Another inspiring evening learning from successful women! This time we interviewed two best friends who took the plunge and decided to chuck conventional jobs and go for entrepreneurship instead.
Caitie Mackenzie and Dana Moore of Paint and Distress showed us tonight that you can maintain your friendship & be business partners, by “staying in your lane” and allowing each other to play to their unique strengths. Here are few of the highlights from their interview. Please add your memorable moments to the feed and thank you again for choosing to join us for the Success Series!
I mentioned at the introduction that Paint and Distress offers an EXPERIENCE. Visiting their shop is much more than a sales transaction. The business owners of Merrickville definitely understand that the consumer is looking for a memorable experience, a welcoming atmosphere, and goods & services that delight. Each store owner is staying true to their brand, developing a following of dedicated, raving fans and are not worried about trying to serve the masses. By necking down to a unique niche the store owners are drawing in fans from a wide geographical area – and it’s paying off. This is evident in Angelina Wrona’s Anarchy Gallery, Bullet & Bones, the WickWitch and many more newer shops opening up. I also recommend checking out the two new galleries – Monsky Creations and Avalon Arts Co-operative Gallery. 🙂
Caitie and Dana shared:
1. Have a business plan. Caitie mentioned that it was not so easy to compile a plan because many of the key points required were unknown. This lead to research, asking for guidance from others, and forecasting to the best of their ability. They noted that some people were exceptionally helpful and believed in them, while others were not. However, they didn’t let this deter them from making it happen! They also learned quickly that having a contract for commissioned pieces that includes a downpayment provides them a necessary level of security. aka difficult customer who changes their mind 1 hr before delivery of completed piece – ugh!
2. They admitted that their families had some misgivings about them beginning a business, but no qualms about any stress on their friendship. They have a long-standing friendship that has been nurtured from public school to college, and have only most recently struck out on their own. Dana has a townhouse in Ottawa, with Caitie recently purchasing a church in South Mountain that she will renovate. A portion of the church is their working studio. Both admitted that transitioning away from each other as roommates is still uncomfortable. Dana mentioned that Caitie is the most “easy going” person she knows! They both said that their families are super proud of them.
3. They were thrilled to have to chance to find a storefront location in the “Merrickville Mall” (same building as the WickWitch, Bullets & Bones, and the Yellow Canoe Cafe). The “janitors closet” certainly has evolved into a lovely design experience merchandised to reflect 4 different decor aesthetics. Vignettes are created to inspire and offer suggestions for placement of key pieces and incorporating a well loved piece into a fresh design.
4. The collaboration amongst the store owners in the building is empowering and they’ve partnered to offer unique events and special featured products. More collaboration is planned expanding their partnerships with other store owners from the village. As Angelina Wrona mentioned in her interview, “It’s not your mom’s Merrickville” anymore. This is exciting news for us all – especially those of us who frequent the village often. ❤️
5. Self-taught creatives, Caitie and Dana offer commissioned pieces and love to watch a satisfied customer take home their precious piece to a “loving home”. Their long term goal is to have a property that affords them a design studio and a storefront with a reasonably priced rental agreement. They are active on Instagram, posting most days the pieces they are currently working on. Sales come through their website frequently, personal email contact and Facebook messaging and of course, the shop. Their ideal customer is anyone who loves design and who loves to surround themselves with furniture and decor that makes them happy.
6. They do all of their own picking, transporting, installations, and deliveries. We all encouraged them to purchase moving “straps” to ensure proper lifting procedures and mitigate risk of a back injury. Caitie said that are always “in sync” when moving – this helps – no arguing and you move as one.
7. They described Success as having the opportunity to be happy doing what makes them happy. A great philosophy for life. They both echoed the encouragement to take the leap and go after a career that is exciting rather than “playing it safe” as they both did after graduating from college for some time until the desire to open a store was just too strong to ignore. After all, they’ve been antiquing, picking, and up cycling for years together.
Winter hours are Saturday and Sunday allowing them to work at the studio creating pieces. In the spring the shop will be open from Thursday thru Sunday. You can connect with Caitie and Dana by LIKING their Paint and Distress Facebook page, following them on Instagram or emailing them from their website. They are very excited to help you find a furniture piece, a decor item, or a offer workshop (if they get enough interest) and collaborate with you on a unique finish that you are dreaming of.
One more note to remember! Every year the 1st Saturday in May is the village wide garage sale. The entire village “turns out their goods” for this. If you’re not a fan of a garage sale, the store owners take this opportunity to mark down seasonal items and door crashers abound! An annual May outing for everyone. I encourage you to bring along some type of buggy, cart, stroller, shopping bag to carry your goodies around and be prepared to make multiple trips to your car for drop offs. 🙂