Mayka Studios celebrated its grand opening two weeks ago, and the room was buzzing with excitement over the new space.
Full of sunlight and owned by even sunnier people, the 1,300 square foot studio is designed for photographers, videographers and creative entrepreneurs alike who hope to capture content or host their event in a unique and local space.
The studio was founded by Kirsten Schollig and Aysia Garbe, entrepreneurs who own individual businesses but banded together to build a space they both thought the community — and their respective business — was lacking.
“We are so excited to be a part of this community,” said Schollig. “Working with Aysia over the years on branding content, we ended up going to the city so much to try to get into a studio.”
“It wasn’t worth it,” agreed Garbe. “We saw a need and wanted to fill it.”
Schollig is a wedding and branding photographer relatively new to Collingwood’s creative scene. She fell in love with photography in high school and hasn’t stopped since. With a background in journalism, public relations, photography, and digital arts, she created her business, Captured by Kirsten, to help her clients tell the whole story.
Garbe brings online marketing and communication experience to the partnership. The founder of Makya Marketing and Make Waves Markets, Garbe's background is in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs create a consistent online presence and share their brand story through communication and connection.
After collaborating on various projects in the past, the two took the plunge and decided to enter into business together as well.
“Opening this studio together, we’re able to balance our own careers along with this business because we don’t always have to be in the same room at the same time,” said Schollig.
They first looked at the space where the studio now stands over a year ago, and after a few minor setbacks, they got the keys at the beginning of December.
“We put a lot of thought into every little thing,” said Garbe.
Schollig agreed: “We are always looking for new ways to customize the space. It has always been a dream of mine as a photographer… To be able to come in, capture and create, and watch others do the same.”
The open-concept studio features a curated selection of decor, with a different feel in every corner. Schollig and Garbe hope to build partnerships with other local businesses to redesign the space every season, and help promote their product as well. They currently showcase a “living room” set from Miller Island in Creemore.
“It’s almost like consignment. Most of the items here have been sold,” said Schollig. “If we can get people sitting on their stuff, seeing it in another way, it gives them promotion as well.”
Garbe even bought one of the pieces for herself.
With studio rentals now in full swing, a variety of packages are available to fit the needs of anyone interested in the space. The studio can be rented by the hour, by the half or full day, or for events. Add-ons are also available, such as backdrops for photoshoots, catering and furniture rental options.
“Once or twice a week we want open time, where creative entrepreneurs can come in and collaborate and get advice from each other, with coffee. Or take pictures, whatever they need,” said Schollig.
“Like a beer, ping pong and dogs kind of vibe,” said Garbe.
Both women are very happy with the outcome of the space, saying they learned a lot along the way as well.
“Working with a partner who is as creative as I am has been fun... Working with a partner has also been one of the biggest challenges,” Schollig laughed. “We definitely didn’t see eye-to-eye at first.”
“I have never worked with a partner like this,” added Garbe. “It’s challenging, but you learn a lot. You learn how to be open to ideas and how to let your ego go.”
“It’s like being married,” Garbe continued. “We would literally be in HomeSense arguing about furniture.”
But both Garbe and Schollig realized there are advantages to having different styles as well.
“We both have completely different styles in how we work as well. But what was a really nice and beautiful outcome was this space,” said Garbe.
For now, the two are taking it one day, and one project — usually — at a time, but they couldn’t have done it without the support from their friends, family, business mentors, and the community.
“Everybody in Collingwood is so amazing. They just want to see people grow,” said Garbe.