Are you ready for studio space?
If you’re like me, having an at-home studio wasn’t possible. For one, I currently rent my townhome; two, my townhome doesn’t have a garage; and three, my townhome has an unfinished 500 sq/ft basement without running water, AC/heat, and is full of my husband and my boxes of holiday decor, childhood items, his hobbies, among other miscellaneous items. My first two and a half years of business I managed in this basement. I processed flowers in my living room and kitchen, lugging heavy buckets of water up and down the stairs praying the roses would open in the summer sun on my patio, all while scolding (but really laughing) at my two dogs for stealing flower stems and shredding them. Let’s not even talk about the inventory storage situation or lack thereof.
My business grew, and upon booking my first two-wedding weekend, I knew I needed to figure out another option. Luckily my floral designer friend had a 1000sq/ft space she was willing to share, and it just so happened to be a five-minute drive from my house. Score! This was an enjoyable experience; friendship, understanding of what this floral job entails, laughter, helping each other out when the other needed. It was great.
Again, growth happened for both of us, and we reluctantly had to split ways. With no other option but to look for a space of my own, the hunt began! I reached out to a commercial real estate agent, and she helped me hone in on what I needed, wanted, could afford, didn’t like, did like, the space size…. long list, I tell ya. I knew retail was not something I wanted to venture towards, so having a storefront was not important. All I needed was storage, water, space to build a CoolBot cooler, and perhaps the ability to host a workshop or two.
About three months later I found it! A 1300 sq/ft basement warehouse space. (So big!) The location, again, is near where I currently live and where I grew up. As a kid in the back of my parents' car we drove by the building all the time with signs stating “Artist studios for rent!” and I thought as we passed “I’m going to have a studio there one day.” Did I just give you chills? Can you believe it? It came true! Funny how life works sometimes.
Now, let’s be real here. I jumped off a cliff. I increased my overhead a lot. I had to purchase things I didn’t know I had to buy: furniture, light bulbs, storage racks, a broom. Then there’s the CoolBot - it’s AMAZING but costs some dollars you guys, even if your brother and dad build it for you. Oh, you bought this adorable chandelier to hang in your consult area? Yeah, you need an electrician to install that. Hey, so you want a utility sink in place of your current tiny sink? Yeah, there’s a plumber to call. Crap, the men’s bathroom drain isn’t draining, and it’s backing up into your sink? (Luckily that was the landlord’s bill, but I still had to deal with flooding, damage, and a high level of humidity in my space.)
The studio space is amazing, and it warms my heart to be there, but I do have to pay attention to my expenses/overhead when booking weddings. Do I want to charge my couples more because I have a studio space? No! Do I have to? Yes. I need to make sure my work and personal bills are paid on top of all the materials and supplies that are required for a single event. I try to be at my studio as much as possible, but end up doing work from home (as we all do). I also work part-time at an animal eye doctor, so scheduling actual work hours for myself is still a bit foreign. Typically, I stay until my task list is finished for the day or until I am too tired to do quality work.
There’s the argument that having a studio space makes the designer more legit - I don’t necessarily agree with this, but the compliments on my studio are lovely. Allowing my couples to come in to see and play with my inventory does allow for them to visualize their wedding flowers/decor a bit more than with a photo. Do the couples that come in for a consultation book me because of my studio? I don’t have those statistics for you. I think what really matters is the connection between you and them, the type of customer service and trustworthiness you provide, and of course whether or not your aesthetic matches theirs.
Are you ready for a studio space? Here are a few questions to think through:
- Remember to look at your other bills/overhead, can you add rent to the list?
- Are you okay with increasing your prices to accommodate for this new endeavor?
- Is your business growing, and are you ready to expand it more?
- What are your priorities? What do you need in a studio to be able to get your work done?
- Read and understand the lease on the space, sometimes having a commercial real estate agent to help walk you through helps!
- How are you going to decorate your new space?!
Do you have questions for me? I’m an open book! Leave a comment below - I’d love to hear from you!