Sonali Singh


As an army wife who had to move frequently, Sonali Singh Rao never imagined she would be able to pursue a career, let alone start a business. Posted in a remote area in Arunachal Pradesh with no internet connectivity, her only options were to work as a teacher or a homemaker. She tried both, and liked neither. 

She always loved arts and crafts, and painting was her creative outlet. She turned to these skills to try and build a career. When her husband was posted in Bareilly, she worked with the local kaarigars to make cushions and upholstery. When he was posted in Bangalore, she worked with companies to make giant paper flowers and props for their corporate events. These did not give her any recognition as an artist, but she was just happy for the opportunity. She continued working with acrylics and oil paints for her own creative satisfaction. 

Then in 2018, Sonali lost her father and went into depression. For the very first time, her art failed her as a mode of self-expression. She was too upset to even hold up a paintbrush, let alone create something. She felt lost and directionless. 

One day, she came across a video of someone making art with epoxy resin. There was no holding of paintbrushes involved; no line skills to master — the artist just mixed the paint and poured it out. Sonali got herself some resin and dyes and when she poured it out, it formed swirling patterns that were as beautiful as they were cathartic. She shared her first artwork online and it immediately received international attention. It turns out, 

Sonali’s techniques were flawless. Sonali emptied out whatever little savings she had to buy enough supplies to practice this new medium for six months. She posted her work online and gained a huge fan following. When her supplies ran out, she didn’t want to ask for money from her husband or anyone else. ‘To get the funds to buy more resin, I decided to start teaching students through a workshop. I was confident enough to be able to do that now.’ Nobody in India was using this medium at the time so there was a huge demand for her classes. Her workshop sold out, giving her enough funds to stock up on supplies again. Soon whatever she was making was flying off the shelves.

Today Sonali has a studio of her own, and a team of assistants, carpenters and fabricators. Together they create everything from table tops to trays to showpieces. She holds training sessions for corporate giants like Google. And above all, she finally feels like she has found a place for herself. ‘Starting from scratch and getting to a point where I have made a name for myself in India is a huge deal for me. I have achieved everything I wanted to do.’ 

And the next time her husband had to move? This time, Sonali didn’t pack up and leave with him. This time, she decided to stay back in Bangalore — for herself, for her career, for her business.