a ton of really fun day hikes and picnic spots along the Chattahoochee, or a short trip to Amicalola Falls or Red Top Mountain. An afternoon spent at Ponce City Market or Krog Street with a bike ride or walk along the belt line. Or some time spent exploring fun shops at Little Five Points. The Atlanta Botanical Garden always has a spectacular exhibits of seasonal plants and flowers. Or one could even do an overnight trip to the mountains!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Aaah! That is tough one to answer. For me personally it’s been an entire village of people surrounding me from the get go and for that I’m truly blesses. I have an amazing inner circle of friends, family members and community that truly believe in what I have created at La Dee Da and they constantly cheer me on and keep me accountable and grounded. My parents taught me to allow room for my own individuality and creativity in business, they taught me the value of hard work. I lean on my husband and my father-in-law for financial advice, my brother who lives all the way in India for bouncing more of the business ins and outs and being a non-judgemental sounding board. He also teaches me to remain humble and compassionate while working with people. My friends who are parents themselves who feed me new ideas for programming, and my own children who are my forever “test audience” and my most honest critics. I have some amazing mentors in the form of books and podcasts I listen to further educate myself about business and leadership and personal growth. I admire works by John Maxwell, Dave Ramsey & Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard, Ed Mylett, Brené Brown, Jay Shetty, Joe Dispenza, Oprah, to name a few! Not everyday is easy, but I love the adrenalin that comes from putting the puzzle pieces together and working through breakdowns.
Other: Pinterest: @ladeedastudio