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Moving Studios Saga

Ah jeez. Where do I even begin? This is such a loaded topic for me. It use to be a super frustrating topic to even talk about. I feel like this is something that needs to be said though because so many of us go through something similar and no one talks about it to the general public and amongst fellow creators. There's so much backstory that I won't cover here, but enough for hopefully everyone who reads this to take some lessons from what I've gone through when it comes to renting your own spaces.

As of now, this is my second studio space that I'm moving out of for reasons beyond my control. For those who are thinking about renting/leasing a space out for business purposes. PLEASE, for the LOVE OF ALL THINGS SANITY SAVING, do your research. Interview your landlord or whoever is in charge of the building. See if you can chat with the tenants on what they think of how everything runs and if they've had any issues new renters should be aware of. This is such an important part of the process of renting a space. So many people will tell you "it's the location, it's your foot traffic, it's how boujie your signage is, etc." Not that these aren't important, but they also don't always play a part in your business. How the building is ran and who your landlord is a hell of a lot more important than all of that.

Speaking from experience. I haven't had a great run with landlords. What blows my mind is people will be in charge of a building and think they're not involved in your business because they're "just renting the space out." That alone is what helps your business stay open. Having a space to conduct your business in. So many landlords don't think about how their involvement with keeping the building up to date, fix structural or equipement issues and overall health of the building is very important. They're just around to collect rent and do whatever with it, which isn't it at all. My first space was super cute, small and did everything I needed it to do. At the time I thought I genuinely needed more space because of all the stuff I had. Jokes on me, I just needed to get rid of a lot of stuff that I inherited. Not bought, inherited. That's another schpeel for another time.

Back to the story. My first landlord was a lovely woman at first and then totally took the wind out of my sails when she told me, 45 days out from the end of my lease, that I had to be out by the end of the year because another tentnat who was mad that she rented to me in the first place wanted my space and she was told to do whatever to take me out. Mind you, she can't do that. Commercial leasing in Massachusetts requires 90 days to vacate the spot. So that alone was a major problem. The tenant next door to me was a specialty restaurant that is never open long enough to be doing as well as she made my landlord think, but she surely coaxed her to get me out with a business deal to cut her in when her investors came around. For me, this was a huge problem for me because it was the middle of one of my spikes in business for the busiest time of year; Christmas Mini and Senior season. I was up to my eyeballs in work, now needing to find a new spot AND I found out shortly after I was pregnant. QUITE the whirlwind.

Fast forward, I find my new spot. Was iffy about the state of the building, my floors, an obvious leak in my ceiling and a few other cosmetic pieces. They took $200 off my rent, which was gracious, but I really should have moved on. Here's a lesson for those who are new and looking to rent, don't just jump on a spot just because it's available. Even if you can afford it, don't just take it. There are so many options out there now for renting space. Other photographers offer hourly rates, month to month subleasing and some are communal. I was so frazzled at the fact that I needed a spot NOW that I didn't stop and say no. Did my space do what I needed it to? Absolutely. Was I in love with it and wanted it to be my "home" for a studio? No, absolutely not.

So many issues popped up towards the end of my lease. I had it out with my landlord and then we came to terms that worked. Thus began the mad dash to get everything out of my location whether it was sold or I brought it home to be stored until I found a new space. Luckily, I bought a couch from another local photographer whose studio is EVERYTHING I could possibly want in a studio. There is some term discussions come June so I'm hoping for good things because I would absolutely stay there and make it my own.

The biggest frustration that comes with moving are the people who assume you're closing permanently and then try to haggle you for anything you're selling. "Oh it's a shame you're closing. I looked at your site and your work is beautiful." 🙃 The constant "I'm not closing, I'm downsizing and moving locations," conversations was so energy draining. On top of the audacity some other photographers had was mindblowing. I had a few well established photographers reach out about certain pieces I was selling and deliberately low ball me. Was selling a beautiful Victorian couch for about $500, and these people were like "I'll give you $100." 😳 I couldn't understand the thought process because I would never do that to another creative looking to get rid of items that were worth the amount asked for.

Another difficult part is having no one to help you move. It's hard as a business owner to have people tell you "I'll be there if I can. Just give me a call." Then have no one answer your call. Putting posts up on Facebook and getting comments "I would if I didn't have xyz going on." That doesn't help me. I had people get mad at me because I didn't just directly reach out. With the time crunch that I'm in, it's not as simple as reaching out to every person individually. Needless to say, I powered through a four hour limit with a UHaul by myself and got about 70% of what needed to get out, out by myself.

Some of you who know me are probably like, "Where's her husband? Why isn't he helping?" He was home with the baby. Someone has to be. No one answered me to help move, let alone babysit her. Luckily she's easily entertained now that she's over 1, but she gets in the way and makes things a little harder unintentionally. He was able to come for the last hour I had to help me throw a bunch of stuff in and helped me unload. So he gave some assistance at one point.

Needless to say, moving in general sucks. Moving into a new space where you can't just bring all of your stuff to is even harder. Thankfully we have room at our home to store what I don't need to be directly in the studio at all times. Still looking to downsize some more things out, but all in due time they'll find new homes. My new space is STUNNING and I hope I can photograph you there. So many fun and new things to come. I am now in the mill located in Whitinsville, MA. Beautiful exposed brick, high ceilings, multiple rooms, angel wings and GORGEOUS lighting.

If you've made it this far, I appreciate you. I want to make this a scheduled thing. Bring you on adventures with me, blog about my sessions and the life that is being an entrepreneur, wife and stay at home momma. No one said this was going to be an easy journey, but I'm happy to give you some insight to what it's like on mine.

Thank you so much for reading and being here. 🤍📸

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