Since we began making art back in the '80s, it seems we have consistently gone back to three things to move our careers along: Moving west, taking risks, and working hard. Moving west for Annie meant coming to California from Ireland. For Eric, it was taking the California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco. When we both landed here around 1989, we had no idea who each other was, much less what lay ahead of us. But in San Francisco, we found a place where people encouraged us to find our way. With that kind of support, it was easy to think big, and to take risks.
Working in restaurants, bars, newspapers, print shops, software companies, banks, ad agencies - all of these were great opportunities that were put in front of us over the years. It's always a risk to leave one job and take on another, but the hope is that you move forward. Move closer to doing what you want to do. And in 2006, it was time to take the biggest risk to date - to open 3 Fish Studios. This meant Eric leaving a good job, and Annie trusting that it would all work out. Hard work? You bet.
Anyone trying to grow a business over these last five years can appreciate the challenge, but that is where the secret sauce of San Francisco comes in. Filled with inspiring people - beautiful sights - creative outlets. And a wonderful thing happened during our journey; more and more people started seeking out work by independent artists and appreciating the quality that is inherent in handmade goods. With the support of customers like you, some great local businesses that carry our work, and the exposure we have received at various art fairs, we managed to build a nice little business. Selling our art. It's pretty cool.
For the past five years, we've happily made the commute from our home near Ocean Beach, on the west side of San Francisco, to our lovely studio, located in the Dogpatch district of the City. When we opened this place, Dogpatch was still a sleepy little out-of-the-way neighborhood on SF's east side that was hardly anyone's destination. But we've seen it blossom. All kinds of small, creative businesses have either started up or relocated here during our watch, and we love being part of the community.
We've also welcomed the many folks who have braved the street parking and the three flights of stairs to visit us, either to buy a something off our wall or take a printmaking class. This walk-in business has grown a lot this last year, and it got us to thinking how we could use our resources to provide a better experience.
So this February, as we were driving to a new bakery in our neighborhood by Ocean Beach, we saw a For Sale sign on a building that piqued our interest. It was on an old grocery store, in another great neighborhood burgeoning with creative, entrepreneurial businesses - the Outer Sunset. The Outer Sunset is located only five minutes from our house. After a quick discussion, we called up the listing agent to look at the place. It was perfect. We realized that if we could get in there, our payments would be close to our current rent. The next day we made an offer. To our surprise it was accepted, and over the course of the next two months we somehow managed to secure an SBA loan and financing, and now - here's the big news - it is ours. Well, the bank's. But ours all the same.
In keeping with our recurrent themes of moving forward: it is west, just about as far west as you can get in the United States. In fact, it is a mere three blocks from the ocean. It is a risk, because what we just did is crazy. CRAZY. But it feels like the right move. And it will be hard work, but it is doing the work we love.
Over the course of the next 30 days, we will be moving our studio over to the beach. We'll keep you up to date on the progress here on our blog. And we'll keep shipping any online orders that come in. We plan on having a big going-away party to say goodbye to Dogpatch, and another party when we officially open the new space. You'll be invited. Because it is people like you that help make dreams like this come true. We thank you, and are so grateful for your continued support as we enter this next phase.
Let's do Sunset.
Share this post