June 2018

How Relocating our
Business Inspired Growth


“Change is an inevitable part of life. Change is also an important part of a business’s life; it allows a business to adapt to its environment and to improve its market position. Change is something that affects all business and therefore all businesses must prepare their personnel and processes for change.”
- Huffington Post


As a creative business, it is important to have creative flexibility. Whether that means having room to focus on brainstorming sessions, a space to experiment or the ability to physically move locations, it is essential to not feel stagnant. Over the last three years, we covered a vast amount of ground trying to figure out what works best for our business model and our future plans. We thought if we can share our personal story, you can take something from it, especially if you plan on leasing a commercial space and need some perspective along the way...


Let us take you through our journey as we explain what we learned from each space and why moving was essential to the growth of JV Studios.



Studio 1: The Parents' Basement

Tinley Park, IL

computers on a desk in a corner

April 2014: We created the first location of JV Studios in our parents basement. Everything started coming together once we realized our strengths as business partners and as brothers. Vince was in his Senior year of college. John promised to work at structuring the business side in the meantime so they could immediately dedicate all their energy to JV Studios after Vince graduated, and that is exactly what happened. Once Vince got home, things for JV really started to pick up.


Throughout the year, we started to develop the JV brand more and we felt we needed to start connecting with more people within the creative industry. After realizing the benefits of meeting new potential clients and becoming immersed into the hussle and bussle of the city, we made the decision to start looking for a real studio. A big change had to be made to really transform our idea into a reality.


Pros

• Working from home is very convenient and inexpensive.
• Being able to work from home minimizes commute time, which gives you more time to spend working.
• You can wake up out of bed and start working.


Cons

• Hard to meet new people since you are not pushed to leave home.
• You become “comfortable” in your environment.
• There are a lot of personal distractions. (ex. pets, family, tv)


Key lessons we learned

• Working from home takes an immense amount of self-discipline, patience and focus.
• Having a dedicated creative space in your home helps with productivity.
• Understanding the importance of networking with others in person is crucial for our success.



Studio 2: The Bridgeport Art Center

Bridgeport | Chicago

Open space room with wooden floors and bicycles hanging from the ceiling

July 2016: We moved into our first “official” studio space at the Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago. This space was a 500-square-foot, creative space. The bonus: it was not our parents’ basement! The building is a multi-disciplinary creative home for artists, designers and professionals working across various art forms, media and vocations. The building offers free wifi, built in utilities and a free parking lot. The great thing was the commute, which made it feel like a normal job, and it was only 30 minutes away from home in Tinley Park.


Having a creative space with rent meant that things were getting real. This was a crucial time of figuring out how to collaborate with others on a professional level. As shown in the photo above, our space started to become more than just a work space. From having our bikes hanging from the ceiling, to a fridge, then a microwave, a couch, a table, and a hot plate…..our studio became less of a studio and more of an apartment hangout. We soon realized this type of environment was not healthy for our business.


After about 10 months of being there, we decided that we wanted to be closer to the city, working in a place which would help us grow professionally. After looking around, we packed our bags and headed to the heart of the city... River North.


Pros

• Having a workplace away from home is great for productivity.
• Having a workplace shows your clients you are professional, reliable and serious.
• A business address looks great on google, business cards and your website.


Cons

• The building lacked a professional, connected community we were looking for.
• Overhead expenses quickly add up and cause pressure to a young business.


Key lessons we learned

• Keep your work and personal life in separate locations.
• Do your research on the social environment of the property before moving in.
• Having overhead means no time for sitting around.
• A month-to-month lease gives you a lot of flexibility when it’s time to move on.



Studio 3: The Boyleston Building

River North | Chicago

two men sitting on the front steps of a black-walled building

February 2016: We cut our long hair, changed our clothes and took on a new energy. Business was booming! We now entered the heartbeat of the city and we weren’t stopping for anyone!


We found a space within the building that was “perfect” for our next move. The space was a little smaller than our last studio and right next to other very successful businesses. We were hooked. So hooked we were neglecting some of our basic needs. Our studio lacked one of the most important things to us as creatives... SUNLIGHT! We were basically working in a large closet with no air conditioning or windows, in the middle of the summer.


We had to commute to the space everyday via CTA buses and trains. It took a little less than 1 hour to get to work even though it was 20 minutes away. If we had a meeting, we would have account for an extra hour of travel time. It was wearing on us quickly.


Another disadvantage was the fact the elevator had to be run by a certified operator. This meant we only had elevator access M-F 9am-5pm. The downside was our gigs mostly fell on the weekends or they ended after 5pm. While we were there, we had to lug a serious amount of equipment up and down 6 flights of stairs, while our car was double parked outside, hoping the anxious meter maid didn’t leave us a parking violation. This got old quick, we needed to find a new spot, ASAP! This was definitely an impulse move on our behalf...


Pros

• Being in the city raised our value and helped us build stronger relationships with new clients.
• The energy in the city is contagious!
• We got to learn the Chicago transportation system first hand.


Cons

• Parking was inconvenient.
• We ended up eating out a lot which added up.
• The commute everyday added unnecessary stress to our lives.
• The elevator schedule was inconvenient.
• We didn’t have space to eat lunch, cook or take a break...


Key lessons we learned

• Don’t ever change your personal appearance to blend in.
• Research the parking situation.
• Make sure the building has 24-hour elevator access.
• Windows and AC are essential to any indoor work environment.




Studio 4: The Studio

Pilsen | Chicago

two men sitting on a brown-beige couch in a large empty room

July 2017: Just when we thought we had it all figured out… We dumped our tiny, hot, River North studio for a “real” studio in the Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen.


We drastically upgraded space from a small city studio to a 2,000-square-foot creative space. We were on top of the world! Just like the last few spaces, we quickly realized we were about to learn some major lessons in business.


We moved into a huge space when we didn’t necessarily need to. To us, it was the perfect space to grow our future team. We wound up hitting some pretty high moments while in the space. We created our sister wedding company, Bella Donna Studios, hired 10 contractors for the Bella team, built a new website for JV Studios, hired a full time employee and invited other creatives to work in our space. We decided to start hosting events, yoga classes and even SoFar Sounds concerts.


We realized, our job quickly became maintaining a space instead of building our business. We became very focused on making sure people were being accommodated for and less focused on how we could grow our roots. We had so much space, we didn’t know what to do with it. We would move our office furniture around every other week, with hopes to stir up some inspiration….again, not building the business, just entertaining distractions. We realized our lease was coming to an end, so we decided to let it all go. Yes, we got rid of everything... all distractions, events, material things... Gone!


Pros

• Having the large space allowed us more than enough room to think and grow.
• Holding events are good for networking within your space.
• We had access to a free parking lot.
• There was a 24/7 working freight elevator.
• We had a space to store our gear.
• We had a private kitchen and bathroom internally.


Cons

• The space had no central air conditioning.
• It slowly became a place for people to hangout after work
• Events that do not directly add to your business are not beneficial to your growth.
• Overhead, utilities, security, internet and employees cost a lot of money.
• The building lacked community, art and style.
• We started to worry about entertaining and accommodating more than our business...


Key lessons we learned

• Don’t move into a larger space until you absolutely need too.
• Spend time reflecting about how you utilize your space: for pleasure or for profession?
• Moving furniture around does not grow your business.
• Make sure the building management and community are supportive in your space.




Studio 5: “Spaces”

Fulton Market | Chicago

corner view of a large office building

June 2018: We now currently reside in Spaces, a entrepreneurial and collaborative co-working space newly located in Fulton Market, Chicago. We decided it was time to minimize our entire business model and start fresh. When we say minimize, what we really mean is that we got rid of all the “stuff” that created distractions in our previous workplace and downsized to just the necessary tools to run our business efficient and successful.


brick-walled office space with modern decor

We are loving this new way of life and culture to our business. We no longer have to deal with the upkeep it takes to maintain a large space and can focus on what we do best: CREATE. We get to connect and collaborate with several other businesses and be a part of an entrepreneurial community. We have the ability to access hundreds of the Spaces locations around the world too! Plus, all utilities and internet are included. They even have a professional cleaning company that maintains the cleanliness of the space.


For now, this seems like the perfect “space” for our present position! We want to redefine the way work is done. We will see what the future holds for us!


-JV




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