How my Painting Career began

So many of you sweet followers have emailed asking me about how I got into faux finishing…. and how to start a business of your own. I hope this post will be an encouragement to anyone who isn’t sure “what they want to do when they grow up”…..

My dear mom just dug up some old pictures for me. This is me at age 3. My grandparents (whom I ADORED)… were painting some new steps. Gram left the garage to get something and when she came back, mom said I had taken over the painting. So, apparently… I loved it even then.

When I was growing up, I had a very conservative father who wanted all.of.the.walls.white. We could decorate our bedrooms to some degree. But he wasn’t into posters, wall art, etc. We didn’t have any creative freedom in our bedrooms. Dad used to say…. “when you get your own house someday….. etc.”.

So… I promptly bought my first house at the very young age of 21. I could barely afford the mortgage…. I certainly couldn’t afford any pretty decor. But I learned to garage sale like a mad woman!

The first “real” painting project that I remember is doing this:


I used “Fleckstone” spray paint to redo my horrible kitchen cabinets. The cabinets were salmon colored. Ug. I spray painted every one of them this lovely gray color in my basement.

And then I sprayed the bathroom cabinets. And then I spray painted the tile backsplash. 87 cans of spray paint later… I was hooked on painting.

I was in college at night getting my Bachelor’s Degree in computers when my husband and I went to the Home Show in Kansas City. It was there that I met Eric and Brenda Deeter…. they own Morningstar Faux Finishing. They had a faux school at the time. They were offering a 2-day introductory class and their excitement for their industry was contagious. I called my sister-in-law and begged her to go to the school with me.

My intent was to learn some things to do in my own home. However, that class was a defining moment in my life. As Beth Moore says… it was a moment when you are headed one direction and God clearly picks you up, pivots you, sets you back down and off in a new direction you go. I came home from that 2-day school so inspired, so motivated, so naive. I told my husband I wanted to start my own faux finishing company. Bless his heart… I was a month away from graduating with a computer degree. But he still said go.for.it. Thank you Lord for supportive spouses!!! (I have a post about supportive spouses here.)

I still got my computer degree and continued to work my computer job during the day. And for a year, I worked evenings and weekends doing small faux jobs for people I knew. My husband was THE BEST….. he helped me.

 
(Wow… he had hair and I had pre-baby hips….. those were the days)

As God would have it, I lost my computer job a year later. The reality of no paycheck set in quickly…. but I was determined to give this “faux thing” a shot. I called every interior designer listed in the yellow pages in my part of town. If they had a store front… I showed up in their store with my portfolio and business cards and asked them if I could show them my samples. I turned down a really good computer job at the Cerner Corp in Kansas City. I wondered what.the.heck.I.was.doing. If my husband wondered too…. thank God he didn’t show it.

Because….I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I was flying by the seat of my pants.

The first designer to hire me hired me to glaze kitchen cabinets in a million-dollar house. Talk about intimidated. The house had a “secret room” for goodness sake. I’d never been in a house like that. I was way too cheap and way too inexperienced. But….. determined to pull it off. The job was a success and that designer continued to hook me up with new clients.

A few months later I found out I was expecting my first child. Holy crap… now what?

The good news is…. most faux finishing products are water-based. So, I fauxed until 2 weeks before I delivered my first son. Then I begged the sister-in-law who went to that faux school with me to come to work for me. For 17 years, I ran my decorative painting business, employed many women to help me and raised my three children. 

The morals of my story:

  • Trust God’s direction for you life. It may save you a wasted degree.
  • If you’re a designer… give a young entrepreneur a chance. They may surprise you.
  • If you want to be a faux finisher….take a leap of faith. Invest in a class.
  • If you’re a spouse… encourage your spouse to follow their dreams. Be their best cheerleader. Mine was.
  • If you’re a parent/grandparent….give your kids a little creative leeway…. You never know where it may take them.
(Me painting for Grandpa in his garage)

 

(Me painting for Michael on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”)
 

My business was such a blessing. If you are thinking about making your creative hobby a creative business, you are in the right place. I want to encourage you and help you! You can find more information on my coaching group, the Inner Circle, HERE. I teach highly-driven creative business owners how to build their business online and embrace their creative talents. We learn together, network and support each other. I hope you will join us.   I also want to encourage you to listen to my podcast (Episode 52,) where other creative business owners share their story and how they grew 6-figure  incomes using their creative talents!.

I still love painting, decorating and creating! But my business is entirely online. I share my DIY projects on my blog and Facebook page. And I also run a Paint Finish of the Month club where I share my DIY videos and bring on celebrity “guest” painters to teach the latest furniture, cabinet and decorative painting techniques. 

Many blessings.
jennifer

 

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24 comments
  1. Wanda
    Wanda
    December 31, 2009 at 5:56 am

    Beautifully inspiring and, once again, very generous.

    Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy New Year!

    Wanda (At Last…)

  2. KC Mom
    KC Mom
    December 31, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I just love that story. The other part of the story that I love is how we’ve gotten to know each other because of your career path and passion.
    I still think you have my dream job and secretly wish I could work for you!!

  3. fabulousfinishes
    fabulousfinishes
    December 31, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I love your story Jen… you looked like a natural (check out that artsy shirt) even at age 3! How ironic, my degree was in computer systems too… what is that, stiffling the creative part of our brains in the most extreme way? I met Brenda and Eric for the first time this year, in Chicago. Really nice people – what a small world, thats where you started this amazing journey to where you are now.

    You are one of the fortunate that have found a way to use what God has blessed you with – supported by a loving husband, and surrounded by a beautiful family. Wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2010!

  4. Shauna
    Shauna
    December 31, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    I love everything about that story! Whats crazy is imagining you as a computer programer!! Miss you.

  5. Angie
    Angie
    December 31, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Very cool.

  6. Cottage Chick
    Cottage Chick
    December 31, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Wow, it takes some guts on your part to trust that God picked you up and turned you around. I think, being a business owner myself, that is the scariest but most exciting moment. I am still working my day job two days a week and have been scared to give that up…maybe one day I will just jump in with both feet and go for it.

  7. Girly Stuff
    Girly Stuff
    January 1, 2010 at 12:49 am

    I love your story!

    And it does take a supportive spouse to take the plunge!

    And God knows EXACTLY what He is doing. If only we trust. And you sure did!

    Glad I met you my faux friend!

  8. L
    L
    January 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    You know how much I love your story. I use it to tell my kids to follow their dreams. You wrote it beautifully and I am so proud of you and so proud to call you friend. I love you girl!

  9. Nancy W
    Nancy W
    January 2, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Loved your story! Hope you and yours have a very blessed 2010! Hugs from Conroe, TX!

  10. Pamela
    Pamela
    January 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    What a wonderful post Jennifer! Thanx for sharing!

  11. Ruthie's Renewed Treasures
    Ruthie's Renewed Treasures
    January 3, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Fun post, enjoyed the story of your career. You are incredibly gifted and fun! Hope we get to meet someday.

    Ruthie

  12. Its So Very Cheri
    Its So Very Cheri
    January 3, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    What a FUN post

    Cheri

  13. dankasworld
    dankasworld
    January 4, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    What an awesome story. Thanks for sharing. You are truly a talented woman, and look what God can do when we give our lives to him!

  14. Laura
    Laura
    January 4, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Which episode of Extreme Makeover shows your handiwork? We watch every one! Love that show and hope to get our own makeover someday.

  15. Sun-Kissed Scholars
    Sun-Kissed Scholars
    January 5, 2010 at 4:56 am

    W-o-w!! This is so inspiring.
    thank you, thank you, thank you
    So many lessons here.
    First, I am amazed by you, thrilled with your success, and impressed by your work. Thanking God for his leadership in your life, and your willingness to follow it.
    Second, I have a talented daughter who dreams of being an author, and a younger sister who aspires to be an artist. I’ll have them both read this. They CAN do it!!

  16. Federica
    Federica
    January 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks a lot for your comment and for stopping by my blog!
    I just come back in town!
    Happy 2010!!!
    xoxo

  17. Funky Junk Interiors
    Funky Junk Interiors
    January 5, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    LOVE this story of sheer determination and success!

    I started my first biz in much the same way. Learning from hard knocks is the quickest way to figuring it all out. There comes a point where you have to ‘just do it.’

    And out of pure coincidence, I posted my ‘life’ story today.

    It was awesome tapping into your inner workings and sharing your testimony.

    Donna
    http://funkyjunkinteriors.blogspot.com/

  18. cityfarmer
    cityfarmer
    January 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I adore love your ramblings … you are my kind of woman … ages ago you left me a wonderful comment at
    http://stuffintheburbs … I finally put this all together and linked you on my favorites.
    Thanks for the inspiration….

    gotta LOVE the Michael part

  19. Brooks & Dana Tucker
    Brooks & Dana Tucker
    January 7, 2010 at 6:35 am

    What an encouraging post! I especially love that you asked designers to give new finishers a chance. I called a bunch of them when we were first starting and let me tell you, that is not an easy group to break into. Great directions for getting started.

  20. Adrianna
    Adrianna
    January 19, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    That is such a beautiful story. I love the last part. How encouraging. You have an awesome blog! Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  21. Jordan Baker
    Jordan Baker
    February 1, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    This was really encouraging!
    It’s awesome to see how God works;)

  22. Diva Style
    Diva Style
    February 2, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    GOD IS GOOD…ALL THE TIME! 😀

  23. connie spear
    connie spear
    October 25, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I loved your work that u have done, I am a faux finisher myself and love it. My grandson is wanting a graffiti room and looking at your work, it was great…how was you able to do the graffiti on the walls? are you an artist too….

  24. Magic Brush
    Magic Brush
    October 28, 2010 at 2:01 am

    To Connie Spear – I have not done any graffiti…I’m sorry! But sounds like a great room for your grandson! Best wishes!

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