We had the good fortune of connecting with Jasano Brooks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jasano, how does your business help the community?
Opya Studios was started with the young, amateur, new creative in mind. I’ve been the new guy on the block. It’s hard to entice new clients when you can’t even afford the expensive studios. That’s why I try and offer a full experience to my clients so they have the best chance to grow their business. I make the barrier to entry very accessible for sure
In addition, Opya is a lifestyle. From the aesthetic, to the inviting space. I love providing a place that makes others want to create
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
So, I am the owner of Opya Studios. Opya doubles as a creative space/photography studio on one side, and media content collective on the other.
I got introduced into photography when I was 18 and loved it ever since. Friends always mentioned I had the eye, rather that be for photos, design aesthetic, fashion, and even car customs. So I portrayed that in my images when I was younger. I think that aspect I provide is what sets Opya as a brand apart from others. That being the overall experience and vibe it gives everyone.
I’m most excited to see where I can take the brand. I travel a lot, and use my time away to explore. From different events to other spaces, I like to see what different perspectives I can add to Opya. Currently I’m in the process of expanding Opya to different states(potentially ATL), so hopefully there will be one coming to a city near you.
It’s been hard to get to where I am today for sure. Being a one man show isn’t the easiest, but thankfully the work I’ve put into the business has helped grow it quickly. Few years back I was working full time driving trucks and doing photos part time. I would drive my truck on lunch break to go paint and finish my studio. Then go back after work and finish more. Repeat again the next day, and even squeeze in a photoshoot as well. I funded and still currently fund everything myself, and that’s why it was a necessity to keep my trucking job until the business was self sustaining. Within a year and a half I was able to quit my job, moved into a bigger space, and was even able to slow down on taking photos for clients and enjoy life. Now, I have a fully sustainable business, that I’m going to keep growing. For me, there is no complacency or ceiling. Plan to have 3-4 total locations in different states by the end of 2022
There are many lessons I’ve learned for sure. A few would be:
1. Have to pay, to play. (Investing both time and money not only proves to yourself but other as well that your business is serious. If you can’t even believe in yourself or your business fully what makes you think others will want to either)
2. Live by the saying “it is, what it is”
(Only react to things you have control over and make sure you make non emotion driven decisions and stand by it)
3. Your image is everything.
(You are your brand. Always be prepared to do business. Even if it’s to the grocery store, I make sure I look nice and approachable)
4. Relationship are key
(Make sure you value the business and personal relationships you have. Never burn bridges because you’ll never know when you’ll need to cross them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Okay, so Monday through Wednesday we would definitely check out local Pittsburgh art museums. Carnegie Museum, mattress factory, Andy Warhol museum, just your local tourist spots ya know.
Later in the week, we’d stop past zeds(vintage clothing trade store), and a few other cool local shopping spots. Depending on the day might catch a cool event going on at PPG Arena or spirit lounge.
Good eats during the day. We’ve got The Coop chicken & waffles, Chikn, La Bodega, the doorstop, Cambodian Kitchen, Showcase BBQ, Secretos Food truck, and moonlit burgers. Dinner wise, I’d say Fogo de chao, Bangkok Balcony, Tocayo, Eddie V’s, Sienna Marcato, and Rivers Casino. Finally, your late night eats. Starting with Cambodian kitchen, Benny fierrors, Fudge Farm, and La bodega.
Cool hangouts and night life wise just depends on your vibe. We’ve got Lawrenceville, southside, and north shore that all have fire spots to frequent
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As a child, I always watched my mother hustle an selflessly put everyone and everything before herself. That helped lay the foundation for me. In addition, my daughter is a amazing inspiration in my life and I want to provide her with a life second to none. Definitely big shoutout to them!
Instagram: @jasanooo @opyastudios
Paige Wasko, Devon Colebank, Stone & Field photography