Once upon a time in Camden, there was a studio in the sky. And it was gorgeous: High ceilings, wooden floors, and full of light from every angle.
It was a hive of activity and learning, where inspiring projects took flight.
Colomba was the realisation of a personal dream spanning some fifteen years.
It was magical to see it come to life.
And then, like so many other stories go; Covid happened. We closed.
I thought (I hoped) it would be temporary.
We stayed home, made sourdough starter and banana bread, and relished our daily walk outside. During one of these walks early in the lockdown, it dawned on me that there would be no going back to ‘normal’. Everything would change. I didn’t know when a business like mine would be able to reopen; and if it did, whether anyone would want to come back to a place of ‘gathering.’
Perhaps some fearless old faithfuls would return straight away, but the space would have to run at close to full capacity, just to break even. London rent. The expenses. And no doubt a recession to come of the like we’ve never seen in our lifetime. The dance lessons, the yoga classes, the theatre rehearsals, the production meetings; the offsite team building days, the baby showers, the book launches, the intimate gigs – everything we did, would no longer be done.
I applied for the government’s COVID-19 small business grant thinking perhaps I could manage to keep the space open. But after I’d spent it all on a couple of months rent – then what? Colomba would have to close anyway, having used all the money, and having produced nothing of any use. That would be the end of my beautiful project, and all those years of work – just like that.
It was unthinkable. Something had to change.
And then it came to me: I could use the grant to create. I could support other small businesses and creators like me, moving money back through the economy; doing something useful, and putting something creative and beautiful back into the world…
…I had always planned to create an online offer as part of Colomba; for those not in London, or with irregular schedules that meant they couldn’t make it in to the studio…
I started to see the silver linings of the very dark Covid cloud. Now there was time. And there was money, however limited.
This was the moment.
As if from nowhere, inspiration hit and ideas streamed into my head, almost faster than I could note them down. After weeks of worry and stasis, there was a flurry of activity – I was researching, reaching out, connecting with my network, having video meetings…
Colomba London was being transformed into Colomba Online.
Look, it’s hard.
Starting a business is hard. And ‘pivoting’ a business is pretty much the same as starting a business all over again. You have to make quick decisions without much information, often all at the same time; and under financial pressure. This is challenging at the best of times. And let’s face it, we are not living in the best of times. You start off excited and motivated, but at some point you run out of steam and can’t even get out of bed. No one is holding you accountable but yourself, and you’ve lost the will to care – I mean, heck, you’re not even getting paid for any of this!
There were those long, hard days; but there were also days full of excitement, creation and vision. I fed off the energy of my talented collaborators and finally found a new expression of my dream.
And this is it. The launch date has arrived.
Colomba Online brings you:
- Three beautiful online courses, produced almost entirely remotely in lockdown – and many more to come!
- A blog, rich with information and interesting ideas
- A team of talented professionals across five different cities
- An exciting podcast in development
I am so proud.
Now I can finally have a holiday… …oh wait… there’s still a global pandemic.
Well, let’s make the best of it. I hope you find your inspiration at Colomba: Get out of that rut, learn something new, find calm, find your zen; your joy; your creative expression.