Why I launched my art business

Why I launched my art business

Here's the story.

On January 30th, 2020 at 5:57 AM my ringtone wakes me up.

I check my phone, heart racing, still half asleep.

It's my father.

I jolt awake, alarmed.

Thousands of scenarios cross my mind in the split second it takes to accept the call and hear my dad's voice on the line.

"Is it my grandma? Is she in the hospital? Has there been an accident? Is it my aunt?" I think.

But nothing, no amount of positive thinking, of deep breaths or prayers would have prepared me for what followed.

"It's Chris", he said.Normalize_This 4.jpg

I breathed my relief.

Christopher is my 23-year-old cousin living in the USA. "What happened? Did he get in an accident?" I asked patiently. If my father called at this hour, certainly Chris was at the hospital and my dad was calling for me so I could pray and support the family.

Another shock followed, breaking me, shattering my heart.

"No" he wept. "He's gone."


This must be a nightmare. 'I'm dreaming’, I thought to myself.

"What do you mean 'gone' daddy?"

I'll spare you the heart-wrenching details of what followed as the news of this tragedy started syncing in.

What am I saying?

A year and a few weeks later, I still cannot wrap my mind around this. My memories of Chrissy remain as fresh as if they happened yesterday, and the pain is still raw. Only thinking about his close family - his brother, sister, mom, dad, aunt - and the grief they are living is enough to rip me to pieces.

Even writing this is hard. Let's take a deep breath.

What does Chris have to do with me launching Koukatelier? Well, it has everything to do with it.

It was just 28 days earlier, as New Year's 2020 dawned on all of us, that Chris was celebrating and declaring that 2020 would be his best year yet. He saw 28 other mornings before drawing his last breath.Always in our hearts. Rest in power cousin.

Always in our hearts. Rest in power cousin.

He inspired me.

To live.

To do more.

To pursue my childhood dream.

If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” — John Lewis


Not long after Chris's passing and before we were all required to WFH and lockdown, a dear friend reached out to me, wanting some custom illustrations for her home office.

I immersed myself in her project, researching, trying new things and validating them with her. It took weeks, but we got it done. I mailed her 3 artworks, hoping they would get to her safely (spoiler: one got damaged -_-).

Soon after, another friend asked me for a custom illustration. Then another just encouraged me to start selling my art online.

That's what it took.


My friends, and support system.


Essence Collection
“Little girls with dreams become women with vision.” — Unknown

They believed in me and my skills before I even knew for myself that I could do this. It took their faith in me. Their encouragements. It took the willingness to learn (i.e - how to ship art safely, accounting and business planning).

And finally, it took courage to be unapologetically creative.

I do this - launch Koukatelier, create content and strive to upgrade my skills - because I'm passionate about art and believe in the power it has to rally, to encourage, to support.

I do this because ART is my therapy.

Koukatelier has always been a dream of mine. So thank you for following along my creative journey and artistic universe.

By doing so, you are supporting a dream - and more.

Xo, Kouka.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.