You all may have had some questions about this fabulous product. Well, here’s the best kind of information from the expert herself, Annie Sloan. Take a minute to read in her own words what Chalk Paint(R) Decorative Paint is all about! Then check out our Facebook page full of examples of furniture we have painted with this product. Enjoy!
This is the first in a series of interviews with small business owners that have touched our business in some way…….let’s chat with Reni from Bliss and Tell Branding Company…..She is the talent behind out new logo and website design!
1. Tell us about Bliss and Tell
I started BLISS AND TELL BRANDING COMPANY over 3 years ago after years in the design, retail and event industry. I found there was need for creative small boutique-like businesses to have good design, branding and marketing materials. I tailor my design & branding services to work with creative companies like florists, photographers, catering & event businesses, retail shop owners, paint designers etc.
2. How did you get started? B&T started out of my love for fresh ideas and the excitement (and inspiration) that came about with different projects and each new client.
3. What is your favorite part of owning your own business? there are so many cool things about working for yourself. making your business schedule work within your personal (family) schedule is awesome, and the best part (what i totally appreciate) is the opportunity to pick and choose the projects i want to be a part of…and the client I want to work with.
4. What is the biggest misconception about the type of work that you do? often times I have clients that believe I’m creating a design & brand for themselves personally. when in fact I’m conceptualizing a design & brand based on the products and services my clients offer…and a “look & feel” that will appeal to their client niche-market.
5. What advice would you give to someone going into business for themselves? one of the suggestions I tell all my clients is to think about their goals for the business. 3 years out, 2 years out…6 months out etc. and then…work backwards to figure out their “to do” list for today. it’s better to be a step ahead…then always playing catch-up.
6. How do you balance being a wife, mom and business owner? it’s taken me years to figure this out …how to ‘balance’ it all. in fact, it’s still a work in progress. I’ve realized that ‘work’ will always be there, but my son will not always be 9 years old and . no matter how many nights i work late, or weekends i spend designing…there will always be stuff to do, and there is no such thing as being “caught up.” I pride myself on giving my best (and most) at all times, whether business or personal…and somehow that seems to work for me……..
Thanks, Reni, for letting us get to know you and your company a little better! We love our new logo and website thanks to you and your company! For those of you interested in seeing more of Bliss and Tell go to: http://www.blissandtellbrandingcompany.com
It’s 7:00 on a Wednesday night and we are on our way up to the shop. It’s been a long day for both of us and we’re tired. As we drive the eight miles from our home to our business we discuss what projects need to get done before the weekend.
We pull up front and I feel a sense of contentment. This business; this thing that takes up so much of our time and energy is something we’re passionate about. It’s still, after four years labor intensive but so enjoyable! We have learned so much and experienced so much……together. Key word….together!
We are a team:) Many times thinking along the same lines about a certain way of painting a piece or pricing something or even getting rid of something. This works for us…..not always perfectly but it works and there is a healthy respect on both sides.
It’s now 9:20….I am done cutting out slipcovers for six chairs and know that it’s getting a bit late for my husband to continue much longer. He has an early morning coming up. ”Want to call it a night?” I ask. “Sure, if you do” he answers. We look over what’s been accomplished and discuss how we can finish a few things later……I get the lights, he locks the door.
And in my heart I am grateful we are in this together…
Our spare bedroom became my dad’s office when we moved him in years ago but is back to a spare room. It’s time to make it look comfy and inviting for guests when they come to stay…..here’s what it looks like right now…..a place to store extra chairs, etc. until someone visits then we swoop in and do some straightening. It’s never really been “decorated.” I hope to show you the steps we take along the way to something cute and cottage-y….
So here is one thing I want to incorporate into the décor. I have had this for years…..it’s a euro sham and it has a counterpart that says “good night” on it. Hand embroidered by some talented soul years and years ago…..They are still in very good condition so I definitely want bits of red in there. Then there is the carpet:( We aren’t replacing it right now and it’s royal blue….yes, I said “royal blue.” So now we have bits of red and royal blue and probably white….hmmmmm…red, white and blue. I wasn’t really going to go there but some of it I can’t change so how about I make the most of it? Will keep you posted!:)
2. We are in our second location 3. We prefer furniture from the 30′s and 40′s 4. We purchased our first vintage piece year one of our marriage….an old trunk 5. Chalk Paint(R) by Annie Sloan is our only choice for painting furniture,etc……wouldn’t use anything else 6. Kim does the majority of painting but we now have a parttime painter 7. Marykay does the buying and merchandising and the “artsy” stuff on furniture 8. Our customers are one of the favorite parts of our business 9. We learn so much from our customers:) 10. Everyday we pinch ourselves that we are doing what we love….and together!:)
Love the idea that what once was used for one thing can now be used for something else…..enter the old card catalog. Remember going to the library (a favorite memory) and opening those little drawers, thumbing through the index cards to locate just the right title for that special report for school? Now that libraries are computerized every once in awhile we come across all or parts of these old beauties!!
We had one in the shop….well, one third of a card catalog and it just sat. It needed a new life….something to give it some zip and a purpose. Hmmmm….let’s see. Well, it’s a given that we will paint it with Chalk Paint(R) Decorative Paint so we start there……I had this really cute fabric and thought maybe we would use colors from that….
We used Greek Blue for the first coat….yummy! And then two coats of Old White over that. Then distressed with 220 grit sandpaper and finished with a coat of clear wax. Notice we did the metal as well (as Chalk Paint(R) adheres beautifully to metal).
Now for the cushion…..we measured and cut a piece of plywood the same size as the top of the file…..covered it with 1″ foam and then the fabric….I’m loving it so far!!:) Pulling out the top file drawers, we were able to secure the cushion to the top from inside with screws……and THEN……two inch metal casters were attached to the bottom!
From plain little “blonde” wood card catalog to useful, up to date storage/bench/coffee table/ottoman!!! Fabulous:)
It’s 10:00 a.m. and my sign “come on in” is turned to welcome customers. My first customer of the day walks in and after greeting her I ask if she is looking for something special.
She has a very specific request and something that I don’t carry in the shop……now this is where I ask you….do you remember the old movie “Miracle on 34th Street?”
Do you remember how Macy’s referred customers to Gimbels?…. another large department store that some would consider the competition? Remember how people responded? They were so appreciative and amazed that they told their friends and relatives and there was more than enough business to go around for both of them.
And that is how we operate here in our little corner of the world……I pick up the phone and call another shop in town to see if they have this item. They do, so I walk the customer out the door and point in the direction she needs to go. She is very appreciative……another satisfied customer! Did I make a sale? No…but I made a customer. She’ll be back.
This is not unique to just our business. There are many in our little town that do the same because…..their customers are important to them. That customer will remember that her request was fulfilled by the goodwill of that shop and return because that shop put her needs above all else……and that’s what we call “the Macy effect”….one of the best policies in retail.
Since we opened the shop almost four years ago, we’ve been using the term “restyled.” What do we mean by that? Well, “Bing” dictionary defines it as “redesigning something” or “renaming something.”
And that is just what we do! Sometimes it’s very subtle with just a little twist. Maybe a fresh coat of paint and it’s transformed into a whole new look….take this chair, for instance. Nothing really special about it except good bones(which is very important when it comes to chairs) BUT let’s give it the feel of an old grain sack:) How about it? First, I have to sand…..NO, WAIT!!!! We don’t have to sand because we are using the one and only
Chalk Paint(R) by Annie Sloan!!!!! Wouldn’t use anything else…no sanding, no priming, no kidding!! So…..I just start painting. In less than no time I have the first coat of old white on and in half an hour it’s dry and I am ready for the second coat. Second coat is on. Now, I did a mixture of French linen and old ochre to paint the seat and give it that grain sack color….well, close to it. Two coats of that and now the fun part! Find the center of the chair seat, mark it and then use painter’s tape to run two pieces down the middle about 2″ apart. This is your center stripe. Next measure 1/2″ from either side, mark it and run two pieces of tape on either side.
Make sure the tape edges are secure so there is no chance of paint “bleeding” under the tape. I run my finger along each side and press down as I go. I am ready to apply one of my all time favorite colors! Emperor’s Silk……ooooo, love it! I am a red fan and this color is so fabulous…..a true red! I pour a little in a paint tray and use a small foam roller. It doesn’t take much to fill in the spaces between the tape and soon I am anxiously waiting for it to dry so I can see how this looks!
I am giddy with excitement!! Looking great! Once I have applied a coat of clear wax, I do a bit of distressing with 220 grit sandpaper. I especially want that red stripe to look a bit worn…..oh so nice:)
We did this with a small table and four chairs….two that matched and two others that matched to give it an eclectic but uniform look…..so fun we thought we’d try it again!:) A whole new look for these tired pieces…..“restyled!”
There’s always a certain apprehension when you hear the word “change.” Your mind is full of questions….What kind of change?….When?….How will this affect me? And almost always there is a feeling of dread. Things were going along fine and, besides, it’s comfortable this way……well, in the world of retail change is a good thing…..and the more the merrier:) We know that our customers love to see something different each time they walk into the shop and we love to change it up often! And, because of this, we thought it was time for a big change…..a whole new look to Winsome Cottage….new logo, new website and a new online shop! Just for you! Our brick and mortar shop is still in place and we would love to see you if you can make it but now you can shop online and follow our latest projects and updates right here:) So, become a follower and comment often so we can get to know you and continue to follow us on this journey of “Tales of This Shopkeeper.” to catch up on past blog posts go to: http://winsomecottageshop.blogspot.com/