545 Congress


emilie inc. has found a home at 545 Congress Street in the arts district of Portland!

As you all know, I have been looking and looking for a studio space since I moved here three years ago. I nearly signed on a place in the Old Port by the water, but it needed a complete overhaul. Then I nearly signed at an old mill in Westbrook that was move-in ready and the rent was right, but I wasn't crazy about the location. Then I considered buying a loft condo in Portland, but knew being tucked away in an upper level residential building would be a bad move for exposure. At long last, while peeking in the windows of vacant storefronts on Congress Street the other week, I found it!

545 Congress used to be the Patagonia store, for those familiar with Portland. It's in the same building as White Heart (a trendy, urban lounge), the downtown Portland events office, and an organic Greek restaurant scheduled to open later this month. The upstairs consists of several New York style loft condos- a trend that is taking Portland by storm. Across the street is an LL Bean outlet store. And within a block is the Maine College of Art, 555 (a favorite upscale restaurant), a Starbucks (I'll do my best not to OD on pumpkin spice lattes) and many other shops and eateries.

Tracy Davis of Urban Dwellings is helping with the redesign of the space. I stumbled across her website months ago when researching the loft condo trend in Portland and am thrilled to be partnering with her on this project.

The space is nearly 2000sf (plus 800sf of storage in the basement. Wow!). There are soaring ceilings, bamboo floors, an exposed brick wall and low-voltage track lighting. There isn't too much work that needs to be done... aside from painting, cleaning, removing the counter & fitting rooms, and decorating (the fun part!). I hope to partner with a few other like-minded wedding vendors eventually (a bridal boutique of sorts), but will move forward with the renovations on my own at this point.

I hope to be open by mid-November and will surely keep you posted of the progress here. Be sure to check back for updated pictures! But for now, here are the "before" snapshots:

This is the exterior of the building. My space is on the far right. R to L after that is: the Greek restaurant (not open yet, so there is no sign and newspaper still shields the windows), the downtown Portland events office, and White Heart (which has al fresco seating at night. I wonder if the Greek place will too? Love that).

There are neat lamps just outside the storefront, as well as flags w/ Portland's motto: love. life. more. They just installed those beds and planted trees over the weekend.

Inside! Loving that exposed brick wall. And yes, the lime green paint is going immediately! As is the counter and florescent lighting (the track lighting stays).

Looking back toward the door (if you look closely, you'll notice LL Bean across the street in the left image).

This is the second half of the space, which will make a great shooting area, or room to expand with another vendor (or heck, tap dancing classes). The fitting rooms will be removed.

And this is me, alone in the new studio for the first time!

I am ecstatic about this! And, to be honest, I'm also completely terrified. Great rewards require great risk, as my mom likes to remind me often. I'm definitely up for the challenge! Thanks so much for your support during such an exciting time! emilie inc is growing!


  1. Holy Cow!
    Congrats. P and I need to come up and visit.

    We miss you and J!


  2. Awesome! Congrats!!

  3. How did these crazy people beat me to a comment?!?

    LOVE IT and I am so excited for Emilie Inc! Looking forward to a lot of work and amazing times in the studio!

  4. how fun! it looks incredible! congrats on this next move!

  5. Anonymous6:04 PM

    Hey Em - Congrats - thanks for sharing the news.


  6. AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I am extatic with you!!! it looks perfect and i am soo happy for you! It will be great for business, no need to worry at all! :)

  7. Anonymous6:48 PM

    Congrats!! What a perfect space for you! I love it!!


  8. Anonymous7:38 PM

    this is soooooooooooooo great!!! we are soooooooooooooooooooooo proud of you!!! you are living life to the fullest. go em!!
    congrats to emilie inc.
    we are here for you.
    love, mom and steve xoxoxo

  9. Anonymous7:45 PM

    Congratulations, Emilie. That is a great space!
    -Lindsey Dyda

  10. I received this great email tonight and wanted to share:

    Hello Emilie,
    I came across your blog after you photographed a friend of my boyfriend's wedding (Mark and Krista) a few weekends ago. I continued to check your blog and viewed the photos on your website, which are simply magnificent. It turns out you also photographed the wedding of one of my dearest friend's friend from high school (Alisa Young), which I realized when looking at your portfolio. I checked your blog today and it turns out that my boyfriend, who just relocated to Maine in late August, is your (soon to be) neighbor. He lives at 486 Congress! Therefore, when you open shop I'll have to come in and say an official hello. I live in Boston, but I'm from Maine originally and eager to get back. Your business and success is SO VERY inspiring.

    I am excited for all that lies ahead for emilieinc. and I'm a complete stranger! Look forward to seeing the studio.

    In awe of the leap you just took,

  11. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah. Em, I am so happy for you as I know this has been a looooonnnnggg time coming. The space is stunning! (And I love your jacket in the last pic!) A huge congratulations.

  12. congrats emilie!!! you must be so happy. that space looks amazing!!! i'll have to stop by the next time i'm in town (so far, that's next june.) hope you are well.


  13. Thank you all so much!

    Thanks to my sister Kate (who gave us a gift certificate for Christmas- yes Christmas), J and I enjoyed a celebratory dinner at the Pepper Club tonight. If you're local and haven't eaten there before- you must soon. It's a quirky little space w/ yummy food (and lots of organic options too).


  14. Anonymous12:22 AM

    Congrats Emilie! You seem to excel at everything you do. I am sure you will be just fine!! I cant wait to stop by next summer when we are in Maine! Maybe I should move to Maine and put The Write Invite in that huge space with you!!

    best wishes,
    The Write Invite

  15. Em,

    Congrats! I am so excited for you!


  16. Anonymous10:00 AM

    Congratulations Em! You really are exceptional. I so admire your entrepreneurial spirit, your passion, and your go-get-em’ attitude. Can’t wait to see the new studio in person!


  17. Hello!!!
    This post has left me so excited, well for you, but having hope that I too can find the right studio space. I am so picky and I am so happy to have found your blog post here and read that you were the same way! Congratulations to you, I really look forward to how you decorate your space...I will be taking notes for future expeditions on my end of things! So thank you for giving hope today! I wish you the BEST!
    -Melissa E Earle

  18. Anonymous4:47 PM

    Em, we love the looks of the location you have choosen for EMILIE INC.! We know you are up for the challenge and your mother's words speaks volumes - great rewards are ahead of you. For sure Jason is in your corner and willing to help! We look forward to seeing the studio come to life and hopefully ourselves, maybe next spring! Love, Richard and Barbara

  19. Congrats Emilie! WOW - what a fabulous space - perfect in every way! I cannot wait to follow the build out and redesign as you make it your own!

    All good -

    Engaging Concepts

  20. wow, what a cool space!!! Congrats!

  21. Emilie,
    In every way you deserve success; how wonderful and how brave to make this exciting new step in your business and your life! Congratulations! Even though we're already married with gorgeous photos thanks to you, nothing would stop Tom and I from making a trip up there to see your studio when you're settled. Way to go!!!!

  22. Anonymous4:35 PM

    hi Em,
    The Studio space looks fabulous so I know it will be perfect once you have added YOUR colors and personal touches.I am happy you waited for the right space and not settling. It was great to chat this afternoon and get caught up.
    Love, P.

  23. Anonymous11:00 PM

    It looks great! And you look so happy. :)

  24. Anonymous8:15 AM

    Very late to the party, but YAY EM!! I can't tell whether you're renting or you bought...either way, I'm glad you held out for just the right place! My primary question, though, is whether your storefront window will be displaying an oversized version of the picture of me at Alicia's wedding in which I look like her maiden aunt. :)

    Can't wait to see how things come together!

  25. This is fantastic news and look at all the support you have! Quite a fan club! Best of luck and I am excited to visit, I am frequently at that LL Bean outlet!

  26. Anonymous1:03 PM

    Wow! We are excited for you and can't wait to see the new place. Congrats Em! So happy for you! Kate

  27. Wow! I am incredibly jealous but happy for you! We have a studio in the West End of Portland, but it is just in our house for now--someday soon we hope to get a space downtown as well. Good luck with everything, I am sure it will be amazing!


  28. WOW! A huge congrats on this WELL-deserved good news!! so amazing!! it looks absolutely perfect and it will only mean great things for your business. bobby and i promise to get up to portland someday soon, and we will definitely stop by!!! so happy for you!!!


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