Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Turning Down a Free Shop/Studio Space

I have made a very tough decision recently. Something that I have wanted for a long time but then when offered came with some conditions that made it untenable. So I walked away very sadly, still looking over my shoulder wondering if I have made the right choice.

About 15 months ago I applied to Renew Australia for a pop-up shop space in Leichhardt. They were immediately impressed with my furniture painting business and social media following (thank you to you all xx) and promised they would find me a space. Initially I was offered a space in Leichhardt Forum but the floors were carpeted and parquetry and the access was difficult so I turned it down. I needed something less perfect so I could use the space to paint. I didn't want to get a damages bill from the owner. I wanted a space I could use as a studio more than a shop.  Somewhere without nice floors! Somewhere to paint, to run workshops, for customers to visit and see my work as well as purchase it.

A couple of months ago I was offered a shop that was very run down but available immediately (it had been vacant for 6 years so it was in a very bad state including a ceiling that might fall and a load of broken asbestos in the storage room) but it was for free and on a month by month rolling tenancy. I was so tempted as this is what I had been wanting and waiting for. The timing was just so wrong in regards to our renovation. I was working long hours with the builders and then painting at night - both cabinetry for the house and other people's furniture.  My initial application for a studio space had been approved with very achievable hours for me - open 4 days a week 10-2 and then by chance or appointment. When I was offered the space though this had changed to 10am-5pm 6 days a week. This was the deal breaker for me. I couldn't manage those hours by myself and look after my kids or even go pick up furniture to paint.



(The orange wall would have been the first thing to go!!)


So I walked away.

While I have a twinge of sadness every time I think of having a shop/commercial studio space I am relieved that I didn't sign up to that lease.  I'd rather pay rent and be able to dictate my own hours. My kids are grateful also. The other day (in school holidays) when we were driving to Leura to collect autumn leaves and go for a bush walk, we passed the shop that someone else now has and I mentioned it to my kids. Jonty piped up with "don't be sad Mumma, if you had the shop we wouldn't be going to Leura today".  A bright side to everything.

...And now I have a studio at home which is working out so well. It doesn't have passing trade and is smaller but it demands nothing of me except what i want to put in, and I can be available for when my kids need me and even cook dinner and put the washing on throughout the day. Just what I need to be doing at this stage of my kids' lives.

And who knows what will happen down the track, my kids are still young and I have plenty of time in my life to take this business where I want when they are older. 

As my sister and I always say "A woman can have it all, just not all at once".

Who else has big dreams for the future? 

Fiona xx




21 comments:

  1. Oh well Fiona, lots of things are subject to timing and regarding a workshop if the places mentioned didn't work out then that means down the track something else will for you and your painting/space needs, keep enjoying your transformations.
    Lyn

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    1. Thanks Lyn, still loving it and loving my studio at home so it's meant to be xx

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  2. hi Fiona, what a wise decision that must have been very hard to arrive at. You still seem very busy and successful so I'm sure it will all be good for you. I love seeing your transformations and look forward to coming to one of your classes soon
    beth

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    1. thanks Beth, working hard and loving it. I've just posted a class schedule so i hope you can make it some time.

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  3. Definitely a good decision. The children won't be as needing of your time forever, and you can still have the flexibility to give it to them now. To every thing there is a season,and a time for every purpose..... You seem to do very well with your business, Fiona, and now you have a dedicated space, it will help enormously. I read a lot of blogs, and mostly people do want their own shop front with workshop. However the majority of bloggers (I've read about) seem to quickly surrender it as it becomes too inflexible, and doesn't deliver what they'd hoped for.

    I've found that sometimes a disappointment, or dream not following through, simply leads to another step, and then, eventually an even better opportunity presents; one which wouldn't have been possible if you'd gone ahead with your first choice. Something you'd never thought of or wished for, but it's suddenly there - and then you're very happy you never made took the first thing.

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    1. I think I would need a lot of people to help me. My friends who have shops have family employed but that's not an option for me so I think it would all be too hard. Better slow and steady and keep it manageable. xx

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  4. Hi Fiona,

    Yes I can relate to your post this morning. Clearly it is still playing on your heart and mind as you wrote about it not long ago. Don't worry about what has passed look to the future in your new studio at home.
    Love the floor boards of your new studio.

    I am stuck at work for next 2 days and would do love to be at home painting.

    Keep smiling and keep up good work:-)

    Karen

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    1. Thanks Karen - I forgot that I'd blogged about it recently but had this as a draft post for a while and have had a few people ask me about a commercial space so I thought I'd publish the post. I am pretty happy with my decision especially with that particular space but I will have a shop sometime down the track I know!
      Hope all is well with you and your family, thanks for your emails Fiona xx

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  5. Tough decision but i am sure you made the best for you and your family - and I am sure there is something waiting for you around the bend!!

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    1. Thanks Patti, to be honest I’m busy enough working from home so I think it’s a good decision. xx

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  6. I think you did the right thing. Children grow up so quickly and that is something you can never get back. I have always wanted to open a homeware shop but that meant opening 7 days which is a big commitment, because I would have had to run it as I couldn't afford to pay someone straight away. Ofcourse that would have meant no holidays, no nice family dinners etc etc. So now my kids are older and independant and I just sell stuff online. One day i might have a real shop, you never know what opportunities are ahead. Just because you can't have your dream now doesn't mean you will never have it. You will when the timing is right.

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    1. and online certainly is a much more affordable option with Sydney rents these days! and yes my family loves their nice dinners.
      good luck in your business xx

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  7. There are really only certain times in life that one accepts everything that comes along - maybe when you are young, perhaps over-confident, naive and trying to begin life... But mostly it's not like that, is it? You weigh the pros and cons carefully, as if deciding between two different cars. You don't want to get in over your head, compromise the truly important things, whether it's time with the kids or the time to push a project aside and think until you really KNOW what to do next.

    I became a single mother in the 80's with a disappeared father and rent to pay. I started a graphic design business, and when I tuned out all the comments about needing a "real" job, I noticed that I could attend to my priorities as I saw them and turn out more work per hour in my home than other studios did. We did well; this June my son will graduate as a doctor of pure mathematics. And while I am very proud, my favourite memories are childhood ones, like making snowmen together and coming inside for cocoa. Times that were had between nine to five.

    I think that it will be much the same for you.

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    1. Thanks lovely. I am so proud of you and of your son,. How happy you must be. I think one of the crunch things for me was that if I was going to work those hours away from home then I would go back into my corporate career and earn twice as much. I left that to be with my babies as they grow up. Right decision definitely. xx

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  8. Time spent with your kids goes so quickly, you turn around one day and they are all grown up, so in the mean time you have a great studio space, where you dont have any of the utilities to pay for other than your normal household ones, you dont have to worry about if the kids get sick how are going to pay the rent, no business taxes which in some places can be hugely expensive! I think you did the right thing...it will come!

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    1. thanks Di, and my kids are growing fast. Sasha is almost as tall as me and Jonty is not far behind. I lvoe being with them.

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  9. Dear Fiona,
    Ach, there are no wrong decisions - only the long way around to the right ones.
    More and better opportunities will come along and you'll know straight away. When there are these doubts,
    it means it's not the right time/place/something else.
    I think what you're feeling are the growing pains when a business is moving (or could move) up to a bigger possible size.
    It's your choice to keep it hands on, everything online, with room and time for your family. Big is not always better.
    Big hugs,
    Rx

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    1. Thanks Roseanna – you are very wise! I love that first sentence. Much appreciated for all your support. Hope you are going well.
      Fiona xx

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  10. Love this.
    Love your attitude, your courage, your optimism and your priorities.
    You've got the important things spot on Fiona
    xox

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    1. Thanks Karen, I am loving life at the moment so I think that’s a good indicator of a good decision. The kids are too delicious to be away from. Enjoy your trip and I look forward to catching up when you are back xx

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  11. I have no doubt something better will come along for you Fiona,

    Best wishes Patricia

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Thanks for taking the time to comment! (Sorry if you have trouble commenting, I'm trying to sort it out)