Yesterday we announced the big news over on instagram: We got the keys for our first commercial studio space! What does this mean? Oh gosh, where do I start? It means so many things are about to change! It also means that yes, from 2009 when I started this business up until now, we have not had commercial space because I've managed to squeeze a tiny studio into my home this entire time! Let it be known, it can be done. But we've reached a point in the business when this isn't the right option for us anymore. The frugality of staying put was beginning to overshadow our potential for growth. So here we are, keys in hand!
Signing onto a commercial lease is scary. I'm not going to pretend that it isn't and only share the celebratory side of this with you. Kim and I have spent countless hours creating lists and spreadsheets, and we toured several different spaces starting way back in 2015 before finding this space that felt really right.
Our wishlist looked something like this:
Convenient to home: We're used to a home studio after all, so any commute was out of the question. Under 5 miles is preferred.
Great natural light: I'll be shooting all of my instagram and blog content in this space so abundant natural light is key.
Square footage to accommodate multiple work stations and room to grow: We need a space for working with the wet clay, glazing, glaze making, glaze spraying, firing the kilns, packing orders, storing inventory, office/desk space for emails and social media, photography area, and prop storage.
Unit controlled and billed electrical: Many spaces had shared electrical and our kilns' electrical usage was a curveball we didn't want to deal with monthly with our landlord and other tenants.
Space and permission to wire and vent the kilns.
Plumbing for clay and glaze work, bathroom in unit is a bonus.
Our new space hits ALL of these marks, which is pretty incredible! We were able to accept the space on an "As Is" condition making our monthly rental rate a little lower than it would have been if we'd asked the landlord to outfit the space for our needs. The only downside to this is that we're responsible for the cost and effort to bring the space up to our expectations, which is also kinda an upside for me because I'm pretty particular about things. (Anyone who knows me probably just chuckled out loud.)
One of the primary areas we'll be address right away is the flooring. We thought we were getting concrete floors in the unit but they turned out to be concrete-colored linoleum that's in pretty rough condition as you may notice from the photos. We've been researching some options and we're planning to try painting them. More on that later, I'm sure. It'll either be a great, cost effective option we can finish in the next few days.. or a terrible idea that we'll quickly abandon! I'm already pinning lots of studio inspiration over on my Studio Workspace Pinterest board, so if the painting option is a bust, I'll just pull inspiration from over there.
Now for some sneak peek photos from inside our new space! These are totally raw, first day photos. I seriously can't wait until these "Before" photos have their "Afters." The entire unit is just over 1,100 square feet and the first two photos show the front room where I'll be doing my blog and social media shooting. We totally got our "great natural light" with this corner unit and full windows!
I'm planning to place a dining table in the nook below that I'll style with our latest pieces.
This next photo shows one of the two office spaces we have. This first room will likely be used for some of my design and computer work, and maybe some of the packing and shipping. It's a bigger space than what I actually need for an office, so we'll probably double-up that room with a second purpose.
Next is the second office space which is a little smaller. Size wise it's a better option for my office, but we're aiming to keep our workflow linear to boost efficiency. With that in mind this space works better as a clay room considering the area in front of those doors where I'm standing is also going to be a clay work area.
Lastly is our back room which has an in unit bathroom! No need to make dusty foot prints in a common space! This back room will house our kilns, a work sink (again making use of the in unit plumbing), and a glaze spray booth. If you caught my instagram stories today where I shared a photo of ice encrusted glaze from my outdoor spray session, you can probably appreciate how excited an indoor spray booth in a heated studio space makes me!
That's the space! What do you think? I'll be sharing updates along the way, both here and on instagram so if you have any questions at all, please ask away! When I started the process of finding a studio and preparing for this next big step I was disappointed to find that so few successful businesses have shared how they've done it. How do you go from throwing pots in your one bedroom apartment to opening your first commercial space? Well, that's my actual trajectory and I want to share it with you. I'll do my best to cover the basics that I think you may want to know, but like I said, if there's something specific you're curious about, just ask!
As always, we couldn't grow this business without each and every one of you! Thank you for being a part of Suite One Studio!