If you’re on my VIP list, then you likely heard the huge, exciting, I’ve-been-wanting-this-for-forever news that I recently acquired a space that I’m in the early stages of transforming into my own portrait suite! At seven years into my business, with an emphasis on the end result of museum-quality, handmade pieces of art, this space is the next step in up-leveling your client experience.
The Vision Unfolds: A Dedicated Space for You
See, I’ve had this not-so-secret dream that’s been brewing for a while, probably the past two or three years: a space that’s truly mine, where the magic of pet portraits and the joy of client interactions can seamlessly intertwine. It’s a vision that embodies not only my passion for photography but also my unwavering commitment to crafting the best possible client experience. I didn’t just want any space; I wanted a blank canvas entirely my own, where my artwork and products could take center stage and where the Bark & Gold experience could unfold exactly as I envisioned it.
Earlier on, I thought about building something small right on our home property, but the practicalities and a desire for privacy soon quashed that notion. A coworking or studio share was never on the agenda; it had to be a space that whispered “mine” from every corner.
I imagined a place that would be a testament to the care and commitment I pour into every touchpoint of my client experience, a dedicated space that offered more versatility and more privacy, one that would allow me to showcase your images and my artwork as they deserve to be celebrated: large and in charge! I wanted a central location with a warm, welcoming atmosphere that matches the VIP treatment they truly deserve, one that is convenient to all my clients and where they could feel truly comfortable.
From No-Go to Go-Get-It
On a day in early September, I scheduled a meeting to check out a potential space that, well…to spare you the cringy details, quickly proved to be a definite no-go for many reasons. I left feeling disappointed, frustrated, and somewhat impatient, but I told myself that the right place would fall into my lap. And then, about an hour later, and almost by chance, it did.
While driving home, I spotted a “For Lease” sign in a window on the upper level of the back side of a plaza, just minutes from the neighborhood where I grew up. Without hesitation, I pulled into the parking lot, quickly scribbled down the contact number, and drove a mere five minutes up the road before dialing it. I didn’t expect anyone to answer on those first few rings, but a friendly voice answered on the other end, mentioning he had a brief window of 15 to 20 minutes after I excitedly explained to him what I was looking for. I assured him I’d be there in under five minutes and immediately backtracked on my drive.
The Blue Abyss of Overwhelm
I was shown two units, neither of which was the initial one I called about. It turns out it wouldn’t quite be what I’d need in terms of space and layout anyway, so we skipped touring it and started with two other spaces. I was initially leaning toward the second one I looked at—mostly because the first one was so…blue—but something told me to get a second opinion from my parents, who I knew would be helping with renovations. Ultimately, I decided on the first, which I can only describe as The Blue Abyss of Overwhelm.
When I tell you that entering this space was like walking into a Smurf convention, I’m not exaggerating. Everything was blue, from two large empty walls to the carpet. And, oh boy, the place came fully furnished, like the last tenants had thrown a corporate furniture fiesta! There were two huge L-shaped executive desks, mini desks, conference tables that looked more official than my birth certificate, chairs for days, and more filing cabinets than you’d find in an accountant’s nightmare. It was like a game of office furniture Tetris gone wild! (See exhibit A below.)
But hidden beneath the blue and the avalanche of office furniture, there was potential. Around 800 square feet of it. With a couple of coats of anything-but-blue paint, a few rounds of carpet scrubbing, and a promise to give that furniture a new home (thanks, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?), I started to see the potential. It was like finding a diamond in a pile of…well, blue.
It’s mid-October, and I’m still right in the thick of it. The final renovations are well underway, and I’m on track for an end-of-the-year opening; I’m sooo beyond ready to welcome my clients for their ordering appointments and artwork pickups. I’ve still got a few finishing touches to add, including some new wall art pieces, décor that will truly make the space my own, and, of course, a shiny new TV for viewing your images larger than ever before, but it’s all coming together (albeit not as quickly as I’d like given my zero to sixty get ‘er done approach), and I can’t wait to share this space with you!
I am confident that Bark & Gold Photography’s portrait suite is going to be a game-changer in giving my clients a space to spread out, relax, and truly enjoy what is often their favorite part of the entire Bark & Gold experience. Privacy is a priority here, creating an intimate atmosphere; no more crowded meetups at the local Panera Bread, where I know they feel silly crying happy tears over their pup’s beautiful images. Here, they can have a good old cry of joy, and there will be no one around to give them the side-eye. (Yep, you guessed it, tissues were at the top of my shopping list for a dedicated Kleenex corner because, well, I understand their feels!)
With this dedicated space, I’ll have the capacity to serve more clients, more frequently, which means you won’t have to wait weeks just to book your ordering appointment or receive your pet’s custom artwork. My days of driving all over the region, which limited my availability to see more than one client a day, are long gone! I’ve extended my hours to make scheduling your ordering appointment and artwork pickups super convenient for you. It’s my way of saying, “You’re the VIP here,” because everything I do is for you, my incredible clients!
And the location—it’s another bonus of convenience. Whether you’re coming from Robinson Township, downtown Pittsburgh, Nevillewood, the North Hills or South Hills, or even eastern Ohio or West Virginia, it’s strategically situated just a short drive away off Steubenville Pike in Imperial.
Onward and Upward: Cheers and Thanks for Your Awesome Support
As I inch closer to the official opening of my new portrait suite, I’m excited to invite you to join me on this wild, messy, funny, and often unexpected journey. I believe in full transparency in all aspects of my business, and that includes letting you in on the exciting progress we’re making. Your support and enthusiasm mean the world to me, and I know you love being a part of the adventure. (By the way, if you want more, the fastest way to stay in the loop is by joining my VIP list, where you’ll be among the first to get all the behind-the-scenes action and exclusive updates.)
To all of you who have been my virtual cheerleaders over the past month, filling my social media with comments and sending emails that made me feel like a rockstar, thank you! Your enthusiasm? Pure rocket fuel for my entrepreneurial engine! I’m seriously stoked to have you on this wild ride with me.
I can’t wait to welcome you to my beautiful new portrait suite for your ordering appointment, but first, we’ve got to get your session scheduled. Whether you’re ready to jump in paws first or you simply want to learn more, simply choose your adventure below to begin.