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Conversations with Martina Sestakova

Today we’d like to introduce you to Martina Sestakova.

Hi Martina, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My name is Martina Sestakova and am the owner of RADOST, a small business based in Kensington, MD. The name of my company is the Czech word for ‘joy’. I focus on three areas of products/services: wearable art (I design original textiles that I turn into scarves and necklaces), abstract painting (I paint in acrylic inks on Yupo), and art education (I lead a variety of private and public art workshops).

Originally from the Czech Republic, I have lived in the United States for over 20 years and after a career in clinical trials, I started my company while finishing a master’s degree in fashion design. All kinds of twists and turns lead to where I am today. It’s been a pleasure building my company for 7 years in the DMV region.

What a journey small business ownership is! I am proud to share that my designs have been featured at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, and on Voice of America. I have participated in art exhibitions on the East Coast and my artworks are collected internationally. And I enjoy working on commissions.

Meeting interesting people in my art classes has been so much fun! I can’t wait to see what comes next.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Creating and being an entrepreneur at the same time has been a steep – yet great – learning experience. It’s a rather vulnerable act to create something – such as a unique scarf or a painting or a workshop idea – and then share it with the public. It’s important to be self-assured and proud of the work one produces. It has not always been smooth along the way – there are rejections from stores, unanswered email requests, and declines from art shows. But… it’s so great to learn and improve on communications and connections with others.

I find that the struggle is not others but my own perception of my work. I used to undervalue my ideas, not pursue them, or underprice my services. That would turn into a mixture of complex feelings. I have learned to focus and prioritize and learn from other small business owners. They are an amazing source of information and support!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
As I mentioned earlier, I focus on three areas: wearable art, abstract paintings, and art education. One of my favorite memories is going for a walk in my town and someone calling out ‘Hello, artist!’ – to this day, I don’t know where it came from, but I giggled the whole way home. That’s what I am known for. The name of my company is the Czech word for joy, which – as it turns out – is a fabulous umbrella for all of my interests and activities. I love connecting with others and really delving into what it means to create, learn about oneself, and build a community through shared values of curiosity and care.

I love story-telling and words and they are a constant part of my work. As I design my textiles, I write about them – each pattern has a title and a short story of inspiration. As I paint, I capture the perceived meaning of words (that I find in books and poems) in bright colors, interesting shapes, and textures. Painting is such a healing process for me. And walking into a classroom brightens up my day: I have met so many interesting people! I teach at retirement communities, in afterschool programs for immigrant teenagers, and privately in family/business groups. What amazing times!

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
My favorite word is joy and figuring out a way to live a joyous life filled with curiosity and kindness brings a sense of fulfillment to my days. I enjoy being outside and drawing inspiration for my designs/paintings in nature and while traveling around the world.

Talking to people about their lives fascinates me. Oh, there are just so many fun things that fall under the umbrella of ‘joy’ that my days are always stimulating.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Jordan Snyder and Martina Sestakova

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