Sunday, August 12, 2018

Let's Go With Plan... J?

I've got a bit of a mess that I need help sorting out. I apologize for the long post, and I understand if you don't read it - but if you do make it through - I would really appreciate any ideas, encouragement, suggestions, or large checks. ;-)

I'll try to break it down into the major issues.


The Great Idea:

Wingdoodle was a "Creativity General Store" that my mom and I ran for about 10 years, and then I used the space as my studio (The BeeHive) for a year until I went to grad school. There's an apartment upstairs that I rent to a couple of really nice guys, but the store had been empty while I was away. When I moved back from VT last summer, I realized I didn't want to open a store again and I really needed the money... So I decided to sell the building and start a new business in Concord.

It took quite a while, but I found a group of farmers/artists who wanted to open a Co-op Farmer's Market and Gallery. After months and months - they formed their business and we were able to work out owner financing. That would give me a small chunk of money to start my new studio and publishing company ("Bumblebat Books") and a little monthly income too.

By April, it seemed like we'd figured out all the necessary details - we signed a purchase and sale agreement...

...and the nightmare began.

The Problem:

The title company said I didn't have a clear title - the neighbors were claiming they owned part of the store's property. Turned out, when the piece of land that serves as the apartment's off-street parking, was transferred from the neighboring house to Wingdoodle, the town had not filed the paperwork with the title office - until more than 3 years later. Unfortunately, by the time the land lot line adjustment was correctly registered, the house had been sold, with an incorrect Deed.

By May, there was a corrected Deed and Title for the house and it looked like we could go ahead with the sale of the Wingdoodle building - but then the neighbors decided not to sign unless we gave them a Right of Way across the land in question. Then they wanted a permanent Right of Way. Then they said it was actually their land. Then they claimed the shared driveway was theirs. And the tenants were trespassing by parking their car there... and then... and then...

The Options:

Now it's August. No one can accept the "blame" and there's no compromise in sight. The escalation already has had serious financial consequences and now, legal consequences. I have no idea where this is headed, but the only thing my brain is thinking, besides "WTF?!" is "I don't want to PLAY!"

The options are - try to find a way to compromise about the Right of Way and the Easement, go to court for a quiet title (a LOT of money and time), or start suing everyone even remotely involved.


The Great Idea:

Last August, I rented a tiny studio space at the Concord Community Arts Center so I could work on a few comic and picture book ideas. The space was 5x14 feet! So - classes, meetings... were all out of the question. This April, I had a chance to move up to a HUGE (850 square feet) studio space in the same building - at the same time that I needed to clear out the Wingdoodle building for the new buyers. The Universe sent me a very clear message to jump on the chance.

I set up the new space, The BeeHive, with a gallery/shop space, a meeting space, a classroom, chalkboards, a reference library, a more private work area, a stocked supply area and a large die cutter. I put up the trees from my store, and started on new murals. There are huge windows and enough space to hula hoop.

The Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) Meetup group and the SCBWI Book Dummies now call the space home and there are some exciting programs in the works for this fall.

My Great Idea had been to create a place for my art tribes - building interactions in the real world. We're all so consumed by social media and I know that I disappear into my introversion without an actual public Studio to go to.

I imagined a space for CZTs to teach classes, and learn HOW to teach classes. Authors and illustrators could have shows and book signings and workshops. Groups could have meetings, meet ups, gatherings, retreats... all that good stuff!

The Problem:

The BeeHive space is leased by Wingdoodle LLC and is/was dependent on the sale of the Wingdoodle building. (See Above) That means that  - not only is the monthly rent and business insurance not being covered by the sale of the store building, but I haven't had the time or attention span to focus on getting the new studio rolling.

The Options:

The responsible thing... would probably be to break the lease, rent a storage unit and just put the whole idea on ice.

I'm not inclined towards being responsible.

I'd like to find someone, or a few people to run the studio - organize, schedule, maintain - get the teachers in, get it all rolling, earning money, making a difference in the world. I did look into hiring an assistant to run it - but as it is, there's no way to pay them to begin. Catch-22.

I'd like to find some sponsors to help pay for the space in exchange for.... ?

IF we can get this working, we could turn it into a non-profit, get donations and sponsorships (tax-deductible) and include workshops to provide artists with financial, legal, marketing, etc. information.

I don't want to run another business, I want to be a part of a cooperative studio space.


The Great Idea:
Beez Ink Studio is my own business - I've been doing freelance illustration and recently, more sketch note type work. I'd like to develop that more - an illustration-comics-sketchnote-zentangle fusion. Graphic Medicine, Science Comics, Picture Books, Online classes... and I wanted to publish more of my own books through Bumblebat Books.

OK, I admit it - when I start talking about these projects I get SO EXCITED!!! I truly LOVE creating these kinds of weird projects whether they are books, comics or stand alone pieces. The research, sketching, brainstorming, design... I get to use almost all my superpowers and different techniques. I LOVE DOING THIS!!!!!

The Problem:
The money for printing the books and running all the online pieces of the biz (Mailchimp, Teachable, Photoshop, etc .)... was going to come from the downpayment on the sale of the Wingdoodle building. So it's all on hold for the present. Also, I'm still trying to work out getting some of my rights back to my Zentangle books. The BeeHive was going to be the home base for Bumblebat Books as well as the place to sell and promote the books.

The Options:

If I let go of the BeeHive Studio, some of the money going towards running it might be used for printing books, etc - but printing is in the thousands. I could do Kickstarters too. Or take a home equity loan.

These three Ideas were all intertwined - the sale of the Wingdoodle building would fund the Bumblebat publishing and the BeeHive Studio. The BeeHive Studio provides the support (mentally and creatively) and the marketing venue for the books I want to create with Bumblebat...


  1. Whew...I applaud you for even being able to put together this post with different options! Positive and negative!! It might be best to talk with someone (attorney, financial planner??) to help with some advice. I wouldn't know which to begin with. Do hope something works out for you. I can see you have the heart and want to share with others this desire! Hope it works out!

  2. Wow...I agree with Robbie...Real Estate attorrney for the property mess, maybe see if there is an arbitrator that could meet with you and the other ppl to see if you can come to a compromise? No idea how to help with the studio space...wish I was retired and lived closer so I could help you out...give you a few hours a week as office help in exchange for free classes or some such...but alas I have several more years of employment ahead - and I live several states west...I do have faith that it will work out, maybe not quite as you see it now but it will work out!

  3. Sorry about all the mess you are having to deal with, but in watching the news this evening an elderly homeowner called our Local Fox Consumer Reporter (who is awesome) for help. Seems a lousy contractor left her with a mess of really bad work and she paid him big bucks. Then she had to get another contractor (reputable this time) to tear it out and re-do everything because the jerk said he did what he was paid for! So, although she had the money to initially pay, she needed to pay twice as much to tear out and redo. The University of Houston Law College has stepped up to help loads of folks that had to deal with fraudulent contractors over the past year due to Hurricane Harvey. Perhaps you can do the same, it's an idea as it sounds like you have some very unfriendly neighbors to deal with. You won't know unless you ask. So keep your spirits up and hold to your faith and you will get through it all. Rooting for you.

  4. What to do:

    What is your objection to giving your neighbors the "right of way" . . . That sounds like the linchpin of all the problems.

    Now to solve EACH additional problem, do this:

    Make a list of what you'd like to happen, and rank it top to bottom

    For each thing you ranked, write what you have (or accomplished), and what you do not have. This is a two-part list: Complete and Missing

    Now, forget about the Complete list

    For each thing on the Missing list, write what you can do in some way to fix the situation. Do the *easiest* things immediately.

    Often, solving one thing solves a whole buncha things so some place during the above process you can see the solution, or the steps you are taking change directions.

    Now, give your neighbors the right-of-way.

  5. Great post. You sound so possiive! And I wish I could help, but I have no idea how things work in the USA. But I wish you all the best, and maybe one day I will be able to help. Stay possitive, keep creating!


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