Last night I moved the last of my things from the space I ran my business, GeeBerry Art Studio, out of. I locked up shop for the last time. Its been a strange emotional journey. For those of you who aren't familiar with my business I ran a BYOB painting studio. Its the sort of place where a person brings their friends and favorite beverage and learns a painting step by step over the course of a couple hours. Its a social painting experience aimed at casual and beginning painters.
I'm very proud of my business. I gave an excellent service and taught paintings that out shined the paintings of my competitors. My goal in all my painting classes was to teach my paintings in a straightforward and beginner friendly manner. I made sure to maintain an atmosphere of fun and entertainment. I wanted my artwork to be of a quality that anyone would love to put in their home. I firmly believe that I accomplished all of these things. Plus the actual studio space looked great!
Despite everything that GeeBerry had going for it things weren't working out. The first problem was financial. The studio just wasn't making enough money. I have a bunch of theories as to why this is: competing with other studios and all the cool stuff to do in austin, the byob painting trend dying, the market being flooded with daily deals from all the local studios and the Westlake location. The second and bigger problem was more of a personal issue. I really struggled with working alone. It was really isolating to not have anyone to work with, but on top of that I had to do everything to keep the business running which spread me pretty thin. I wanted to hire someone to help me, but I couldn't afford to pay an employee (or myself for that matter). Having my classes on nights and weekends was really difficult because I was never available to do anything with friends or be able to visit family in my hometown.
Running my business became very emotionally trying. The task of making something work that just wasn't was very consuming. I was working a lot, but when I wasn't I was always thinking about the business. I was becoming a person that was all about my job which is something I never wanted to be. I wasn't getting enough out of the business in terms of satisfaction and money for it to be worth the emotional investment.
None of this is to say that I hated GeeBerry Art Studio. I loved teaching my classes. I genuinely enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them. I loved that I could make people happy and bring something creative and fun into their lives. It was really cool to see people painting something that was better than they ever expected they could do.
Closing the studio has been a bittersweet experience. I felt a huge relief when I let go of making the studio work. I've been more laid back and happier than I've felt in a while. I've learned a lot about myself and what I want from life. I'm excited about where i'm going from here. I'll also have more emotional and creative energy to put into my artwork. There is still a feeling of sadness because closing the business is saying goodbye to a dream. I look back on all the optimism, love and excitement that went into planning the business and I'm a little sad that I let down the person that I was back then.
So right now I'm on the job hunt. Its a little scary not knowing what to expect, but it exciting too. I'm going to be doing a lot more painting and brushing up on some technical skills that have been neglected.
I'll finish this way too long blog entry by thanking my parents for supporting me in this endeavor and Jacob for being there with me this whole time. All of them have been there for me through the whining and frustration as well as the victories and celebrations. I'd also like to thank everyone who came in an painted, we had a lot of good times!