If you are lucky enough to work from home during the pandemic, rock on! Since March '20, life has been disrupted and deterred, 100%. At the beginning of 2020, boy did I have different plans for business. But now, I am making it work the best I can while staying as safe and smart as possible. Living in NYC, surprisingly my resources are limited as 1. I don't have access to a car 2. you're pretty much stuck in your apartment. And my high-risk parents are located in Florida, so I chose fold and and not play my cards in that game. As an artist working in fashion, retail, and entertainment industries, work has been incredibly halted and limited -- which is understandable, but as a small business owner, a call to adapt to the times. My home studio also functions as a live/work, and my living space final got a little bit of a re-haul this past month. I work 7-days a week, as other self-employed people can tell you--your business is your baby. Launching a larger e-commerce and more present online platform was the goal, and now, things are rolling a bit more. It's about putting on a cool face and keeping a positive attitude, so you can handle anything.
Speaking of a cool face, this shirt and skirt pairing of just two very posh pieces recently out of production. The cotton shirt is hand painted in it's entirely with the motif of The Cool Faces - a variation of The Cool People. Painted in the same ambidextrous fashion, but evoking a plethora of different emotions from distraught to enlightened. In my world, this is an ideal way to wear white with a twist. These two garments are a step towards a more polished, business lady look. You know in Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion when they're at a highway diner and ask for a "business woman special" while wearing biz suits? That's along the lines of where we're headed. I mean, not really, but on the same page of the catalogue.
As I use my studio space to paint and create, my living space is now moreover focused on business. Not only do I store inventory and all essential materials, but I juggle storage between clothing inventory, artwork storage, paint/books/work material, shipping/packaging essentials, and of course, my personal day-to-day living stuff. Oh plus, I have to have a bed and functional cooking space. When I'm not cleaning, I'm in full OCD mode organizing things by color or alphabetizing labels on boxes. I am the farthest thing away from a minimalist, but I am unbelievably organized and clean despite the immediate thoughts of chaos you see from the apartment. It's really just an explosion of color and thought. Like inside Storm Ritter Studio, any space of mine is like jumping inside my brain. I like to think of myself as a variation of Pee Wee's Playhouse, but I do wish my inanimate furniture would break into song.
Finally setting up a better desk scenario, as that was usually trumped by a need more painting and sewing work space. And Velvet--who has a huge tv addiction--now has her own iPad set up to watch shows while she eats. Normally she lays on the floor with my laptop, but mama's gotta work. Otherwise, I finally got my mirror out of my storage unit and figured out how to utilize my upstairs storage in a more logical fashion. During the day, its a bright space to focus on computer work, packaging, and overall biz clerical to-do's. Night, moody lights go up, painting, cooking, record spinning, movie streaming moods ignite. My space is filled with very meaningful things, and I've been very fortunate to have the tools from my retail shop to evolve into a better e-commerce.
In 2019, I was able to hold private shopping appointments, styling meetings, production work days with my seamstress, and countless photoshoots or hang-outs with creative friends. Now, things are WAY different. Studio cat Velvet and I are a solid partners, rarely delving out of our world, minus very socially distanced biz-related meet-ups. I think I have "hung-out" with friends under 10 times in the past size months. And client meetings/styling appointments have been limited. It's scary out there and REAL! I'm one to stay on the positive side, but it's hard to not speak the reality of our country's situation and health crisis. How the next 6 months will go is extremely concerning. Recently one of my dear friends of 10+ years, Megan, came over, never removed her mask, and shot a handful of photos of me in my living space and outside my apartment. I felt like a freak removing my mask for short periods of time outside, but we did shoot at 8am. She and her husband are wedding photographers, taking unbelievably responsible precautions to continue their business. But let me tell you, it's weird out there!