Husband and wife owners Alicia and Joshua Southern know that creativity is abundant, but sometimes starting is the hardest part. They truly believe that “you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great,” and hope to provide a starting point with their latest business venture.
Risky Studios, located at 301 M.A.C. Avenue, Suite 106, celebrated their grand opening on Saturday, Feb. 26. The Black-owned, creative, co-working multimedia production studio features 775-square-feet of equipment rentals for all types of dreamers, doers, and thinkers, including podcasts, music production, photography, and videography.
The couple is originally from Saginaw, but have been in the greater Lansing area for about four years now. Alicia is owner of Southern Family Customs in Lansing, and she says Risky Studios is an expansion of Risky Music Group, the Christian Hip Hop label that her husband Joshua started.
“We got to the point where we were outgrowing our space for both of our home-based businesses, and Josh was starting to do more collaborations, have a little more foot traffic and opportunities,” Alicia said. “We wanted to get him out of the house and into a studio space, and so Risky Studios kind of started from that.”
When choosing locations, Joshua says East Lansing makes for a great community for Risky Studios.
“I feel like the downtown area takes care of their merchants,” Josh explained. “I feel like everybody is investing in downtown, you see restaurants, high-rise apartments, and we felt like it was a prime location to build business and grow from there.”
Eventually, he hopes the business can move to a street-level space, as they’re currently located in the basement. For now, though, the business is happy to act as a homebase for dreams of all shapes and sizes.
“We definitely want to have a space, equipment and availability for young creatives, old creatives, anybody who wants to be creative, to come and express themselves,” Joshua told ELi.
“We have space for photographers to come and use in a traditional photography studio way, and we have the basic equipment for those setups like lights and backdrops,” Alicia says. “We have more than one podcast equipment setup, a traditional radio-style podcast with the microphones and tables, and we have places where you can vlog interviews like the couches, chairs, and we have a workspace.”
The studio aims to offer affordable prices and encourages students to reserve space for study or focus groups and collaboration. The space also features TVs that can be used to review projects, or digital signage advertising for local businesses.
“We want to serve as an incubator space for other people’s passions, and the creative things that they hope to do,” Alicia says. “We hope to do more collaborations with other businesses, with individual creators around the city of East Lansing and wherever it takes us.”