We had the good fortune of connecting with Michele Rivard and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michele, what do you attribute your success to?
Over 80% of my annual sales are of DIY painting supplies for home decor projects and furniture refinishing. I am a firm believer in “giving it all away”…my knowledge that is. Most people are apprehensive and hesitant to start a DIY project, especially one that embarks on transforming family heirloom pieces or weighty furniture that has been a staple in homes. I firmly believe in selling confidence. In selling empowerment. In selling inspiration. But, to do that I have to be generous with my knowledge. I spend an average of 30-45 minutes with a new painting customer sharing ideas and information so that they will be successful embarking on their projects! There is nothing more satisfying than watching someone walk through the doors with hesitation than to see them walk out the doors with a box of supplies, a smile on their face and the confidence to tackle their project. I think of these customers as my community of artisans. It starts with just one small piece of furniture, but over time and experience, they become experts in the artistic expression of furniture transformation. And, that is why we are successful! Because WE KNOW that every person has the capability to make budget friendly yet significant change in their homes even if they don’t know it right away! We help them to see their own potential.
What should our readers know about your business?
Succeeding in the “handmade business” with a brick and mortar shop is a financial challenge given the state of tax burdens, overhead costs and payroll expenses. It’s not a practical option for most handmade artists, but their is a wealth of high end creativity in the marketplace just waiting to be tapped! I love finding those artisans and extending opportunities for them to sell their products in my shop. While I can focus on the painting, supplies, teaching workshops and offering custom refinishing services, I rely on other creatives to keep the shop supplied with unique gift items. Because, in a world dominated by online purchasing and big box retail, my competitive advantage is that you won’t be able to purchase what we sell anywhere else! I love how this business model allows me to support other small business artisans while maintaining shop inventory that is not mass produced but made exclusively in the USA by local artists.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Like any small business, there are dozens of people behind the scenes lending support. I have to shout out to my parents who have been so supportive and helpful while we’ve been trying to stay afloat in this season of Covid and mandated lockdowns. Whether it is helping at the shop or watching the kids while I work, they are my #1 fan club and I couldn’t keep this place going without their unending support.