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Nashville-based Avvay is Airbnb for creatives |

Nashville-based Avvay is Airbnb for creatives

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A Nashville startup is seeking to eliminate the difficult work that photographers, videographers and musicians undertake to find places to do their work by providing a simple way to rent creative space.

Avvay is essentially Airbnb for creatives, making handsome kitchens, dingy warehouses and vintage camping trailers available for hourly rental through its website.

The company is up and running in Chicago and Portland, Ore., in addition to Nashville. Avvay is the brainchild of musician and producer Jon Howard, former guitarist from the band Paramore.

So far Avvay has over 600 users and 300 rental requests. The site works like Airbnb in that property owners set their rates, and then users can search for whatever type of space they need.

Howard said he got the idea when he was traveling and trying to produce an album at the same time. He found it difficult to book time in recording studios, but Howard found it even harder to book an unconventional space he wanted to use such as a warehouse or a church.


“We wanted that space for interesting soundscapes and inspiration,” Howard said. “I kind of woke up in the middle of the night with this solution to my problem.”

Howard returned to Nashville where he assembled the Avvay team, which includes co-founders Clay Hunt, Nick de Partee, Nick Dominguez and Josh Colbert.

Rates range from $25 hourly for an Airstream trailer to $200 for a neatly designed East Nashville bungalow. Filming, photography and creative-related workshops have been the most popular uses so far. The company earns 15 percent of each reservation.

“We spent about a year developing it (beginning in 2016) and launched a public beta at the beginning of this year,” Howard said. “Our mission is to bring unique, interesting, inspiring settings and make them accessible to creatives for any project.”

Prominent Nashville photographer David Bean used Avvay earlier this year to book time in a home recording studio where he photographed marketing material for Franklin-based music instrument accessories company Pedaltrain.

“I found the perfect space and it blew me away, and the client. And I never would have found it,” Bean said.

Bean, who has been hired by major record labels and shot artists such as Dolly Parton, Jack White and Taylor Swift, said the work of finding creative space was frequently tedious. He said he had to rely on word of mouth or social media to find space.

“A lot of times I do advertising shoots and people want a really nice house with a nice kitchen, for example,” he said. “Then I have to reach out to friends or put it on Facebook. How do you find a nice house with a tiled kitchen or whatever you’re looking for? Or how do you find an empty warehouse? It’s word of mouth, or you have to drive around and knock on doors. It was a real pain.”

Howard said the company is beginning the work of raising capital to grow Avvay, and he has designs on taking the company into major markets New York and Los Angeles.

Reach Nate Rau at nrau@tennessean.com or 615-259-8094 and on Twitter @tnnaterau.


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