Olivia Berg admits her new business is a bit unusual for the Tri-Cities.
But that’s a good thing, she insists.
[blockquote quote="Our goal is to encourage creativity, local industry, charity and sustainability in a way that is relevant to consumers." source="Olivia Berg, owner of BlankSpace" align="right" max_width="300px"]
BlankSpace, which is tentatively scheduled to open Sept. 1 in the Southridge area of Kennewick, will feature a juice and tea bar, natural light studio and a gathering place for creative workshops, such as weaving, watercolor painting, calligraphy and woodworking, just to name a few. It also will include a retail outlet featuring American-made items exclusively from small businesses.
“Our business model is a little unconventional because everything we do is motivated by community over competition,” Berg said. “Our goal is to encourage creativity, local industry, charity and sustainability in a way that is relevant to consumers.”
A large area inside is set aside as a natural light studio that Berg hopes will entice photographers, videographers and other creative types to hone their visual art forms.
The focus of BlankSpace is based on partnerships where entrepreneurs and creative people can not only create their work but showcase it as well, Berg said.
When forming the idea for BlankSpace, Berg said her marketing research revealed a lack of high-end, modern gathering spaces in the Tri-Cities.
“Currently, there is not a natural light studio in our area that provides space for photo or video shoots, and other types of creative enterprise,” the 26-year-old said. “I hope to fill that need with BlankSpace.”
Berg said BlankSpace’s concept is like a storefront for Pinterest, providing unmatched offerings of fun where people stop by and see what’s going on creatively in the Tri-Cities.
“I love how the Tri-Cities seems to be transitioning into its own where we see more and more unique small businesses pop up that have strong ties to our community,” she said. “LU LU Craft Bar and Kitchen in Richland is one of my favorite examples. I seriously go there every weekend to eat their pig candy.”
As visitors check out the various art, they can sample a wide range of teas and juices from the locally-owned Karma Juice, which previously had been a delivery-only business, Berg said.
“BlankSpace will give a home for their business and we look forward to helping them grow,” she said. “I come from a multi-generational ag family and the farm-to-cup approach is extremely important to me. We buy from local small farms, and my husband and I even bought a small farm in order to grow some of the produce (Karma Juice) uses in their juices.
“Additionally, we will serve a variety of teas that are handmade in small batches by a mother and daughter company here in the Pacific Northwest,” she said.
Berg’s sense of business adventure stems from a variety of influences in her life. After earning a degree in psychology from Eastern Washington University, she worked as a drug and alcohol counselor before opening a graphic design business.
But it was a recent cross-country trek in an AirStream trailer with her husband, Tanner and 5-year-old daughter Oakley that provided inspiration for BlankSpace. The couple’s odyssey was featured in the Tri-City Herald a year ago.
“I fell in love with creativity in my graphic design business,” she said. “But when we had that adventure in the AirStream, it truly sparked my creativity. We met so many wonderfully creative people on that trip, and saw numerous creative ways to do business, and that gave me a foundation to work with for BlankSpace.”
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