small business success story mississauga raheel

Passing on Traditions Through Business

Raheel Patel is the owner of Holy Cow Studios in Mississauga. ‘Holy Cow’ is what most people say when they first see the space. This art studio is inspired by Raheel’s upbringing in India and the traditional art-making he grew up with. This studio sells cultural and personalized art pieces, hosts art workshops for the public, and has recently transformed to include a stamping studio. This stamping studio supplies people with essential art materials such as natural dye that people can use to ‘stamp’ on to their choice of article such as t-shirts or bags.

This dream project has been years in the making and was brought to fruition in the Summer of 2018, when Raheel was accepted into the Starter Company PLUS Program delivered by the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre (MBEC). In this program, he was able to gain knowledge and fundamental skills about running a business. Raheel was also a grant recipient of this program, where he was able to use the money in the launch of his business and in finding a retail location.

“I consider myself fortunate to have enrolled in the Starter Company Plus Program and to have received a grant. I learned a lot about running my own business because as an artist and creative it can be hard sometimes for me to understand the logistics. It is a wonderful program that has given me many opportunities and the confidence to open my own business.” 

RAHEEL’S STORY

Raheel’s upbringing and Indian culture has been a huge inspiration for his business endeavours. Raheel was born and raised in India, where he completed his Bacherlor’s of Fine Arts. He then immigrated to Canada and attended Centennial College, where he studied cultural and museum management. Having grown up in a culture that embraced arts and crafts, he decided he needed to incorporate his own heritage through his art, in Mississauga. His educational background, traditional upbringing, and passion for the arts have been critical factors in the success of opening his own business.

Raheel’s focus is not just on selling art but it is also on creating art. The addition of stamping art will allow people to collaborate in the studio and be part of a larger community. Raheel also hosts art workshops in school in Peel. In the last year, Raheel attended 38 different schools and taught art to over 4,000 students. One of Raheel’s main initiatives with this art studio is also, to be environmentally friendly. He ensures all materials are natural and organic and emphasizes creating art in a sustainable manner. Through Holy Cow Studios, Raheel hopes to create an engaging space for people to learn more about environmentally friendly art and to use traditional art practices to create their own art. 

RAHEEL’S ADVICE TO OTHER ENTREPRENEURS

  • Some things you just have to do; don’t overthink decisions.
  • Do your research, be confident, and let things take their course and everything will fall into place.
  • Don’t be afraid of starting your own business; take initiative and don’t be scared of risks.
  • Always try to look for alternate solutions for business sustainability. Is there a better alternative?

Raheel’s goals for Holy Cow Studios moving forward is to continue to promote environmentally friendly art and to incorporate this practice of traditional techniques taught in his workshops. For example, some traditional practices include block printing and traditional toy making, which will use clay instead of plastic. Raheel’s art background and passion for sustainable art have been key for the success of Holy Cow Studios.