Six Months in the New Studio

Six Months in the New Studio

Well I can't believe that six months has already passed since I moved into my new studio space at Chilvers Coton Craft Centre. It really has been a change from working from home, but I thought I would take this six month anniversary to share some of the things I have enjoyed about the move, and some of the obstacles that have cropped up along the way.

Embroidered open sign on the door of Kate Sproston Design studio
Open for business and ready to get creative in the studio

It was always going to take some getting used to, having a unit within a shared building after working alone for so long, but all in all the change has been a positive one. My unit is situated between artist Anthony Greentree, who teaches workshops for children and adults along side commission work, and Ruth from  Beltane Gifts who is a creative felt maker, selling her felting kits and running workshops. This is incredibly handy when indecision kicks in and I start to doubt my creative choices when designing. Is there anything better than being able to pop next door to ask a fellow creative for a bit of feedback?

For total clarity, there have been a few down sides to the move. All through the winter the studio has been freezing! I have had to place a heater under the desk to keep my legs warm whilst sewing, which has meant quite high electricity bills for the size of the room. This, alongside the cost of rent, has been an outgoing that I have had to get used to paying.

Kate Sproston sat behind her sewing machine and looking very cold
This was how you would find me for most of the day working from the studio in the winter!

When I worked from home the only distraction was George wanting to go out in the garden every few hours, and on the whole I have always felt quite self motivated and focused. Whereas at the studio, because the front half of the unit is a shop, anyone can walk in at any moment for a chat. This is fine when it's quiet, but over Christmas when there was lots of orders to get through, I just wanted to get my head down and crack on! I will just add that the other studio residents are extremely understanding and we all give each other space when we are working away.

It's so nice to have a dedicated packing area when wrapping orders
I have also had to learn to be stronger when I get unusual requests from customers. I think it's safe to say it's in my nature to be helpful and sometimes this has hindered my focus. I will go above and beyond to try and give the customer what they want, but this does not always fit my brand aesthetic or fuel my burning creative passion. Plus, visitors see a sewing machine and they think you will turn up trousers, make curtains or embroider workwear with a logo! These are all valid requests but this is not what my business is about and for a little while there, I started to loose sight of that.
Stocking the shelves in the morning ready for customers to arrive

On the plus side, visitors have meant sales, and it has been lovely to introduce my products to a new group of people. I can gauge what sells as an impulse buy, what catches peoples attention, and it's interesting to see which items sell better online compared to in person. Something which will be very useful as I start to prepare for summer fairs.

Most importantly, the move has meant more of a separation of work from my home life. It was very easy to keep working late when the commute was just a flight of stairs. Now I can arrive at the studio in the morning with a to-do list, and hopefully tick off most of the jobs before closing the doors and going home for tea.

Working away in my new happy place

The centre has an award winning café which is taking all my will power not to buy lunch from everyday, and there are also rumours of a resident ghost, but I think that's a story best reserved for Halloween! Will I be here forever? I think a time will come when I have outgrown the space (there is still a lot of stock stored at home), but for now I am enjoying a dedicated work environment and soaking up the inspiration being surrounded by other creatives. 

I hoped you enjoyed seeing a little more behind the scenes at Kate Sproston Design, and do let me know if you have any questions about taking the leap to a dedicated studio space.


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