A small-business owner turns her spare room into a custom office. Cabinetry and desk space let her manage inventory and meet with clients while working from home.
We’ve got a client named Denise in Bowie, Maryland, who’s what I like to call a “supermom.” You know the type. You might be one yourself. Not only does she raise two kids, but she also runs a small business out of her home—and she’s great at both.
Either one of these activities is challenging, doubly so when you’re doing them simultaneously, but Denise offers us an example of how to do it well by making the most of her time with a custom-designed office.
A Business Needs a Headquarters
Denise is far from alone in her home-business endeavors. The US Small Business Administration reports more than half of all businesses in the US are based out of the owner’s home, though about 35% of them fail within the first two years. To thrive, business owners need dedication and ambition—as well as the right setup and resources.
Denise is in the jewelry business. She’s been designing and manufacturing her own line for just over three years. For the first nine months, her kitchen table was her workspace. It seemed like the best option because it allowed her to keep an eye on her daughters while she worked, but it soon became evident this setup wouldn’t cut it. The kid’s TV shows and the clutter in the kitchen were distractions that cost her time and caused her stress. The table needed to be cleared each evening so the family could share a meal, then cleaned up in the morning before she could start work again. It wasn’t sustainable.
What Denise needed was a dedicated workspace, one that would serve the needs of her business but still allow her to be close to the kids. The solution was to turn her spare room into a space that served all of these needs.
Given that the majority of Denise’s sales are conducted from her website and Etsy account, she definitely needed computer space. But as a sole proprietor, she’s also in charge of maintaining inventory, shipping products, and sometimes meeting with clients. A computer desk wasn’t going to be enough. Instead, she had us design a space customized to meet her exact needs. This included a computer workstation, filing cabinets to organize invoices and bills, and storage for her boxes, envelopes, and packing supplies. Lastly, she needed a surface to create her jewelry, so our designers included a desk with ample counter space, so she can finally lay out all her tools and materials without worrying about gathering them up before dinner.
A Warehouse and Showroom
Denise stays ahead of her orders by keeping extra product stock on hand at all times. This means ample storage is crucial. We installed large, locking cabinets with floor-to-ceiling shelves beside her workspace, so she can easily keep track of her inventory.
Although a lot of her business is conducted online, Denise also has an extended social circle of customers who prefer to see her creations firsthand. We included a display area along the wall opposite her workspace, with open shelving so she can set up jewelry stands and shallow drawers for larger items. With custom lighting as a finishing touch, her work is displayed beautifully in a “miniature showroom.”
Denise also wanted a place to chat in-person with her clients. We designed her peninsula desk to extend out from her stock and storage area so guests can sit comfortably while she wraps things up. Overall, her spare room has become the perfect marriage of office, workspace, warehouse, and gallery all in one.
Of course, every business has particular needs. But whether you want space to hang your inventory of vintage dresses or heavy-duty shelving to display pottery, a custom-designed setup gives you the flexibility you need.
Balancing Business and Childcare
The needs of your business don’t always coordinate with the needs of your children. But Denise’s new work sanctuary allows her to maximize her efficiency during her daughters’ nap time. Even when they’re awake and need her attention, a few kid-friendly additions to her office allow her to still get work done.
For part of the afternoon, she now has her kids look at books or play quietly in her office while she tends to her orders. Under her shelf of shipping materials, we installed low storage cabinets with soft close hinges so her daughters can keep their favorite toys close by and access them independently. Friends and clients with kids of their own also make use of the play space when dropping by.
A Dedicated Workspace Lets You Do It All
Running your own business is a challenge. Doing so while raising children is a task for superparents. But Denise shows that when you have an office that is multifaceted, it’s possible to be both a successful business owner and a great parent.
Whether your business requires just the essentials, such as a desk and filing system, or you’re like Denise and would benefit from custom storage for overstock, a display area, a meeting space, or even a Murphy bed, we can craft a design that works for you and puts everything in its place, perfectly. If you need more space than the kitchen table, reach out to us. We’ll be happy to provide a free design consultation as the first step toward creating the perfect workspace for your business.