As someone who works from home the idea of a separate studio sounds like a fantasy to me.
I’d like to think I’d be successful if I took the leap, but to be totally honest the investment scares me. When you’re freelance there isn’t a whole lot of certainty when it comes to your paycheck and that’s just part of the territory. What I admire the most about the creatives that occupy this studio is their unwavering certainty that it will work out. They believed in themselves enough to take the bold leap. Renting their first ever space this spring has arguably been one of the best career decisions I’ve had the opportunity to witness each of them make.
If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting either Amy or Megan you know that they both exude kindness, warmth, confidence and hospitality. To say Amy is an incredible family photographer and that Megan is a talented artist is an understatement. Above their talents they have a way of making people feel welcome, heard and like their dreams matter regardless of what they might be. If it’s important to you, it’s important to them. These two are all about community.
Amy and Megan truly inspire me and I’m beyond excited to share their Brooklyn studio with you all. Read through to learn a little bit more about how they each got started, what the transition has been leaving the work-from-home and how you can connect with each of them!
So I obviously know you guys well, but for the readers who might not know you, tell us a little about yourselves, how you got started with each of your businesses, how you two met each other and how this little home away from home has played a role in the success of your businesses.
M: I started working as a professional full-time artist 2 years ago and hired Amy in August of 2015 for some professional photos of my work. I WAS TERRIFIED and it was a huge investment for me at the time, but I got a best creative friend and amazing photos, so it was so worth it. I had been working as a high school Spanish and Art teacher for 9 years before our family relocated from Maryland to NYC and I took the crazy plunge towards being an artist full-time. Every day, I wake up and say “omg, this is real” and I don’t think it will ever wear off. 🙂
A: I am originally from Arizona, and started out as a second shooter for a local wedding photographer. I eventually got more into photographing families and fell in love with capturing the memories of all the little moments in each family. I moved to New York 2.5 years ago and have never looked back! Brooklyn has been amazing for growing my client base and getting some amazing families to work with. I met Megan through Instagram actually. She hired me to take some photos of her artwork, and the rest is history. Did we just become best friends? YEP. When Megan showed me her new studio I fell in love with the idea and jumped at the chance to move in with her for our very own work oasis.
How long have you had the space and where is it located?
M: I moved into the studio in March and then a week later we found out that our landlord was selling our apartment and we had to move! It was an intense time, but I am so thankful that this spot in crusty old Gowanus opened up. And duh, that Amy moved in. xo
A: Just since this past Spring! It’s located on the edge of Gowanus in a (sometimes very) industrial area. Our studios are in with a bunch of other amazingly talented artists like the lovely ladies over at We Gather and Sylvan Park.
Have you always worked outside of your homes?
M: Um, no. I worked out of a “spare bedroom” in our apartment in Brooklyn when I started and very quickly outgrew the space. Also, can we talk about bedroom sizes in NYC. Come on. Our house was COVERED in artwork and I was really ready to find a space when I did. Shout out to Whitney of WE GATHER for helping me find the space we work from now.
A: Oh noooo. We both started this crazy dream working from home, from our tiny Brooklyn apartments. Having a studio has always been a pipe dream for both of us, so it’s safe to say we are over the moon that it actually became a reality.
Since both of your business relied heavily on home in the early days before you moved to a studio, what aspects of home have made their way into your workspace? What aspects of home were you sure to leave behind?
M: As a mom with a crazy life, I am SO thankful to have a space that is 100% dedicated to being creative. When I worked from home, I always felt guilt about not doing certain things like chores and now I go to work and do my other stuff at different times. Less mom-guilt is BETTER!
A: For me I wanted to still feel comfortable in my studio, so I brought in a few aspects of home like a Nespresso machine and lots of plants. Give me that and I am happy!
I feel like I can ask this question because I think I know the answer, but how has it been sharing the space together? Do you feel like you guys motivate each other to stay on task or are there times where you distract one another?
M: We have a good way of telling one another that we need to focus most of the time and it works. When Amy wants to ignore me she just puts on her headphones and types or edits. If we both need inspiration, we blast music and podcasts and annoy our neighbors. If I am having a moment of spaz or panic, I just tell Amy and she knows that I need to freak out about a painting and not leave me alone. We are pretty good at it so far 🙂
Is the studio is strictly a workspace? Since I’ve never had a private studio, this is kind of a dream so bare with me, but are there any activities you save for the studio that might be more difficult to do at home? I’m day dreaming about meditating, listening to podcasts uninterrupted, enjoying a warm cup of coffee? Is it apparent that I have a two year old? Hah!
M: It is strictly a studio, but as mentioned above, my whole family almost had to move in, jk. We do all of the creative things — coffee, visitors, podcast listening, life questioning, philosophical question answering, laying on the floor, etc. I love “Megan time” and “Megan and Amy Time” and it’s SO ESSENTIAL.
A: I agree with Megan. We bounce ideas off each other like CRAZY. It makes us both so inspired in a way that you don’t get when you work from home alone. We love listening to podcasts and having visitors. It all just makes the space such a fun place to be!
How has having a separate space to work improved your quality of life at home? Was it a tough adjustment?
M: LIFE feels more normal for me. My only complaint is that so many of my ideas come at 10pm and don’t stop until 2am. BUT, the studio helps me to treat my business as such. When I worked from my home, I always found myself apologizing for it and now I am so proud to invite visitors into our grungy little warehouse.
A: I treasure my free time more. I know that things can wait until the next day. I don’t force myself to work in the evening anymore. Before I had this feeling that whenever I had free time at home, I was feeling the need to work all the time. Now to have it separated, I get the chance to actually take time off.
I’ve watched the studio come together over time and it’s looking beautiful! Did either of you have any particular inspiration for the style and vibe you’ve created or did it all just come together naturally?
M: Amy is our interior design guru. I am a minimalist (aka really cheap). She forced me to go to IKEA like 909 times to perfect the space and now it’s super cute and I love it. 🙂
A: What Megan said. It was a lot of combination of what I already had at home in my “office” (aka bedroom) and a few new additions from Ikea. I love how homey it feels and we get some AMAZING light.
What’s one thing you’re the most proud of about your studio? Is there anything you’d change if you could?
M: I am in love with it and feel like my dream as a little girl has come true. I would only change that the parking situation is a LEGIT SITUATION. And AC would be cool…get it?
A: I am most proud of just the whole situation. It makes me feel so legit! And AMEN to the parking. It would be nice to have a closer subway/bus stop, or better parking.
By taking the leap to move into this space have either of you noticed new doors that have opened that probably wouldn’t have otherwise?
M: YES! I feel like I am braver now. I am reaching out to more people and offering to do more fun random projects. It helps me to feel organized and sane and I really needed that. Also, now people think I am a “real” artist which is such BS, but whatever works.
A: I feel the same way! Like I said before. I feel more legit. I feel like it will lead to some amazing opportunities down the road, and I can’t wait to see what happens.
Megan and Amy are working on a fun project that showcases businesses and the people that run them. They’ll be talking all about their struggles, triumphs and what it’s really like to run your own business and be your own boss. Keep an eye on their social channels below for more information!
To hire Amy and see more of her gorgeous photography check out her site here. Make sure to swing by her blog and follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, & Facebook. Amy will be hosting her third Documented Workshop September 30th – for those of you in the NYC area please click here.