Inside The Studio: Creating my third home workspace
I've always been pretty vocal about the fact that Knotty Cards started in my one bedroom apartment. I filled orders on my kitchen island and on the floor. I went to sleep to the glow of the computer in my room, and I woke up to it glaring back at me in the morning. Since starting this work at home venture, I've always tried my best to set up a workspace that's inspiring and fun and somewhere I can really spend hours at a time without wanting to jump out of a window.
It's taken many different forms since the one bedroom apartment. There was the two bedroom apartment that was going to solve all of my problems. I painted stripes on the wall and thought it was the coolest thing ever. I also had to paint over those stripes when we didn't renew our lease. I thought Brandon was going to leave me right then.
Then we bought our first home and my dad and Brandon ripped the carpet up, painted over the lime green walls to make it white, and put down wood flooring. The light was amazing. It was airy. I had plants. It was all white everything because I love a good insane asylum apparently. I loved it! If I had a straight jacket, I could have stayed there forever.
But it was also taking up one of our spare rooms, and we bought the house as an investment that we could flip and use to purchase a home we would stay in for years. So that day came that we were looking at houses again.
I'd be lying if I said the studio wasn't one of the major factors for me when we were looking for a "more than 2-3 year" home. Hello, anxiety. How could I commit to a space if it wasn't just perfect? What if the house was perfect but the studio space wasn't? I know. First world problems since I made it work in a 700 square foot space before. Shut up, Casey. I get it. And I 10000% agree.
So we found this house. We fell in love with it. It was a little bit out of town, and the backyard overlooks the marsh. And we could afford it, so that made us really happy.
But the studio. It was a loft, which was fine. It was carpeted, which was sort of fine. It was dark most of the day because of the way the house is facing, which was not fine. And it was a weird shape, which was okay. So I've been working really hard to make it work, and I'm excited to show you guys what that looks like.
It's always worked really well for me. Brandon and I can be on both sides working without killing each other, and I can easily grab stickers, tape, scissors or whatever from the cubbies beneath. I use it more than my actual desk. Oh and my cute little trash can is from Ikea. I have no idea why I love it so much because it honestly only holds about 3 pieces of trash. But it's cute and is only $20 so you should get on that.
This is my actual desk that you will probably never find my sitting at. I got the chair from Homegoods and felt like if I could get the most comfortable chair, I'd use it. But it turns out, I just really like working standing up. I also hardly ever use that computer. But I felt like it was important to have a desk in an office space. The desk is from Target. Brandon got it for me our first Christmas together because I didn't have one and was working on the floor. I don't think this desk is it exactly, but it's similar. My little CEO sign was from a shop in Wilmington that I got on our honeymoon. The fun lamp and shelving is from TJ Maxx. I'm a sucker for weird lighting. But let's talk about the wooden sign!
I've always wanted a sign that said Knotty Cards. Like forever. So when I found 1801 and Co, I was naturally obsessed. They do all kind of amazing work from wooden signs like mine to acrylic calendars to wedding guest books. All around just incredibly talented. I loved that you can pick your font and that you can pick a color or just go all natural like I did. Their shipping was extremely fast, and it arrived in perfect condition. It makes me want to put signs up all over my house.
Let's get to business though. And that's the cards. Figuring out an inventory system has always been a challenge because I've gone from carrying over 200 cards to 100 to 150. There have been stickers and mugs and enamel pins to consider as well. But for now, we're only selling cards and wine tags. And that's where the inventory challenge lies.
While I've always wanted a studio that looked good and felt good, the most important factor is efficiency. The system has to work. So when organizing my studio and inventory, I place things where I can fill an order within 1-2 steps. The cubbies where I stand hold the stickers for labeling the packages, the scissors for cutting the labels, the tape, all the things. And I just have to turn around to grab the card. On the other side is a smaller shelving unit like this one that holds all of my envelopes, cello sleeves and mailer inserts. In 3 steps, I can grab inventory and package a card. I don't care what the studio looks like as long as it works that quickly. And these systems have helped me get there.
The white shelving is the Billy/Oxberg bookcase with glass doors. I replaced the knobs with some fun hardware I found at World Market. The wire shelving was an impulse buy from Lowe's one day. Mainly because I was tired of having to get a step stool to reach the cards on the top shelf of the Billy bookcase. And I love having additional space in the Billy bookcase if and when I add more products.
Everyone always asks about my boxes that hold inventory when I post on Instagram. These aren't the exact ones I bought, but I actually like the white better so that's why I'm linking these. My cards are A2 and they fit perfectly. I usually try to keep 20-50 cards in stock at one time right now (some bestsellers are more than that), but they all fit pretty comfortably at about 3-4 styles per box. It works for me and makes it really easy to see what I'm running low on. At a glance, I can tell exactly what I need to order from my printer. Again, efficiency.
Enough about inventory and on to the fun stuff. This is called my "I'm really freaking out and need to have a moment" area. I hardly sit here.
Just kidding. I sit there a lot. I always feel that way.
Also, a fun fact. Brandon's ex-girlfriend -- when they were not exes -- painted that portrait of our dog Ralph that we lost a few years ago. See this blog post. When we first got together, it bothered me. But when we lost Ralph, I had to have it somewhere I could see every day. See, ex-girlfriends can be good.
The rest of the studio is random odds and ends. I found a painting that looked just like Professor Noodles in a birthday hat from TJ Maxx one day, so I had to buy it. He overlooks my wholesale area where I organize cards and get orders together. Spoiler alert: There aren't many right now. Thanks, Coronavirus.
I also keep my two friends above the shelving so Professor Noodles won't find them an eat them. The bunny is Dave. I've had him since I was a baby. My mom was so kind that she would actually chase me around the house with him and pretend that he was evil. But jokes on him because now he has to watch me work all the time. The worm thing was just a funny little guy we found at a market one day. The artist is Jenny Mae Creations, and I loved all of her awkward unique little guys. This worm especially.
Let me know in the comments if I missed anything you want to know about. The goal of my home studio is to be very organized while also being an enjoyable place to spend a significant amount of time. And if I can sell a few cards along the way, that's even better! Thanks for stopping by!