It all started with an early morning email.
Well, it was early for us. For the sender however, it was the middle of the day.
The email was from the head of Marketing at Annie Sloan Interiors which is located in Oxford, England. Amy had a simple question: would we be willing to coordinate the Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan retail booth at the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY at the end of May?
Without hesitation, I replied ‘Yes, we’d love to!’
And so it began.
I love new beginnings.
I love opportunities.
I love a clean slate, a chance to do something differently.
January 1st is my favorite day of the year...the start of any new season…my birthday…heck, even trash day. Out with the old and in with the new. A chance to start over, to begin something new.
At the start of this year, Paul and I launched a new venture. It came about because of our store customers.
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.