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Home studio and security

I’ve been reading this thread and thought I’d share my experience:

I have been operating a custom jewellery (gold, diamonds, etc)
studio from my home for 10 years. Actually, the studio is in a
building on my property, beside my home, originally it was a garage
with an apartment upstairs, and I have renovated the whole thing as
my studio. The downstairs has my workspace and retail display space,
upstairs is storage, kitchen, etc. I have open hours that clients
are free to drop in, and other times by appointment.

My home is just outside of the downtown of Peterborough, (pop.
70,000), and in an area that is a long way from posh. My direct
neighbours are lovely, one other home based business, retired people
across the street, shift workers beside them, so they provide some
security. The couriers were astounded that a studio like mine would
locate in this area, and my friend who is a policeman can’t believe
that I haven’t been robbed. I tell him that the thieves don’t shop
at home.

In the earliest years, I also had a business card with just a phone
number, and in the phone book the same. As time went on, I put all
the proper tools in place, monitored ULC security system, complete
with stickers on the doors and windows, good insurance, two good
safes. I also have two dogs, but I’m sure one nasty person could put
them out of business pretty quick. And, my direct neighbours are
lovely, one other home based business, retired people across the
street, shift workers beside them, so they provide some security by
being around and we all keep any eye on each other.

So, bit by bit, I put my address on the business card, and in the
phone book, and now I’m advertising on tv, and, yes, every single time
I come home my heart settles down when I see that the windows aren’t
broken, so I do carry a certain amount of stress with me, but truly,
this is a wonderful business and I wouldn’t see it any other way.
And, in ten years, I have never had any problems of any kind with
regards to break ins. Of course, being home based, people feel free
to stop in at any time, even when they know you aren’t open, but
that’s another thread!

Have a great day, Kim

KMWinter Jewellery Studio Inc.
Peterborough, ON, Canada

An interesting thread and one I am currently living…

After 22 years of running my custom fine jewelry design business out
of my home studio, I am moving and opening a retail location. I made
long lists for the last year, of the pro’s and cons of both and
finally decided to “go public” and hunker down in a storefront in a
new hip area of Mpls.

I think the most important thing I hope to achieve is to finally get
my life back…at the moment-one week before the big move…I have
no space in my 3 bedroom rambler to live. The ONLY space in my home
that is not business related is my upstairs bathroom and son’s
bedroom. Even the kitchen has a piece of equipment in it!!! Living
room is husbands office with 3 computor monitors for website work and
the photo studio, entire walkout downstairs is studio workshop,
benches and design showroom. Another thing I wont miss is the huge
amount of travel and time away from my family…shows scattered 12
months a year are taxing and not as fun as they were for many years.

Enough whining because operating with low expenses has let me do the
kind of work I love for years—custom one of a kinds and develop
long term relationships with my clients. Its been a great way to grow
a long list of people that have supported my efforts by not only
buying but carrying my cards and passing my name to friends. Lets
hope they come to my store too!

SO…I would be interested to hear from any other designers that run
a retail location, how do you keep em coming? What type of
advertising do you do? What creative approaches have worked as far
as promotions? What type of new challenges did you experience when
you went ‘public’? And finally, was a day off as good as I hope it’ll
be? (will I know what to DO with a day off…ohmygosh, I have no

T Lee
T Lee Fine Designer Jewelry
18 NE University Avenue

T. Lee, I did the reverse. After 22 years owning my own retail
jewelry business with a great location in a beautiful Hudson River
Valley town 20 miles north of Manhattan Island, I moved my business
into my home. It is only 6 blocks from my retail location. That was 6
years ago and the last day that I turned the key in that retail
location was one of the happiest days. I hope that you enjoy at least
another 22 years of prosperity in your new endeavour. Joel

Joel Schwalb

    finally decided to "go public" and hunker down in a storefront
in a new hip area of Mpls. T Lee 

T Lee, First of all…Congratulation on your recent success! I have
wanted to email you that for a while.Your publicity has been
astounding. As I have seen your photo and your work in EVERY
publication I receive, Which is a PLUS for opening a retail
operation.I don’t have much time this morning, but thought I would
relate a condensed version of my “story”. I moved to a resort
island from Sausalito Ca. Major culture shock! Had been designing and
making my jewelry for about 15 years. The small retail shop started
slow, but got some free PR in papers and local mags and concentrated
on making one-of-a-kind ‘art to wear’. Also took various courses and
rented alot of video’s from SNAG and other sources. Jewelers of
America helped with a better understanding of professionalism and
with quality of work. I rarely advertise or do promotions. But the
old phrase about the ‘world beating a path to your door’ has
transpired over the past 17 years. And know I find myself 'choosing’
my orders and projects, and, according to “everyone”, have developed
a ‘pristine’ reputation of perfectionism and honesty.I enjoy all of
this, though it is a double edged sword, and I have to wear many
hats. There is never a dull moment! And finding quality time to
create, has to be scheduled,. Loving it! I have won some design
competitions, but one regret is to have something of mine
’recognized on a national level, as you have. To promote oneself is
not in my nature.Best of luck Thomas Blair Island Gold Works Hilton
Head SC

Have you ever thought about setting up an out building such as those
you can get from Home Depot? They are like tool sheds but much
larger. I was looking at an 12’ x 8’ for $3,000 and noticed add some
insulation and run some power and water to it you have a separate
workspace. I’ve seen them as large as 12’ x 20’ with windows and
raised floors made of cedar, Mini houses. The most expensive one I
looked at I think cost about $8,000.

If you have the space the difference a 15’ walk to you
office/workshop would clear your living space of the workshop clutter
and allow you to keep the low over head.

Good fortune,
Guy Payton…