The decision to open a store of my own was something that happened in a manner of weeks. I really didn’t have a plan. A motivating phone call from the Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan distributor, along with desire, set things in motion. From hanging up the phone to signing a lease was literally a matter of 2 weeks! I had no time to even think about it. I just did it.
How I chose to open in South Coast Collection (known as SOCO) was due to a coincidence. There was a newspaper article about SOCO left on my desk by my Dad one morning. I glanced at it briefly and then went to read my emails. When I opened my emails, I saw one from my brother-in-law. He was telling me me to check out a place that seemed really interesting. Again, SOCO. I took that as a sign that I should look into it. I went to their site and sent an inquiry. I got a response right away! They just so happened to be looking for a brand of paint to join their family of design studios. They also loved that I offered workshops, as it is part of the concept of the center. Perfect fit.
It was all moving so fast. Good thing, no time for fear to set in! As I was cleaning out my current workshop, I came across something I had printed from the previous year. Now Annie Sloan gets a lot of press; so why did I choose to print this one out and put it in my workshop? Hmmmmm.
I’m not even sure if that’s a magazine or an online publication. All I know is that it has nothing to do with my SOCO and it was from a year ago. I just saw it as another nod to keep going forward.
With my keys in hand, I unlocked the door for the first time. This is what I saw…
A big empty space. Even the thought in my head of “how in the hell am I going to fill this space?” echoed. I vowed not to panic and told myself I didn’t have to come up with the plan overnight.
I knew I had a lot of vertical space to fill. That was the birth of the chair wall.
I rallied everyone I knew and
threatened asked them to help me paint 30 chairs; one in every Chalk Paint® color. I even had some awesome customers volunteer to help!
I knew that having some big paint display cabinets would help eat up space. In comes my amazing cabinet builder with these….
You can see how tall the shelf units are by looking at the painter standing on them. I really wanted the white paint cans to pop, so we sprayed those bad boys in Graphite Chalk Paint®. This, only after
arguing discussing with the painter about the “no priming” deal. He was insisting it wasn’t going to work. Ha! He couldn’t wrap his brain around it after we were all done, which is a typical reaction.
Here’s my “Brush Stand”, fashioned out of a “Produce Stand” concept. I had an awesome graphic designer paint my logo on the awning that was made out of fence boards from Home Depot. We painted the awning in Graphite, Emperor’s Silk, and Pure White. My cabinet maker made the table out of leftover wood from his shop. I stained the blonde wood with straight dark wax.
I knew I wanted a big chandelier over the front counter. I spotted this one next door at Unidesigns. It was the perfect size. I painted it in Emperor’s Silk.
See that huge “P” on the floor? It’s will hang from the ceiling. Only after we use it as a template to paint my logo on the concrete. A big “Thank you” to my artist friend Marina Perren for doing most of the work! I also brought in the amazing 48 drawer cabinet along the side wall to display books, sample boards, and what-nots. I will never sell that piece. It’s amazing.
These will hang from the ceiling in the workshop space. Also painted by Marina Perren.
An old doorway facade from a house in Old Towne Orange will be the entrance to the workshop space.
So many things were swirling in my head! So many things to do. One of them being to paint just one half of a baby grand piano. What a joy it was to move the piano to the store. Not.
Stay tuned for Part 2. I swear, it all comes together!