LITTLE SUNDAY STUDIO
If you haven’t seen on Instagram, we signed a lease on our first studio and office space in January. We’ve worked really hard in the last few months to get it to a place where it was ready for others to use, and it’s finally up for rent on Peerspace! If you’re in the Bay Area, you can rent it for an hourly rate here.
We have loved having our own little space to come and create, and we wanted to write this long-overdue post to fill you all in on why we made the decision to rent, how we found it, and how it has changed our business.
All last year, we mostly worked at my house or at coffee shops when we had admin days. For shoots we would either rent lights and drag all our equipment out of my garage into my house or rent someone else’s studio in the area. This created a lot of extra work for us as well as additional costs for our clients. While the studios that we rented were awesome, most of them are quite a drive away and we never knew exactly what would be there. It also took time to learn a new studio every time we shot.
While it was not the most convenient setup, we probably could have continued like this for a while longer. We had talked about what it would like to have our own studio someday, but felt like it was a long way off. In a way it was like starting our business, it was something that we joked and dreamed about, thinking it was far in the future, but it happened without us really pursuing it, much sooner than we thought but in the perfect time.
In the fall of last year, our friend Diane brought up the idea about finding a space that could be shared with several artists/photographers. We loved the idea because with rent prices how they are, we felt that it was the only way we could really afford our own space. We also feel passionate about building up the creative community here in the South Bay, and while there are many shared spaces in San Francisco, there really isn’t much like that here.
We started to look at rentals, and went with Diane to see a place in downtown San Jose that we were pretty sure was out of our price range. It was - majorly - but that was where we met Erika, the broker who found our studio. With our budget in mind, she sent over the listing for the space. We saw it and immediately fell in love, it was perfect. It had recently been remodeled, and had enough space, good lighting, and white walls. We really loved the location and the fact that it was just a few minutes walk to downtown Campbell.
At this point, Diane realized that this wasn’t going to be the best choice for her, but Arabela and I decided that we still wanted to move forward. Our intention was to still find sub leasers once we were in the space, but first we had to convince the landlords that we were the right fit. Because we were such a new business and didn’t really have the financials to prove that we could pay rent, this was a little more complicated than we expected. In the end, we are really grateful that they took a chance on our business and gave us the space.
Erika and her coworker Jonathan were really amazing through the entire process. They advocated for us, and walked us through the lease negotiations. With the holidays, it took several weeks for us to be able to get everything settled, so we didn’t sign the lease until January 14th. That day felt really surreal. We spent most of it waiting for everyone to sign, and then finally got the keys in the evening. When I’m excited about something, I want to do everything right away, so we packed up our cars and moved everything from my garage that night.
As we started to get settled in the space, we realized that it was going to be complicated to sublease as originally planned. While it did mean that we had to take on extra expenses, it was much simpler to make decisions about purchases and how to set everything up with just two of us. We still want to provide a creative studio for the South Bay community to use, but we decided that renting it out for an hourly rate is much more doable.
In the past few months, we have started to see how having our own studio is changing our business. While a big perk is that it makes us look more professional, it also saves our clients a lot of money since they no longer need to rent equipment or lights. We do charge a small fee to help cover rent and seamless, etc., but it is much less than what they were paying before. It also saves us a lot of time to not have to load and unload everything every time we have a shoot. Having all our props and lights set up and easy to access also makes it easier for us to do small little shoots for fun.
When we were talking about getting a studio, one of the biggest things that held us back was the cost, especially here in the Bay Area. It was scary to think about so much of our income going towards rent. We really didn’t have many expenses for the past year, and we didn’t know for sure that we would be able to afford it. There are also many expenses that we didn’t really think about like increased insurance fees, security, and cleaning supplies. However, all of this has really pushed us to grow the business. It was kind of the kick in the pants that we needed to pursue more clients which has been really good for us.
We gave it the nickname “Little Sunday Studio” because we felt like it fit well with the weekend theme. We want this space to be really fun and inspiring. There are a lot of creative spaces in SF, but only a few here, and most of the ones that are here feel really commercial. While there isn’t anything wrong with that, we feel that our studio is unique because it is a place to come and play around. We give renters access to our prop collection and seamless paper. We hope that this will be helpful to people who are just starting out.
Thank you for sticking with me for this long post! We are so grateful and excited to have this space and hope that it will help build the creative community here. You can rent the studio for an hourly rate here. If you are interested in renting it for a day every month at a discounted rate, send us an e-mail. Make sure to sign up for our monthly e-mails to hear about networking events we will be hosting in the space.
Is it the weekend yet?