To fully understand why I’m feeling all these emotions…let’s take a stroll down memory lane. ;o)
In 2009 when I first started my business I met clients at Starbuck’s, I shot all sessions on location, and I did all my office work out of my home. It was just me at that time…and that’s what worked. Early in 2010 we started looking for a place for me to use as a meeting place for my clients. I was tired of meeting people in Starbuck’s where I had to speak over a latte/cappuccino/whatever that loud machine is they have there. :o) We weren’t really looking for anything very large..or anything that needed a lot of work…but we ended up finding this place. It was over 5,000 square feet. It had two apartments upstairs (my husband had always wanted to be a landlord) and there was tons of potential downstairs for not only a meeting space..but a studio space. I fell in love. :o) I looked past ALL the work that needed done, I looked past the fact that the building was built in 1920 and hadn’t had any updates since the 1970’s…I looked past the fact that we were probably going to have to fork out a lot of money to make it work for me. And…against our better judgement….we bought it. :o/ At the time the downstairs was rented out to a hair salon and the two upstairs apartments were both rented out to tenants..so we figured we’d just leave it that way for a while, make some money that we could use to pay it off quicker…and then maybe in 6-9 months…we’d start fixing up the downstairs. Well, things changed with the tenants…and we found ourselves ripping out 1970’s paneling before summertime. We ripped down the paneling, we tore down walls, ceilings, electrical work, etc. We completely gutted the downstairs of that building. Every extra dollar I made from my business went into new drywall, all new electrical, brand new laminate wood flooring, new ceiling, etc. I spent more time shopping at Lowe’s than I did at my own home. :o) At least…that’s what it felt like. :o) But…after 15 months…and lots of money…I finally had the meeting place and studio that I had always wanted.
Sounds great, right? Not so much. Above all this newly remodeled work was two upstairs apartments…that hadn’t been touched since the 70’s. Which meant…leaky plumbing, leaky roof, etc. And…all those leaky items….caused leaks in my ceiling of my studio. I can’t even tell you how many times I would walk into the studio…and it would be flooded. Sometimes from a leaky pipe…and others because disrespectful tenants “forgot to turn off their bath water.” It was awful. All of a sudden all this hard work and money we had put into this place…was just going to waste. We found ourselves spending tons of unexpected money towards repairs and replacements. It was something that we just didn’t realize we would have to do.
In 2012 when we found out that we were going to be having a baby…we decided that there was no way we were going to have the extra time or the extra money to take care of this place. It had turned into a money pit…and we were tired of throwing money into it…to just have a new problem the next week. We knew it was time to make a really tough decision…but in all honesty…it really wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be. I already did the majority of my office work at home…and really the only time I was at my studio was to meet with clients and to shoot the occasional indoor session. The majority of our sessions were still outdoors, on location and there wasn’t really a big need for me to have a studio. I was easily spending $700+ a month on utilities….but wasn’t using them. So…we realized that getting rid of this building was not only going to be a huge relief of stress off our backs but it was also going to save us a lot of money.
So…in 2013…after the arrival of our little guy, we decided to put it on the market. And…after almost a year on the market…I’m happy to say that in May 2014 we got an offer and accepted. :o) Over the past 45 days we’ve been slowly moving everything out of my studio and into a storage unit or to our home. It’s been bittersweet as I’ve taken down photos that I’ve shot over the years and to think of all the clients that have come into the studio… but…it’s amazing to stop and think all the positive things that are coming out of this.
We no longer have the stress of having to go down and repair something or pay to have something repaired. We no longer will have to pay for electricity, gas, water, sewer, security system, internet, phone, insurance, at our home and the studio. Honestly..it was almost like owning two homes…and if you own a home….just add up all your bills…and double it. Yeah…not fun, huh? :o)
So…since announcing this on my facebook a few weeks ago and also writing about it on the Boudoir Chicks Blog and Newsletter I’ve had so many people ask me… “Are you quitting photography? Are you going out of business? Are you getting a new studio? etc.”
So…I want to take this time in my blog..to tell you the answers to that. First of all… HECK NO we are not quitting or going out of business. 2014 has been our most successful year yet. There is absolutely NO WAY we are going anywhere. We are simply going back to the basics. We will meet our clients at Coffee Shops, just like we did in the beginning. We will go back to doing ALL our sessions on locations…like we pretty much always have anyways. And…we will continue to do all our office work/post processing at our home…like we ALWAYS have since day one. As for a new studio…we will see. We haven’t really decided on that yet. Since we’ve been so busy with the studio over the past five years…we’ve sort of neglected our home. There are home improvement jobs we’d like to do. We’re having a brand new garage built in August….and maybe even build onto our home for additional space. Or…maybe we’ll buy some property and build a new house…and I’ll have an in home studio. Or…maybe I’ll find a smaller space to rent in downtown Terre Haute. Who knows! The sky is the limit! Right now we are in the middle of our wedding season…and I’m trying to concentrate on continuing to make my clients happy…and to be a good mom and wife. :o)
I do want to make sure to take some time in the post to Thank You…my clients. If it wasn’t for you…I would have never even had the studio..so thank you. Thank you to those of you who came to my open house, to those of you who had photo shoots at the studio or met me at my studio. Thank You! :o) Thank you for supporting me and my business from day one. It means the world to me.
So for now…we’ll go back to meeting clients at coffee shops. We’ll go back to shooting all our sessions on locations…and we’ll go back to the basics of what made this business successful from day one. I’ll spend more time being able to shoot and edit…instead of fixing leaky pipes and dealing with an old building.
And..most importantly…as a mom and wife I’ll go back to spending even more time with my two guys…and being happier. :o) Enjoy some photos from before, during, and after our renovation. :o) – MC