Studio Tour: How 7 People (and one toddler) Work in 528 Square Feet
I know what you are thinking, “there must be a typo”. No typo here, we run 2 fashion brands; The House of Perna and Neon Bohemians (plus this blog) in a 528 square foot studio. There’s actually even more people who work in here, if I am being completely honest (we have a lot of freelancers in from time to time as well), but the maximum number of team members we have in at any time is 7. We have realized that this is our maximum capacity before it gets insanely claustrophobic. When our last studio became inhabitable due to toxic fumes and our landlord refusing to help us - long, horrible story - we found ourselves debating if we cared more about space or location as we scrambled to relocate. Our last space was the perfect size at 1400 square feet but off the beaten path. We could have another large studio or we could move to something downtown more walkable to restaurants and shops. We found a great space in a really cool art incubator called the Arts Warehouse and we chose LOCATION over square footage. This meant a lot of things had to be sold, given away or stored in my garage. The rest had to be strategically placed in the studio.
Organization Is Key To WorkING in 528 Square Feet
The biggest key to success for working in small spaces is to have everything as organized as possible. We hide a lot of our supplies and back stock in the wood cabinets so it looks clean and not too cluttered. We also keep a lot in boxes in a bookshelf behind our hanging clothing bars. Designing clothing and accessories require a ton of materials and tools in order to effectively get the job done. We quickly learned that with so many people in and out, we HAVE to keep things hidden away or it looks super cluttered.
One of our favorite storage concepts is our peg board. On here we store all of the everyday writing utensils like pens, pencils & markers. What most people don’t realize, is that behind it, we have shelves with bolts of fabric stored on them.
Using Vertical Space ADDS SPACE
Another way that we have been able to use the space more effectively is to use the height to our advantage. We have 14 ft ceilings in the studio and we have used all of the space by suspending bars from the ceiling to store merchandise. The less that’s on the floor, the more open the space feels.
Repurposing Space Is Important To Success
The other thing we do regularly is repurpose space. For example, we cut clothing on the black meeting table on days when our marketing team is not in the studio. The desk by the sewing machine is on rotation by team members when the table is being used for cutting clothing or a DIY project. We have little folding rolling carts that we use to move things around the space, as well as in and out for events.
We Use Every Nook And Cranny
We keep our ironing board stored while not in use and open it under the window when we need it. We store all of the thread that we use on a regular basis on a wall above our industrial sewing machine so it’s easy to access, looks pretty and takes up minimal space.
Our studio is physical proof that less can be more! We’re able to work with everyone and have everything we need all in our happy, cozy little 528 square foot studio.