How I got started and where I am today…..

….it has been a while.  For good reason.  I am really busy.  And it is a good thing.  I thought I would tell my story to perhaps inspire somebody in some way.

I have been working as an interior designer in Warsaw, Poland for quite some time.  In Poland, when you buy a house, you buy it “shell and core” which means that it has nothing in it.  No floors, no plumbing, lights…..anything.  It is up to the purchaser to “fit it out”.

So I was doing the design portion of the fit out for clients and a carpenter would do the rest.  Besides doing the renderings and design, I also sourced everything.  Which meant that I spent a lot of time in my car driving from one place to another looking for tiles, sinks, lights….you get the idea.

About four years ago I was working on a project and while searching on the internet I came across Miss Mustard Seed’s blog.  She is very inspirational and a really great blogger and reminded me how I liked to paint and refinish furniture.  I have been doing this since I was a teenager but with changing countries and having kids I had pretty much forgotten about it.

But what really got me was that she wrote a review about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I had been thinking for some time that I wanted to start refinishing furniture and selling it on the Polish version of ebay.  And then I read the review she did on the paint and I thought this would be something to bring to Poland.  I had never come across a shop that fixed up second hand furniture here.  There was a place that sold new pine furniture and had flowers painted all over it.  This really wasn’t my thing.

I love furniture and really like giving an old piece a tasteful update…not with flowers painted on it.

So the concept was there.  Second hand furniture and Chalk Paint.  Now for the location…..

Warsaw has outrageous rents.  It is stupid, actually.  And it doesn’t make sense.  I can say this with confidence because my husband is a commercial real estate broker in Warsaw and knows the market like the back of his hand.  So we needed to get creative.

We searched and searched and everything was too expensive and too small.  Then we came across a pre war building that was a bit of a mess but we thought we could give it a try.

This shop worked out for the year that I was in it.  Then people started finding me and I needed more space.  First good thing!  Then a Polish lady that was living in Ireland moved back to Poland and also opened a shop selling the paint- now there are two!!  And then I moved shops –to a bigger location!!

There were two of us for just over two years- then a former colleague of my husband’s desperately wanted to change jobs so I suggested opening a shop with paint……then there were three!!   And I became the distributor of Poland- which means the paint enters Poland through me and I distribute to the others.

Since I became distributor I have been searching for others in Poland to sell the paint.  It was an uphill battle.  I wrote loads of emails and people simply didn’t get it.  And then all of a sudden they did.  I have been getting emails and calls from people who want to do the same thing as the three of us!

So now- we have somebody in Szczecin, somebody in Gdynia, Krakow, Kozienice, two in Warsaw and one in Pruszkow!!  And I distribute to everybody.

My garage is full of paint and furniture….but it is a good thing.  And this is the reason why I have neglected this blog and the Polish one.  I am swamped!  But happy.

And another thing- my shop is a mess.  I have so much furniture in it- commissioned pieces that are waiting in the queue, that I can’t even stage a good photo anyway!

So once I get this cleared out I have plans to update my shop a bit- clean it up, add some lighting……and hopefully get back to some before and afters!!

 

So please hang in there…..I’ll be back!  (said in my best Swartzenegger voice)

 

Sherri

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