About two years ago I came to the conclusion that I wanted to open my own art studio for kids and families. I'd been teaching art at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena for about 8 or so years and I had started the Purple Twig which was rogue art teaching. I would go to homes and teach an art class to a group of children weekly. My good friend, Ivan at Art Design Office had already created Purple Twig's identity and website. But Purple Twig needed a home. I wanted to have my own place to create art happenings for kids. But I knew nothing, I mean knew absolutely nothing, about business. NOTHING! So my first step was to ask my long time friend Ally, who is an environmental lawyer what I needed to do. She laid it all out for me. The first and most important thing I needed to do was to get a good CPA. So I did. Bobby Malhotra has been amazingly helpful. I couldn't have done this without him. I completely recommend him if you are in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles.
I listened closely to both Ally and Bobby about S corps and LLCs and businesses licenses. I went to Leagalzoom, paid my $500, waited 6 weeks and became Purple Twig LLC. It's not so mysterious.
During this time I was doing research. Cataloging art projects and activities from the Armory, from craft fairs, from my own projects. Doing research online for art and craft projects for kids. I even sent my daughter to all sorts of art classes around town to check out their business and teaching models.
Then I looked for a space. The first time I drove past this vacant storefront in Eagle Rock I knew it was right.
That's my friend Karin. She asks questions that I would never dream of. It's good to take someone like her with you. She made me look at spaces that I was never interested in. It made me even more sure that this was the right space.
That was my first look inside all 1,000 feet of it ( a bit blurry) and this is the bathroom (a bit disgusting).
After putting in an offer and negotiating with the land lord (which I didn't know one could do). I sent that lease agreement to Ally a few times and she came back with some great changes.
I went camping with my family and when I got back I got the keys with two months rent free to renovate.
While at our local super market, I noticed these small green chairs. I immediately bought them all. It was my first purchase for the new space. And they are one of my best.
I had big plans for the storefront, building walls, sanding concrete, beautiful tiles, I also had a very limited budget so I did almost all the work myself, except the painting.
And the electricity, although my brother did try and talk me into learning this for myself.
I did put those things together, which took days.
I looked at tiles and paints and shelves. I went to flea markets and thrift stores. I spent more time in IKEA than I ever wanted to spend in my life. And in the end I went very simple and functional.I finally got to put the art supplies that I had been saving up from thrift stores, art stores and our own recycling.
Look at this amazing bathroom. I am so proud of this. I cut and installed the tiles ( I electrocuted myself a few times. If any of you ever cut tile you know what I am talking about. I wished I had gotten a demo on that power tool beforehand) , created the vanity and built the step stool from the crates that contained the concrete tiles. It's quite a difference.
After about 4 months in the making I finally opened my doors for the Eagle Rock music festival on October 5th 2010 and was completely overwhelmed.