“I Can At Least Cover Rent” | Bojana Kolarevic | Episode 631

“I Can At Least Cover Rent” | Bojana Kolarevic | Episode 631

Bojana Kolarevic | Episode 631

Bojana Kolarevic is a Montréal, Canada based ceramic artist focusing on creating simple imperfect objects for everyday use. Bojana’s background was in interior design, but pottery has become the light in her life and became her obsession.


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Did you develop a cash flow budget when you first started this project?

Yeah, so the organization that was giving me the money wanted to see the cash flow for three years first. So starting year one I started mid summer, so June, my plan was to have different revenues, so different streams of incomes. One was classes, another one was markets, and the third one was individual sales from my website. And then I also kind of had workshops but I guess that would go in with the classes. Classes were going better so I began to focus on what was working. So the cash flow that I developed at that time was proportioned differently and I changed it and I had the bare minimum to cover my expenses and my rent and what was going to be extra.

How important was that leverage of borrowing to get you launched and really hit the road running?

It was pretty important. I took, I want to say 10,00 dollars but they gave me 15,000 because it was the minimum. I spent two thirds of that on renovations because this place was really bad, it was horrible. But I did keep a good chunk to have as a backup for the first few months if things didn’t sell so I could cover my rent. So that I could adjust and move, so that was a pretty important part when I opened the studio.

How did you set your limit on how far your would go into debt so you weren’t over leveraging?

I really wanted to take as little as possible. So when I calculated with my renovations I used the minimum amount to start with and then I kept as much as I could just to see what happens. What helped me is I didn’t have to pay back money right away. I had a year window to start my business before i was paying back. So I knew that was going to help me and that was really helpful. So I thought, Ah, this is going to work and it is going to be fine to make payments. I think it is kind of a risk that you take when you start something. You expect it to work, right?

And it has been working, right?

Yes, actually it has been working really well until this Covid thing. I expanded in December-January and it s double the size right now. So actually when I had that small space I had classes but I realized there is not enough place for me to do my work. It was students, and students work and kind of hard to find my own place. Then I had the opportunity to take the space next door in December and I did and now I have this kind of double studio and one side is really for studio members and for classes and the other side is mostly for my work and some hand building workshops.

You focused more on classes when you saw that they were in demand. How important is it to be flexible to pivot to where the success is?

I think it is very important. I think you can’t just make a plan and go by that plan if it doesn’t work. Right? For me, I always would start something, even the classes in the beginning, I would set  a specific time and  see how it was selling and the next month I would switch the time a little bit and see based on previous month’s sale which one is better. ANd say, Okay, we will do this hour because it is better or this day because it is better. So I just feel that it is very important. I personally wanted to the space to grow and evolve with people because it is kind of a community space.

Has it been hard to adjust to the cash flow cycle, because it is not a regular nine to five you have people paying once a month or something like that, so has that cycle been hard to adjust to? 

Yes, it is definitely different. I personally enjoy it more because it does go up and down but at the same time I know when class registration will open that that is when the money comes in to the account and then I know when I have to go buy materials before that starts, that’s when the money goes out of the account. So I kind of play with that. But you always have money coming in and out of your hands. So if you are managing it properly it can be very much in your favor. Verses waiting for the end of the month or the middle of the month for your paycheck. Which is a fixed amount.

Do you enforce late payment penalties with your customers?

No, for my classes I am actually pretty flexible. I even let people start the session and pay one week in. I have quite a bit of members who have been with me since the opening of the studio and they are regulars and they have their night and they are constantly renewing.The regular members pay every 4 weeks and  I send email reminders if they are continuing they can pay anytime in the beginning of the month. And then they will just confirm that they are continuing. So then they will receive an invoice and they will pay at the beginning of the month or the first of the month but I am not super rigorous because I know they are there and are part of the studio.


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