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how we found our shop

Brandon and I moved in together in April 2019. It was very sudden, sort of an overnight thing - that's a story for another day. As I moved in, it became clear that we needed a bit more space. I had paintings of mine and tables I had drawn on stacked five and six feet high. We needed more space not only to store our things but also to create new things.

One day, about a month after I moved in, Brandon was feeling ambitious and so we decided to look for a creative space. We were searching for a storage unit, a garage, anything really that we could afford that would allow us to be as loud or as dusty as we wanted to be whenever we wanted to be.

The very first day we looked, we found our shop. It was an incredible stroke of luck. Commercial spaces around here tend to be limited, snagged very quickly and very expensive. That particular unit was listed earlier that same day. It was a 25’ x 25’ storage unit with 13’ ceilings in a commercial warehouse about 5 minutes from home. We knew that if we even wanted a chance of getting this space, we

would have to jump on it. We spoke with the property manager that day and saw the space the following day.

The warehouse was in an industrial part of town, away from all the residential buildings and houses. The unit itself had nothing in it besides one shop light and an old desk. The walls weren’t painted, just sloppily spackled, the floors were nowhere near level, chipped and stained and there was no heat, AC or running water, but, in a lot of ways, it had everything we needed. We could be loud and we could be messy anytime, day or night.

We knew right away that it was the perfect blank canvas for us. Anytime you do something for the first time, there’s a certain sort of nervous excitement that goes along with it. We knew nothing about commercial leases, neither of us had ever rented before or shelled out two grand in one day. We had no real plan. What we did have was a desire to create and a spark, a spark that had been ignited by finally taking a leap of faith that was centered around

something that we were passionate about.

Up until that point, we had only ever created because we felt a desire to. By signing this year-long lease and committing to paying nearly $10,000 in rent over the course of that next year, we were telling ourselves that we could do it, we could find a way to channel our creativity, to create value and, as a result, have our passion sustain us, have that pay our rent. That was a huge vote of confidence for us, sort of signing ourselves up for this responsibility, it puts a bit more pressure and purpose behind your creativity. We had to focus every ounce of energy, every thought on, ‘okay, how do we make this work?’ There was no other option.

It was very much that, ‘jump and a net will appear,’ mentality, which is something I find to be incredibly true and valuable, especially when you’re going into something like this that requires a bit more faith, a bit more positivity.

The thing about going out on your own is that you have to have complete, unwavering belief in yourself, because if you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t believe in what you’re doing, no one else will. And that can be hard because two things, I feel, that give you confidence in business are time and experience - two things you have very little of when you’re first starting out. And so there will be doubt, there will be times when you don’t know what you’re doing, or when you feel you’ve made the wrong decision.

But, in a lot of ways, those times are the most critical because those are the times when it will be the easiest to give up. Those are the times when most people do give up. They let that negativity, that self-doubt, take over. And I can promise you that if, through all that, you continue to consistently project confidence and embody the sort of success that you envision for yourself, and I mean really live it, cut out negativity completely, only surround yourself with people and things that are good and helpful and productive, there is nothing that can stop you - you will come out on the other side.

Signing this lease felt, in a lot of ways, like jumping into the deep end of a pool. We threw ourselves into the biggest learning experience of our lives, and it was the best decision we ever made.


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