I have neglected my blog; I started it quite some time ago and then forgot about it. While my Facebook and Instagram accounts are definitely meant to promote my Ragmaw bags, I wanted this blog to be about something entirely different. I wanted to use the blog to share my experience as an artist, crafter, and business person in order to encourage others who might be thinking about starting their own small craft business; or to, at least, provide a little peak at this journey.
Anyhow, I really hope I can be a more dedicated blogger... starting now.
I want to share my most recent experience in something that I do a lot of but, almost always, feel anxiety about... moving. In July of this year, I decided that I needed to make a change for my business; I needed more workspace, I needed to move my studio.
In December 2013, I set up my first 'official' studio inside the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation . It was an amazing opportunity for me to test out my dream of making a living from my hand-crafted bags! The studio space was about 12 x 10 feet with a lovely high ceiling, white-washed walls, and the sweetest view of 'the gut' (aka the tiny harbour of Quidi Vidi Village). The Quidi Vidi Village Plantation itself is an amazing building, surrounded by breathtaking scenery and wildlife. But, not only does it have all of that aesthetic jazziness, it is also a major tourist hotspot in the city. And so, I was guaranteed a regular flow of potential customers. Add to that mix nine other talented artisans and it was actually the dream spot to start up my little handbag business!
But, a year and a half in, I felt really short on space. My once peaceful studio felt chaotic, jammed with WAY too much stuff, and I felt really unorganized. When I had more ideas that I had space, I knew that I would have to move on.
Finding a new space
And this was the hardest part. Seriously, I was checking Kijiji every 5 minutes to see if any new listings had been posted. I started off with a solid list of must-haves and, after a month of searching, decided to go with must-find-anything-with-four-walls-that-doesn't-cost-a-small-fortune. I was wrapped up in the quest for the best studio and it was extremely stressful. Had I made a mistake!? Yikes, sometimes the cycling of decisions and possible outcomes can get in your head and drive you mad. How I finally found a space (after looking at some and running screaming from others): I asked around. I asked everyone I knew: 'do you know of anyone who might be renting a small space in the downtown area?' And, finally someone did know of a place. For anyone who is thinking about renting a dedicated studio space, this is a really good place to start. Just ask, everyone and anyone at all... something WILL turn up for you.
The new space and micro-meltdown
As many of you know now, I LOVE my new studio. A few of the best reasons:
-it's above my favorite local shop, Twisted Sisters Boutik
-said local shop also houses and serves the local Fixed Coffee, dandy hot beverages!
-it's on Water Street, a little (ok itsy bitsy) slice of downtown real estate
-I get a display room and a workroom (TWO SEPARATE SPACES)
-my third floor window still allows me a decent harbour view
But, back to the meltdown part. A friend of mine has recently moved back to Newfoundland; when I asked if she was happy to be back home, she said it was good but it also felt sad and overwhelming because she was still living out of a suitcase: the transition period. And that was exactly how I felt when I moved my studio from Quidi Vidi to Water Street. Suddenly, the excitement about more space was dampened by my fear that no one would find me in this new spot. And, 'omg I didn't realize I would miss the high ceilings in my old space.' And, 'what if I get lonely here without the other artisans and I lose my mind because I'm so lonely?' These are crazy thoughts but I felt like I had definitely gone wrong. (Sorry to my boyfriend who was probably wishing he had booked a vacation away during the move).
I hadn't gone wrong of course. In 1.5 weeks, I felt better. I was ready to settle in. I was finally digging my way out of the feelings that come with any change and I was able to remember why I needed to make the move in the first place.
|putting my logo up at 175 Water Street|
I felt thankful for the space and got ready to make it my own... but I wasn't going to do it all on my own, let's not get crazy now. I recruited my DIY'er/designer/re-furb friend extraordinaire: Natasha, from The Simply Inspired Blog
The studio makeover
Natasha, please help me!! A few reasons that the space needed a face-lift:
-the lighting was, well, dim.
fluorescent lights... sometimes they try to come on but only get to a halfway fluttering effect. I had a really sweet retro light fixture, dragged from my grandparents' basement, that I was dying to use anyways!! (If you know me well, then you know that I love taking old things from my childhood home and giving them a new purpose)
-there was a full wall of sunken storage shelves; awesome for fabrics but a hugely distracting element in a small room
-how do we make it inviting for customers? like a mini-shop? I had lots of shelving but I couldn't seem to arrange it in a way that didn't make it look like storage
So, here are the BEFORE pics!
You can also follow Natasha, a local gal herself, on Instagram and Facebook
Thank you Thank you to Natasha
**for swooping in like a pro and helping me create a studio space that I love **