...or You Can’t Always Paint What You Want, You Paint What You Need
As we’re getting ready for our next off site market (Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market on Nov. 8th) we find ourselves asking…How did we ever get involved in painting 250 little plastic dinosaurs, jungle animals and sea creatures?
Let’s rewind to August. In the furry and determination to actually get a vendor spot at the fall TPRFM,
Johanna clicked the box that committed us to providing items for their swag bag that goes to the first 250 people that gain admission. It sounded like a good idea at the time.
Well, fast forward to mid September.
“What should we put in these 250 swag bags?”
That was the question we posed to my daughter Georgia. Georgia creates furniture and other very cool items to our inventory and we thought, since she’s young & hip, she’d have and idea that would resonate with the target audience.
Without a flinch, Georgia whips out here iPhone and hits a Pinterest pin she’s been saving for 2 years.
“Let’s make these!” she said as she showed us pics of little plastic animals painted in cool colors and strung onto key rings.
“Looks easy enough”… Famous last words.
OK, onto Amazon. Find the tiny subjects – Dino’s, Jungle Animals and Sea Creatures, and into the cart they go.
Next find key rings, WOW there are THAT many choices?
Better find the tiny screw in hooks first. What size works with what? CRAP! Calm down, weed through it get in all in the cart…YES Purchase!
2 days later it’s all here. 300 plastic creatures, 300 key rings, 1000 tiny screw eyes.
Now, how do we go about this?
Georgia masterminds the effort. Enlist Lyla & Hanna (her sisters). Lyla is in! Hanna needs to think about it.
It’s the last weekend in September and production is in full swing. Groups of creatures are assigned colors, they are strung up on fishing line and dipped into the color that will make them shine.
Napoleonic Blue , Florence, English Yellow, Emperor’s Silk, Pure White, Aubusson Blue and so on. There is an Annie Sloan rainbow of plastic creatures dangling on our drying rack.
The Next weekend rolls in and onto more dipping dino’s. Hanna joins this time to pitch in. Things are looking good.
Check the email … Wait! We need them finished by October 27th so we can ship them to the event producer by October 31st!!!
Now it’s October 26th and all our dipped babies are swinging from a pole on the patio getting their sealer applied.
Thankfully it’s nice out. 3 hours later they are dry and ready for final assembly (add the key ring) and packaging (see through fold over bags with our biz card inside).
It’s 7:15PM and the last one falls into the shipping box. USPS click & ship is a beautiful thing.
Tuesday October 27th, 3PM.
Let’s do our Starbucks run and drop off the box at the Post Office. Out the door we go for caffeine and…
Did you grab the box? Uh…oh.Bat turn at the intersection and back home for the dipped beauties. A quick drive through at Starbuck’s and onto the drop off. 4:02 PM the package is received. Check our tracking. 4:16PM it leaves on it’s way to Trenton NJ. YAY!!!
Thank you girls for all your help.
Some times it truly does take a village.
Every day is a joyride with us…ya just never know where we’ll end up.
This Monday was no exception.
After a long weekend in the store that ended with a really fun Image Transfer Workshop (thank you ladies for sharing that time with us) we did a little office work and then took a ride into Manhattan to join a couple dozen other stockists from the northeast.
The trip wasn’t unplanned, but it was short notice and it felt impulsive.
We arrived early. Imagine, no traffic on a Monday afternoon. So we strolled around Times Square, popped in and out of stores and finally moved onto our designated meeting place, the French Bistro Pigalle NYC.
This trip wasn’t just about meeting the other Annie Sloan stockists, however. The big draw was that we would have a chance to meet up with Annie Sloan. Yup, the one and only - for tea and cake (she is a Brit, after all).
But let’s back up to the ride in.
As we were tooling along the NJ turnpike Johanna says… What if she’s horrible? Or mean? Or just plain...unlikeable?
Hmmmm… never thought of that. What will we do? Just smile and sell her brand?
Thankfully, that was not the case at ALL!
Annie Sloan in person is lovely, and funny and one of the most likable people you could ever meet (what a relief) and we were so happy to have a chance to sit and chat for a bit with her.
Since it was our first encounter, Annie came right over and plopped herself down next to (actually, almost on top of) Johanna and asked “Should I know you?” We laughed, “No,” we said, “we’ve never met before” and we introduced ourselves. Before Johanna could get her last name out, Annie completed it and said “We’ve exchanged emails, haven't we?” She remembered us, “And your shop is Soldier…some numbers.”
Annie asked questions about our business and we exchanged some insights into our experience with her brand, small business and it’s challenges, as did she.
“Small business is unpredictable” she said “but you keep doing what you love, don't you?”
We feel lucky to be a part of Annie Sloan’s extended business family. She truly does care about each individual shop, each individual person. And most of all, she is committed to small business. Annie made it very clear that she would never sell out to the big box stores and she said that she often she makes business decisions now based on what she thinks Willow (her only grandchild – who is 2 years old) would want when she runs the business in the future.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but we do know we will wake up raring to go...and doing what we love.
Thanks for reading!
We're Paul and Johanna and we write about our life in the furniture business. The things we love, the places we go, and the treasures we find along the way.