Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Julie Chambers, Founder of Chambers Music Studio, located in Bexley, OH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We teach private music lessons for students of all ages and instruments. Focusing on high-quality music education, we provide innovative instruction tailored to each student’s specific needs and interests, with opportunities for students to showcase their achievements in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. Inside our music school, we also have SWonderful Times Cafe, offering organic, natural choices like a peanut butter avocado smoothie, salted maple cafe au lait, gluten-free chicken nuggets, and more. Order your delicacy via the Joe Coffee app when you leave your house and arrive at a fresh treat waiting for you at the studio before your lesson.
Our studio is an inclusive environment. Our customers are: mothers/fathers and babies enjoying early childhood education music classes, young children developing beginning music skills in private or small group lessons, older children polishing their craft, or adults beginning or continuing their musical journey. Busy families are welcomed with a beautiful weekly retreat to learn music, relax and get dinner on the go, and isolated people are welcomed into a musical community. All ages, all personalities, and abilities are welcome. Our customers are young, mature, busy, lonely, and anything in between.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, but I first discovered Bexley as a music education major at Capital University. After I graduated, I taught public school music in Perry County, Ohio, private music lessons, and played the organ for local churches for several years while working on my master’s degree in music education before studying abroad in Hungary. Inspired by Hungarian music pedagogue Zoltan Kodaly, I believe that “music is for everyone.” I want to create a strong music education for students and families to better understand and enjoy music. Music feeds our souls, nourishes our minds, comforts our bodies, and tends to our emotions. When I returned from Hungary, inspired by my thorough music education courses, I taught for a few more years in the public school systems but decided to focus on private music teaching after I moved back to Bexley in 2013.
I’ve been teaching private lessons from my home in Bexley since 2013. I loved teaching private music lessons, but I noticed a problem. Private lessons can feel isolating for students and families. Students go to a teacher, or a teacher comes to the student with very little social or community interaction. I really felt for the parents with little ones waiting in the car while their siblings took lessons. As a parent of three: Amelia, Brendan, and Callahan. I understand the joys and difficulties of parenting. I decided to create an inviting space for families to gather together while students have lessons. Inspired by other local businesses, I hoped to have a community music school where families could gather for lessons and informal, intimate recitals. I was inspired by our local play cafe because of their excellent cafe options. It really made moms want to hang out while their kids played.
Our music studio has a beautiful cafe area in the front designed with that in mind. A place where families can get a snack or light dinner for the kids while the other siblings have a music lesson. A shabby chic coffee shop-style cafe that offers a place for students to perform in a relaxed, casual location. We offer private and group lessons for students and instruments of all ages in a welcoming and inclusive environment. I have local Bexley resident and architect Valerie Halas to thank for designing a gorgeous space that really captures my vision. Her work with Compton Construction really brought a dream to life.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Being a small business owner is also an art. I cannot choose my biggest accomplishment or my favorite work of art. There’s so much from which to choose and so much not yet created. Each creation is important to different people for different reasons. The cafe has created job openings, community gatherings, healthy meals, relaxing opportunities for people, etc. The studio has given people of all ages, abilities, and interests a community space for learning, developing, and experiencing music.
Recitals offer community service, engagement, and performance opportunities. Our studio develops creativity, problem-solving skills, adaptability, confidence, goals, purpose, and more. We are developing the whole person and community, and it’s everlasting. My biggest accomplishment isn’t important. What’s important is the meaningful changes and experiences for our musical community.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There’s so much to do. As the owner of a small business, you have to know how to do everything, and everyone needs you. Learning how to delegate, organize your work, and balance your home life are important tasks for the business owner. Time away to regroup and refocus directly improves the quality of your work.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The old adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” extends especially to building and growing a new business. Start with something you can do, and constantly evaluate what’s working, what isn’t, and what changes need to be made or fine-tuned. Have patience and perseverance throughout the process. Get help when it’s time. You can’t do everything yourself. Collaborating with others is an amazing experience. Communicate clearly what you need and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to get other ideas, but also don’t be afraid to make difficult decisions. You can’t make everyone happy, but you can make decisions with grace.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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