Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sorbet Colors

I am so excited about Spring!!! 

This week I was so inspired to paint. And paint I did!

Bright, fun, fresh sorbet colors.

The first piece I did was in Barcelona Orange, ASCP.

I finished it off with white wax, then clear and pretty fresh knobs from Anthropologie.

The second was my first attempt at MMS Milk Paint. This piece was painted in Apron Strings.
I am in LOVE with this paint. 

I know you are wondering why I didn't try this paint before. I think it was because often I have to paint several pieces a week for the store{s} and I was nervous about making a mistake and not making my inventory deadline. I know most other paints inside out and this one made me nervous.

I took it slow, asked my other painter friends tons of questions, read about it, and approached like a painter. I knew once I got the mixing down and got the paint on the piece I would be ok.

 I did a lot of sanding in between coats with a high grit sanding block. Every coat I painted had a slightly different tint to it so when I just slightly sanded it back it created this really cool dimension. After my last coat I used a low grit sanding block to distress in places down to wood. 

I am hooked. I love this paint. I don't know what I was so afraid of.

Linked up Miss Mustard Seed

Thursday, February 27, 2014

p a i n t i n g    a g a i n !

I took a break from painting for the store the last three weeks. I need to do this every once in a while to take care of store business that I tend to neglect. 

In my own home I have been painting everything black and white, no color! I balance the starkness with a lot of rustic wood elements.I paint so much color for the store, it is nice to have a clean slate at home.  I am still working on my house but as soon as I am done I will show you room by room what I have done. 

I thought I would bring a little bit of black and white into Poppy and Co this week. Don't worry, next week I will be back to bold colors, but this week I had fun painting in more neutral tones. 

I spray primed the white desk and then one coat of General Finishes Snow White. Such a pretty color. It is finished off with a clear wax.

 The black desk is painted in General Finishes Lamp Black and sealed with a clear wax. The knobs add just a fun finishing touch.

It is good to be back to painting! I have missed having a brush in my hand and paint dust all over my clothes.

linked up
MMS Furniture Party!

Friday, February 14, 2014


This is a word that is coming up in my life this week and it is coming at me in all directions. From friends deciding on what path they want to take in their lives and making decisions with certainty. To fellow shop friends riding the wave that is retail, the ups and downs. I am riding that wave with them. 

As I sit in the store today I know with certainty I am supposed to do this job. I wouldn't have come this far if I wasn't supposed to. Even when I have a tough month in sales and I don't think it will get better. It certainly always does. 

Even with fear I have certainty.

 Even when things are seemingly not going my way, I must have certainty it is to teach me to work harder or change gears, or maybe even take a break for a minute. Even if I don't know where this journey will take me I need to know with certainty that I am on the right path for me.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

y e a r   3  

This month marks my entry into year 3 of retail.

Everyone shop owner I know has told me by year 3 you will have a good handle on the basics. When it comes to the furniture business- same shop- it can be seasonal. It takes time to build a client base and have people find you! Having a few years to look back on it is interesting to see the highs and lows and how they correspond with the time of year. 

Year one was about keeping my head above water and building. Building my business without debt, building lasting relationships with partners and clients. Building my skill set, being an even better painter and stager. Figuring out my price point {actually making a profit maybe?!}.  Figuring out what sells.
{What the original Modern Cottage Company store looked like Jan 2012 my first move in day}

Year two was about learning from all my mistakes from year one and actually taking home a salary {even if it is a small one!}. The biggest thing I learned from year two was to still dream big, but at the same time, setting more boundaries for myself. I stopped custom painting. I changed what I wanted to sell. I spend more money on my pieces upfront, a lot more money. I don't just paint what I know will sell right away but I push myself to paint what I think is right for a piece- even if it is risky. At the end of year two I found myself painting for two stores! Exciting, unexpected and I stopped taking home a salary for a while so I could now help stock two stores instead of one! At the very end of year 2 I stopped working at the store on the weekend and volunteered to man the store during the week. It is nice to have two days with my family every weekend {even though I am still answering emails and picking up and dropping off pieces both of these days}.
{It was in year 1, and still is about having a business where I can spend more time with my family}

What has stayed constant. 
I still love finding and painting furniture, maybe even now more than ever. 
I am SO happy to be around talented painters. Seriously, there is a great community of painters in my area and it is fun to support one another and even become friends with one another.
I still have really good months at the store when I can't keep up with demand.
I still have bad months at the store when I think that no one likes my painting and question myself. 
It ALWAYS evens out!
This week I am thinking about my year 3 goals. 
Hmmm. I don't even know if I want to have goals. 
I kind of want to celebrate in year 3. Still work hard, but enjoy the process more.
I have found over the last few years if I work really-really hard, pray really hard, and allow myself to dream a bit-amazing things can happen.
 I do know that year 3 would not be possible without you.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

 g r e e n
I love green. I have missed painting it.
So when I picked up this buffet earlier this week I knew it would be green.
It is painted with Benjamin Moore, Aura. I went with this paint because I adore the color Grassy Fields and I knew it wouldn't take more than two coats of paint to cover.
Pretty! This one is going in the store window.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

s i c k   d a y s
One of the really great things about owning my own business is the flexible work {well for the most part} schedule I have, so I can be at home for my kids when they are sick.
I work two full days at the shop every week and those are the days my kids are in school. My husband and mom share the duty in picking the kids up from the bus those days.
A very, very, very big part of my job {honestly THE biggest} is sourcing-supply buying-painting-photographing-marketing-coordinating with consigners-books-and merchandising. ALL are done {well except merchandising} M-W at home {oh, and I forgot store drop offs-both stores}. It is a lot of work but I can do it at home {except the sourcing-for the most part}. This is THE reason the store is closed M-W. If it was open those days we would eventually have no merchandise.
 {or very little of it}
So when my kids are sick I can still work!
I am painting today and tomorrow {with sick kids at home}, then tomorrow night Merri, Julie and I are meeting at night to remerchandise the whole store.
Yesterday, after I spent two hours at the doctor with both kids, I came home and did the finishing touches on my simple farmhouse Christmas dining room.
I am having ALL the Poppy contributors to my house Sunday night so I needed to get it finished and festive for them.
Want to pictures?

I am going for simplicity in my design right now. Clean, not fussy.
I did a few more touches around my house that I will share with you later this week.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

what's up with mcc?!

I wanted to write a quick post about what I have been up to lately.
The month of October was just crazytown for me getting ready for the opening of Poppy Seattle while continuing to stock Poppy & Co Tacoma . I somehow managed {I have no idea how I did this, but I did! And looking back I think I knocked out some of my favorite work recently}. 

It helps to have some really amazing women that I work along side of Merri, Julie, Devon, Michelle, Sarah and we have new Poppy family members Karla and Amanda {Oh, and Jonathan-he is our Seattle male model artist and Julie's boyfriend :) -he helps A LOT at that store}.

What I love the most about the shop{s} is how everyone pulls together as a team at Poppy, all the while continuing to grow their own businesses. We approach the business as individual artists, yet we fully support one another under this house we call Poppy & Co. It has happened so organically who has become part of our store and I think we all feel pretty blessed to have one another. It is really what I love about my job. I get so excited to see what the other girls bring in and honestly it motivates me.

This next month I am sitting back a bit. I cleaned out my basement and studio and I am only buying after I sell. This will help the clutter in my mind and cashflow for my business. I just need to rest a bit.
I am starting to collaborate with my husband on a fun pillow line for MCC. They are going to be SO cute!
I have learned how to manage my emotions when it comes to business. Remember I started as an artist, not a retail store owner. I have learned to stick to my policies, yet love on my customers.  I have learned what stress I won't take home with me. I have learned what kind of person I am, what I want to become and who I want to surround myself with.
I have learned if you are kind and honest, you will draw similar people to you.

And to take the ego out of painting. I wrote a blog post about that a long time ago.....I need to find it.

I have so many exciting things I want to accomplish next year. But seriously, my favorite thing is finding beautiful pieces of furniture new homes for our clients that have become like family to us and working alongside such amazing artists and friends.