Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A New Endeavor?

I've been thinking of doing children's art classes. Anyhoo, a couple of months ago, the idea came up in my little head when I came across a book that I bought when my teens were younger about Discovering Great Artists. A manual of sorts with different projects to do with kids based on different great artists like Picasso, Matisse, O'Keefe,etc. There's a lot of diversity, with projects for all age groups.
When my daughter's Brownie troop broke up years ago, and she was so crushed, I had formed a little art club of sorts for her and her friends and it was quite successful.
So...the idea has been in the back of mind and has now resurfaced big time. A lot of the locals here complain there is nothing for kids to do. (Now mind you, some of these people have kids that are grown and now have their own grandchildren, as most people our age don't have 5 year olds! ) SO I mentioned this idea to my neighbor Sue and she seemed bubbling over about the whole thing and I guess got me kind of enthused and thinking this just might work.

She suggested that I do it out of our huge pretty wooden shed to save on overhead. Initially, I thought this was a good idea, but I would need ventilation- windows and such- (which of course would not be so big an obstacle). However, I realized there is no bathroom in there- and where you have kids - you need a bathroom! lol Then of course there was the whole zoning thing. (Which btw is possible to get around- maybe)
SO, low and behold, I go around the corner yesterday, onto the main avenue to talk to a little cafe about my sales gig, doing their take-out menus - as I heard they were moving to a larger space two blocks over. WELL, it seems that their little spot will be available for Rent as of July 1st. SO I called the owner about it and it's $500.00 a month. BUT she also mentioned that the guy who owns the Little Comic Shop next door was thinking of taking that spot and his place would be available for $400.00 a month!!!! (Cause it's a smaller spot, silly) BUT it could be just right for what I have in mind.
WHICH IS to do three seperate classes for three different age broups. Say ages 7 & 8, 9 & 10, 11 & 12. I would limit each class to 6 or 8 kids. (Not sure about that one yet) Any ideas? My daughter has offered to help out when she can, as she is great with kids.
Also unsure about the insurance thing. Really, don't want to spend the money on it, as well money is very tight. AND I never did have insurance when I owned my children's boutique in Westchester, but yes, I know it's an important thing to consider.
I feel certain that I could do this. As far as the instructing end. And Sue (my neighbor) thought that summer would be a great time to kick it off. My only reservations are, days and times. As I'm sure a lot of working people send their kids to daycare or day camp. SO I say, will this work? And as you know, this is not a rich town...just working class. BUT like everyone says there's nothing for kids to do. AND as some of you may know - Milford - down the road is a very artsy community with a bit more money.
My first thought was to spread it out over the 6 weeks of Summer with one class a week for each age group. But now I'm thinking that I might be better breaking it up into a four week thing, with overlaps. As people might have vacations planned, etc.
That's where I really have my reservations, and am a bit perplexed. Any input on that one?

At the moment, my plan is to talk to the old pre-school owner as she is well versed in these things. AND to see what kind of schedule the Dance Class place across the street has for summer, since they are already established.
My other thought is - aside from having a 4 week package thang -is to maybe have a Pick A Project day. Where the studio space is open for drop-offs or maybe walk-ins (: would be a better way to put it. So if Mom had to run to Walmart or the Hair salon or the Supermarket down the road, or if the kid is just plain bored and driving Mom nuts, she could drop her kid off with moi!
I'm also still figuring out what to charge, obviously taking into consideration covering the neccesary art materials. I would like to do about $20.00 per class, but don't know if the locals can bear that kind of cost. Each class would probably run about an hour and a half.
Hub and I thought that even if I can bring a part-time income in, like $300.00 a week, that it would be great as there is nothing else out there as far as emplyment opportunities.

And the fact that the space available is just around the corner is ideal - no gas money needed!And another boon for me is no fancy clothes needed either! (:
Of course, I would continue in the Fall doing an After School thing and I'm toying with the idea of doing an Art Journaling class for teens, as I have taught my daughter about it and she loves it.

I would be available for parties as well.
My marketing strategy is to get the word out through the girl and boy scout org., mucho flyers, camps, daycares, church bulletins, etc.,and ads in the small cheap local papers. I also belong to the Pike County Arts & Crafts Organization in Milford, (though I have to confess I haven't been a big participant in recent years)so I could pump it up there.
Now that I have written you a short novel, I'm curious about your input and also ask that you send a little prayer out into the Universe.

Though I don't want to put the cart before the horse, and jump in too quickly, if I'm going to do this I would like to secure one of the small spots soon, as the rent is SO cheap. (And it's got Main Avenue exposure).
So what do you all think?? Mucho input, opinions, advice is much appreciated.

Hope everyone is having a Springy week bursting with blooms and creative ideas!


I AM said...

Blue -

Everything you're thinking about sounds great and possible.

From a business/practical standpoint though, I would really think about doing a complete business plan. Figure out exactly what your expenses will be (everything from toilet paper all the way up to rent & insurance & electricity & supplies). Then figure out what it would take to break even.

I don't mean to sound negative in ANY way, I really think you could be good at this. It just really helps to have a good plan.

Another thing to think about is what is the economy like where you are? Do parents have the extra money to afford a "luxury" like art. (as so many people do think creativity is a luxury).

I'm more than willing to help if you need anything, feel free to email me.

Thinking big, shiny, happy, successfully entrepreneurial thoughts for you!

ArtyEm said...

I taught kids art classes at my studio and it was wonderful - I never even thought about insurance or anything like that, but then again, I am pretty naive.
I just printed up fliers and passed them around to all the kids I knew in the neighborhood. I made my classes twice a week, twenty dollars a pop, sessions of 6 or 8 classes. I had fine arts for the older kids, drawing and painting, and crafts for the younger. It was great when my kids were young. We even had an art show once a year - I combined efforts with a local dance teacher and we called it an art festival - very fun.
good luck!

self taught artist said...

i had no idea you had a childrens boutique...
love this idea, sounds like you have a big clue and many ideas and past success with such endeavors.
love the pop in idea and who knows, maybe with a few local paper write ups people will flock to you.
this seems like a great idea all around, hope you can get the required things done and get er done!

BlueJude said...

Yes, T, a plan is a good thing. That's why - right now I'm just kind of thinking the whole thing through, figuring expenses, etc. AND most importantly, the economic situation. As you said, people look at these things as "luxuries".
And yes STA, I have a colorful work history (: Full of surprises, am I!

Krissysart said...

I think it would be awesome for you and your students. I know my girls LOVE art class and when taught by someone who knows thier stuff...even better. Go for it!

Jenn said...

I love this idea!! Dream big and make it happen!!! Great idea to talk to the can send out a flyer to the students there maybe?? I just have a great feeling about all of it and think you will be great at it:)

Happy weekend to you!!!! xox

suze said...

It's a great idea. I started taking private lessons when I was 13 and we had kids of all ages in the same class but it was fine art and they were all very good. It was at the teacher's home and it was every Saturday morning. I think the idea of keeping age groups together is a better idea. I would love to open a studio/shop but the whole insurance thing deterred me. You really need to have the insurance, especially with kids involved.
The drop in idea is good,too.
Be sure to inforce your open times as some people drop off their kids and forget to come and get them. I have had that happen with other job's.
I wish you all the luck with this endeavor!
Have a great weekend.

LadyTulip said...

** Whatta great idea!! ***

First & formost, do the whole "How Much Are My Costs" thing first..yeah it'z a pain to do the whole spread sheet thing, but if you can see that you can break even for the first year, then I think you'll be able to really get this thing running on full speed in no time...

Check out the ins. probably first...that may sound like a Duh dumb thing, but without that, you can Really have a nightmare in the wings...and Do ask LOTZ of questions of as many business owners you know...they can be really much much help!!

I'm so hoping this will be a Super Thing for you!! I'm really excited to see this coming around!! I just wish I'd had some lessons when I waz little..

Go For It!!


windy angels said...

Terrific idea!!! Your daughter would be great to help.
wondering if you or your daughter have watched any of suziblutubes videos
I understand she has very young followers. I'm sure you've already got swags of your own ideas BUT sometimes viewing someone else's methods can help also.

My very, very best wishes in each and every one of your endeavours.
Angels be with you,
Wendy XO

zorana said...

I could feel your excitement through the post. It sounds like a great idea. I have no business advice to offer, as I don't know anything about it. I wish you luck and success and happiness in doing something you love.

Ellen said...

I posted a very long winded comment that blogger ate up! so I'll keep it simple. What a wonderful idea! Go for it! Business plans are really helpful.

I taught a bit as well and one thing that worked well was offering art classes of different durations. Having a range of 4 week, 6 week and 8 week themed classes was great. Some parents like the idea of a short program, as a little taste into art. Often they'll book their children into longer ones later. Good luck, I'm sure you'll do great, how exciting!

Funky Art Queen said...

Yes, this sounds like a wonderful idea. It could also be kind of an art gallery when not doing classes! Just a thought.