Spotlight on Annie Sloan
Today on the blog I have Annie Sloan who has grown her business from her home, an old bakery, to the global business it is today over nearly three decades. This blog corresponds to my DIY post which you can read here, where I used Annie's paint to change up an old textile chair. I know many of you messaged me to ask how on earth I did it and which products I used and the paint that Annie designed allows you to do so much more. It really is incredibly versatile.
So go and hear an journey about how to grow a very successful business and you can shop the pain through the link below
By leading the decorative painting revolution over the last three decades, Annie Sloan is widely recognised as one of the world's most respected experts in paint and colour.
As well as authoring 26 internationally sold books, Annie Sloan transformed the world of furniture paint with the creation of her own brand of decorative paint, Chalk Paint®, in 1990. Annie’s fine-art background and contagious enthusiasm for decorative painting has motivated both home painters and experienced professionals, unlocking countless creative potentials over the last 30 years.
Annie Sloan is all about sharing her passion for decorative painting, and inspiring people to be creative and adventurous with her paints and colours. Her products are exclusively available through her network of over 1,700 independent Stockists located in 55 countries around the world.
1. What was the reason behind you starting your business?
I was a mother with 3 young children and I wanted to work but be with my children. After writing books about painting, I had a good idea for a business that would allow me to do just that. I knew the type of paint I wanted and I knew that I couldn’t buy it anywhere. That was my starting point.
2. How did you start up?, kitchen table? Mum’s garage, renting premises?
I started my business from home. I was lucky enough to live in a house that used to be an old Bakery. This meant I had lots of space to be creative. I spent a lot of time in my studio writing my books and planning my business.
3. How did you fund your business?
At the beginning I was writing books, so any profit from that went into starting my business venture. I worked alone for the first 5 years and my husband had helped me when he could but after 5 years, he joined me full time.
4. What was the most difficult part of starting up your business? Access to money, advice, finding people to buy, marketing etc?
I think all of that can be difficult. What can be most difficult is believing in yourself, you always think you need someone to help you along the way but you shouldn’t underestimate yourself.
5. What help was missing for you?
I’m not very good at Math, but my husband is extremely good at it. Whilst I was working alone, I learnt the things I needed to know because that’s what you do when you’re starting a business. Now that my husband and I work together, I am more than happy to leave the math to him!
6. What went wrong in your first year?
The first thing I made was actually White Wax, I didn’t make paint as my first product. With that product I knew I wasn’t getting it right so decided to move on. I went back to Wax further down the line and got it right. Now I have a great range of coloured waxes alongside my Clear Wax.
7. What have you learnt?
I don’t think you ever stop learning in business. Everything changes all the time, from retail to social media. I’ve learnt so much over the years and I am still learning now.
8. What is the most important piece of advice that you could give others thinking about starting a business?
It’s very easy to buy, but difficult to sell. I think that’s very good to know. A lot of people start a business and they buy everything to kit themselves out. Build yourself up at a steady pace, you don’t need a fully functioning business from the beginning. You need an idea and you build on it.
9. And what do you enjoy the most?
There isn’t an aspect I don’t enjoy. I enjoy seeing the cultural similarities in how my paint is used. I enjoy meeting my stockists. I enjoy meeting the public and seeing what they create with my paint, it’s very exciting!
10. On a scale of 1-10 how hard do you find it to run your own business?
Everyday brings a new challenge and is different. It’s good fun but hard work.
Nicola says "Annie gives some great advice, we all know that setting up and running your own business can be hard, but actually it is the self belief to keep going that can be just as tough. I hear this time and time again on these stories. Business will never be plain sailing, the economy tanking, consumers reigning in their spending, there are lots of things out of your control, and lots of things in your control that you can be wrong about, you will make mistakes, and yet you have to believe that what you have, your idea, will eventually see you through. Well this journey should be an inspiration to all, that it can and does work, when you've really found a niche"
The Girl with The Green Sofa