My Successful Open House
Found in: About Business
Vonnie L. Oregon
I just held a Studio Open House to celebrate my new studio. I have rented a nice spot (189 sq ft) in a small ‘artsy’ mall in the downtown area of Oregon. It is an historic area with lots of antique shops, art studios, a beautiful park and senior center on the river, etc. – a perfect location, I think. I hand-delivered letters of invitation to all the tenants of the mall and many of the neighboring businesses. The letter had a business card stuck on with a tiny bit of rubber cement so they could keep it for future reference. Everyone was very friendly, and welcomed me to the area. Several people offered to post flyers. I also got the local newspaper to place an article on page two about the open house. (It’s a small town without much news to report!) And I placed a sandwich board sign with a finger pointing to my studio out in the main hall. I bought lots of cookies and crackers and ordered pots of coffee, lemonade and iced tea from a coffee shop down the hall.
It was very slow at first. I sat there with the door open, reading – then praying for someone to come! Then I sat at the piano and started to play. That brought people in. (Since the piano faces away from the door, I put a sticky note with a smiley face saying ‘Please interrupt me if I’m playing’). Several people were out shopping after registering their kids for school and just stumbled on the Open House. Some saw the article in the paper. Others saw flyers around town. (So far no one has called from my classified ad.)
I was able to give the Simply Music conversation to about twelve different groups. Three people signed up for lessons (which is enough to pay my rent and insurance!) and about eight more are strong possibilities. So, even though most of the coffee went to waste and I have dozens of cookies in the freezer, I consider it a success. I know the word will spread from the students I have. And I will continue to sit and play with the door open to attract more people.
I’d like to point out to others there that a mall studio might be something to consider. Most malls have serious problems with vacancies now, so they are lowering rent. (Mine is only $200 a month with no lease, but this is OREGON, not California!) The exposure could lower overall advertising costs. The mall manager was concerned about my ‘noise’ bothering other tenants, but I told her I would be using a digital piano and would make sure the volume was controlled, or else we would use headphones. It seems that there may be more of a problem with external noise filtering in, but it’s less than you would have in a rented studio at a music store with other teachers with thin walls and teachers on both sides!
At first finding affordable liability insurance (required by the landlord) was an obstacle, but I finally found a very affordable policy.
I loved the idea of performing at the mall. That gave me an idea for a recital of sorts. I think the mall would love it because it would bring in parents, relatives and friends of the performers. It would be nice eventually to have lots of SM music available for various seasons.
Hope this gives someone else an idea or two. Best wishes to all!