For Jamie and Dontez Heard, Asthetik Bham is truly a labor of love.
They recently opened the 1,900 square-foot location at 212 24th Street North, as a flex space that serves as a coworking space and studio for creatives and an event space.
The Heards—Jamie a wardrobe stylist and Dontez a photographer—began their creative careers in 2010 and decided to move to Atlanta after having trouble plugging into Birmingham’s creative scene.
What they found when they made their way back home felt like a completely different city with a need for their services.
“At that point, God blew our minds with the whole creative scene,” Jamie said. “We started meeting new people and forming new connections. Things kind of blossomed. Once we grew our connections, we realized that there is an existing market in Birmingham.”
This led to them wanting to create inspirational spaces and experiences for fellow creatives out of a live-work space in Pheonix Building.
Asthetik feels like a natural progression in their business story.
The Heards decided to move their business out of their home to offer more to their clients and other Birmingham creatives, but they were looking for a place downtown that closely resembled their loft.
They signed up for Co.Starters, a program from Create Birmingham that that gives entrepreneurs a launching pad for a successful business.
Through the program, the two connected with REV.
REV helped them find a space in downtown Birmingham that mirrored what they liked about their loft—high ceilings and exposed brick walls. The new space also comes with floor to ceiling windows and a prep kitchen.
The white walls and flooring make it a perfect place for any small event or a great backdrop for any number of creative endeavors. They took inspiration from both the east coast and the west coast to facilitate a modern feel, complete with gold accents.
“It was literally love at first sight; high ceilings, exposed brick, downtown, what more could they ask for,” they said about their new space.
The Heards say that the relationships they formed in Co. Starters and through their work with REV have been instrumental in getting them to their grand opening.
“It filled those gaps that we just didn’t know how to get past,” Dontez said. “I think that was a big piece for us. People just being open to us and receiving our idea. Not knowing us, but really believing in us and the concept we have.”
They now want to do that for other creatives in town by offering a place to work together and exchange ideas.
“As the creative industry is growing here in Birmingham, Asthetik Bham is the connecting link for creatives and flexible spaces,” the couple said.
So far, the response has been greater than either one of them imagined with multiple requests for tours and bookings.
“We’ll have people driving by stop dead in the middle of the road and back up and try to come in,” Jamie Heard said. “The response has been amazing. A lot of feedback that we’re getting is that Birmingham just didn’t have what we’re offering.”
The Heards hope Asthetik has a long-term effect on the creative community. They want to eventually expand into their original idea for 5,000 square-feet.
“I hope in the long-term we can make the original idea make sense to where it is profitable and needed because there are so many creatives in and coming to Birmingham, “ Dontez said.
Visit www.asthetikbham.com for more information.
At REV, we also love seeing the added vibrancy on the street as patrons enjoy outdoor dining in our beautiful city. As indoor dining reopens, cities across the country are realizing that ending expanded outdoor dining could mean leaving money on the table.
Although the Greyhound Bus Terminal was renovated in the ’70s, many original elements of the building remained and have now been become historic highlights in the present-day adaptive reuse project. Join us on a photo tour of the historic space!
This is obviously good for downtown… but why *exactly*? Here’s REV President & CEO David Fleming’s take on what the move means for downtown Birmingham’s place in the world now and in the future.