Know Your Neighbors: Melody Kratz of Studio 8

0
1935
Melody Kratz, Co-Owner of Studio 8

While it certainly doesn’t feel like it, it’s officially spring! A time of new beginnings (once the snow stops). This is especially true for Melody Kratz, the co-owner of Studio 8, a popular vintage boutique specializing in up-cycled furniture, home décor, art and estate jewelry. While Studio 8 is constantly giving new life to well-loved treasures, this past week marked an especially momentous new beginning as they cut the ribbon on their new store location in Forest Park (on Madison Avenue).

Given this exciting news, we thought it would be a great time to catch up with Melody and we’re so glad we did! We learned so much from about Melody herself, her business and what she has learned along the way. Read on to learn more about Melody and Studio 8!

Around Oak Park
You are the co-owner of Studio 8 (which we’ll get to in a minute!) but when you’re not busy being a business owner, where can we find you?

Melody Kratz
I live in Oak Park. We moved here from the city after our first son was born. I love Oak Park and the surrounding areas in that it all still feels urban but close-knit. I can usually be found running around with my three boys being a typical mom. My perfect day is working in the basement of my shop creating and then coming up to the sales floor and seeing many familiar faces. I love watching people enjoy the shop.

AOP
Tell us about Studio 8. What is it? How did it begin?

Melody
Studio 8 is a vintage boutique that focuses on eclectic style. After my twins were born working full time wasn’t an option. To keep myself sane and bring in a little bit of cash I began redoing furniture that I would find in the alleys. After a while, I started getting requests and the business grew. I was also a huge lover of vintage and antiques. Creating a store that encompasses both art and vintage was a natural progression. I needed an outlet to create more and having a shop allows me to be creative and hopefully make a living. Doing what I love and being around similar people never gets old.

AOP
Studio 8 recently got a new home! Where are you now? How did you find each of your spaces?

Melody
The first location was a vacant building near where I live.  It needed love and I wanted to prove it could be beautiful. Our new location (in Forest Park) called to me because of its previous owners.They were tens time what I am and it seemed like a natural step up for us. It has great vibes and is located in many of many favorite shops. I am very excited about our new shop in Forest Park. I love the idea of being in an environment with other business owners like ours and having a constant stream of clients.  We have a great following but we are excited to see new faces in the store. My new partner, Brian Shamhart is an avid “picker.” He scours everywhere to find the most unique items. With my art, Brian’s unique finds and estate jewelry by Leah Goodwin you are sure to find something for everyone.

Studio 8 Storefront, Forest Park

AOP
What does a typical day look like for the owner of Studio 8?

Melody
On any given workday I am either out hunting for inventory or working on creating, cleaning or fixing projects for the shop. We adhere to strict guidelines for our inventory. You won’t find broken or dirty stuff in our shop. We hand pick every item and the efforts are very visible.

AOP
What has been the hardest part of owning a business for you?

Melody
Trying not to listen to all of the warnings people offer. If I listened to all of the horror stories of how hard it is to have your own business I would not be here today. It isn’t easy but once you begin doing what you love it is very hard to stop.

AOP
Before opening a business you have warnings from friends and family. Once you open a business you also open up yourself to criticism from the public. How do you handle that?

Melody
Not well. I take every comment to heart which makes me easy prey for naysayers. I don’t always choose the right or best way of handling conflict but I hope I am the type of person who can learn from my mistakes and create a better situation next time. In the end, I am my worst critic and have very high standards. I should give myself a break every once in a while. I’ll put that on my to-do list!

AOP
What has been the biggest lesson you have learned and the best piece of business advice you have received?

Melody
Biggest lesson: to learn to value your worth. I am my biggest critic so when it comes to pricing my creations I often don’t value them the way I should. It’s an ongoing battle in my head. The best piece of advice is to take a breath once in a while and enjoy what you have created. It’s hard to see your accomplishments when you are trying to stay one step ahead.

AOP
In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting their own business?

Melody
What is your goal, how do you envision it and who is your client?

AOP
And what was the goal for you?

Melody
I wanted to create a store that I could shop in. One that was accessible to everyone. A beautiful and creative store that wasn’t overpriced and snooty.

AOP
Any books/resources would you recommend to someone starting a business?

Melody
“You are a Badass” by Sincero. I need constant reminders to love myself.

AOP
Can you think of a moment of failure that you have learned from or that helped you improve your business or the way you work?

Melody
There really isn’t a moment of failure per se. I think we all have moments we learn from but I try not to think of them as failures. These moments just teach me how to steer my shop and what not to do next time. I am my biggest critic so I can’t tell myself I failed. Doing that would bring a halt to what it is I love doing the most. Just keep on trying and hopefully, it works.

AOP
And what are you most proud of?

Melody
I am proud of creating exactly what I envisioned. I saw it in my head and it’s exactly how I envisioned it would be. Many said it wouldn’t work but I’m still here!! I hope my boys will see that if they don’t see a path that works for them then they need to create one.

AOP
What question do you get most often from people who walk into Studio 8?

Melody
Where do you find your stuff? It’s not an easy thing to answer. We get our stuff everywhere or we create it.

AOP
What is the most ‘magical’ thing that has happened at Studio 8?

Melody
Just a few months ago we had two women in the shop. They are sisters. One was standing near our music system and when a John Denver song came on she yelled to her sister across the store. She then looked at me and said “our mom was a huge John Denver fan. She passed a few years ago.” Right then the lights went off and then back on. The woman said, “Oh, there she is!” She told me that this often happens to her but I promise you our lights had never done that before. I was overwhelmed with emotion and a general feeling of love. It was very sweet.

AOP
Speaking of magic, if you were magically given 3 more hours per day, what would you do with them?

Melody
I would paint – it calms me and makes me very happy.

AOP
What inspires you?

Melody
My kids inspire me most. I want them to see how beautiful things are and explore their creative side.

AOP
You started painting at a young age – what did you want to be when you grew up?

Melody
An art dealer. I actually got a degree in Art History and thought someday I would be running a gallery. I guess in some ways I am.

AOP
What’s the first app, website or thing you open/do in the morning?

Melody
I always go to social media first thing to see if there is anything I need to attend to regarding the shop. It really is the way to promote your business these days and it can become a full-time job in and of itself.

AOP
How would you describe yourself in 3 words? How would your friends/family describe you?

Melody
I would describe myself as a bit neurotic, maybe spastic at times but very caring. My friends would say I am loving, a bit crazy and mostly up for anything.

AOP
How do you stay organized? Any tips?

Melody
To be honest with you art and organization don’t always go hand in hand. I carry everything in my head. Not the smartest way to run a business.

AOP
And what’s your favorite season and favorite song right now?

Melody
Favorite season: Summer. I am a Southerner and can never get enough sunshine!

Favorite song: It’s always been ‘Into the Mystic’ by Van Morrisson. I have a bit of a gypsy soul in me that I love to visit from time to time.

AOP
Finally, anything coming up at Studio 8 that we should know about?

Melody
We just opened our new shop in Forest Park on March 3. We expect to have lots of events in the near future!! We are currently working with Heather Wood to host some creative workshops and we are doing the Forest Park wine walk in April. Should be a great time!

To connect with Melody, find out more about Studio 8 or just get inspired, visit or contact:

www.Studio8vintage.com
Instagram: studio_8_vintage
Email: melodykratz@yahoo.com
Phone: 312-810-2759

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here