Who knew that finding a space would take so long?! Every week there is another disappointment, and every week it gets harder to go on. There is one thing that keeps me going: my clientele. If it were not for having to look in their faces every week and having to hear them ask with the same optimism every single visit, I would have thrown in the towel. Before I get into what's going on this week with the space, I will explain my situation in full, because everyone with no money and big dreams should know that this can and will happen.
As I explained in my bio, I came from a really bad area and couldn't grow my clientele, so I ended up moving to the first place I could afford. I gave myself a year to grow my clientele and figure out what I would do for retail so I could expand. Well I did both in a year and started looking for a space back in May (well I looked before then, but I wasn't ready).
I subscribe to a business magazine called Inc. Magazine, and I get all kinds of great financial tips and crafty ways of getting around paying an arm and a leg for different things. I read in an article about how businesses have used crowd-funding as a funding source. I am terrified of taking out a loan in this economy, and I can't deal with the reality of not making it in my first year, so I came up with a plan that would put me at low risk so I may have a chance of getting past the first year and revamping the business for the anniversary.
I went to the bank and asked if I could get approved for $5,000, just in case I didn't raise enough. So after I had that all covered, I knew I could start looking for a space that was in a decent area and where the rent was low enough to put back money the first year. That's my dilema at this point. Memphis commercial real estate is crazy high and one of the worst property management firms has all the good retail spaces. So unless I have $2,000+ to spend, I'm not getting far in the way of finding something in an area that would allow me to keep my current clientele and obtain new clientele. So I'm stuck in certain areas in midtown Memphis, which is actually one of my dream areas. So at this point, I have just a couple of prospects and a prayer.
The tattoo shop that I wrote about the last time proved to be more work than initially expected.The landlord said he has more spaces that I could use. Now when I realized it was happening again, I literally almost cried. He explained this next space to me and when he told me how much space is available, it was just too much. I told him that wouldn't work because I don't know what I would do with all the space. He went on to explain that the space is divided into two spaces, and the front area is approximately 1,000 sq ft. and the back area is like a storage area and is about the same amount of space. The bonus is that he hasn't been able to move this space yet and he dropped the rent because of it. He said it's "as is" and I would be doing the renovation for it.
He has been out of town and I haven't had a chance to see it yet, so I did some research. I drove by and looked at the outside, and it looks perfectly fine. I would just change the color. I Googled it and it was an event space that held parties and functions, so that leads me to believe that there is at least a bathroon and sufficient plumbing and lighting. In the grand scheme of things, these are the most important in deciding on taking a chance, so now I'm going to actually go in and see the space tomorrow afternoon. After that I will know if we should move forward. If everything is good enough to handle, I'm going to write him a check and secure this because I won't find another deal like this. Also, I figure my dream of having a studio and having a co-working space for fellow artists could be here. I have always wanted to create and work on my art around other great artists, and maybe we could inspire each other.
But that's probably jumping the gun, I need to actually see the space to figure out if it will actually work for me. So here goes....I will update again after the meeting with pictures.
— Lauren, Graffiti Nail Bar, Memphis, Tenn.