It’s no secret that the Coronavirus Pandemic we are facing has been debilitating for small businesses around the country. Being forced to shut our doors with zero revenue for over 2 months has forced businesses to make some really big sacrifices and go into “damage control mode” in order to save the businesses we have worked so tirelessly to build. OBP is no exception.
In order to make sure OBP can survive the pandemic, I have made the very difficult decision to close my downtown studio. As you can imagine, this is NOT the solution I wanted, but there were many deciding factors that ultimately led to this being the best decision for OBP right now.
For the past 9 years, I have operated OBP full-time as a one-woman show. Because I’m a micro-small business with no employees, the only crisis aid OBP was eligible for was an EIDL loan, which would provide funding to cover operational expenses for the time being, but would then have to be paid back just like any other loan. The loan payments would then have to be factored into my “cost of doing business”, which would then reflect a pricing increase to my clients. In order to keep OBP afloat by using only business savings and not taking out a loan, I needed to significantly reduce overhead expenses. Giving up my darling studio in the heart of downtown Winters was ultimately the sacrifice I had to make.
Another significant factor to making this decision was the changing needs of my family. Just like most parents right now, I am currently homeschooling and feeling very anxious about what our education system will look like come fall. Will our district adopt an AM/PM schedule? Will half of the school work be done though “distance learning”? Will I be able to resume a full-time work schedule, which is necessary to keep up with the overhead of a commercial studio? Like everyone else, I do not have concrete answers to any of these questions right now. As always, my children and family come before all else, and sometimes sacrifices have to be made for their best interest.
So what does this mean for the the future of OBP?
Aside from no longer having a brick and mortar location (temporarily), as well as reduced working hours, nothing will change. I’m still committed to offering the most personalized service and highest quality portraits and products I have always strived for. I will now welcome you to my home office for consultations and ordering appointments, instead of a downtown studio. Outdoor sessions will carry on just like before the pandemic- no changes there (except the mask I’ll be rockin’!). I am currently developing a plan of action to resume newborn sessions once I am safely able and allowed to do so. Newborns make my heart sing, and my love of newborns is what made me start OBP in the first place. I just can’t imagine life without photographing these little souls. Providing quality newborn images in a safe and welcoming environment is my highest priority, and once I have all the details set in stone, I will be sharing how I will be resuming, so stay tuned!
As I say goodbye to my little downtown studio, I am definitely feeling all the stages of grief. This studio represented so much to me. I signed the lease to the studio 6 years ago, when my youngest was just 3 months old and I was still on maternity leave. I’ll never forget walking into the building with my new baby strapped to my chest and trying to wrangle my busy toddler as I met with the landlord. I can’t describe the feeling of pride, knowing I had built my business from the ground up, to the position where I could open up a commercial studio in my downtown, all on my own, with two small children at home. So much hard work and sacrifices were made in those 3 years leading up to me being able to open up the studio space, and I know that I will get there again with the same determination.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support you all have shown me for the past 9 years! As I navigate this next chapter with OBP, I remind myself it’s only temporary, and I am doing my best to stay positive and ride the wave. I look forward to opening another studio in the heart of my hometown just as soon as this is all behind us.
“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”.