We interviewed Krysanne Lampman, owner of The Window Bench in Port Colborne, Ontario to learn a little bit more about her store, what it's like to be a Country Chic Paint retailer, and why she loves to paint. Read on to learn more about her inspirational story!
Krysanne Lampman: store owner and passionate painter
Can you start by telling me a bit about yourself and your store, and how you got started with your business?
I always had the dream of being my own boss. My mom for years did craft shows with her jewelry business. She worked so hard creating the most beautiful jewelry, yet was able to take it at her own pace and have me hanging around as well.
My grandmother had a great love of refinishing furniture and re-purposing items. She was always collecting things to turn into other useful items! Even though she had the money to spend, she found a way to re-purpose or recycle instead, she is a great inspiration and a large part of my business stems from her influence in my childhood.
5 years ago, while living in Welland, I tried to officially take up refinishing furniture, I had discovered Pinterest and through that I discovered a YouTube page called ‘Blue Egg Brown Nest’ She used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I admired her and how relaxed it made her, but I was afraid of the learning curve that may come with it.
I did a couple pieces with a latex paint but really didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t have anyone to guide me. I had the passion but lacked resources and the space, a common issue it seems. I used a basic matte, egg shell latex paint from Rona and didn’t like that I still had to leave my babies in order to paint/do what I wanted (fumes and a huge lack in windows to open, yuck!).
In July, after going through a terrible month with a sudden surgery to remove two 3x4” masses off of my ovaries and a death in the family on the day of my surgery, I felt I REALLY needed to just go for it and follow my wants and dreams, no matter what. I signed up for a chalk painting class with full intentions of making something of all of the items I had been hoarding over the past 8 years and was filled with excitement I had finally found something that I truly loved and enjoyed and had the resources to go along with it! Just after I signed up for the class an acquaintance of mine started up her business and I was so excited and happy for her. She made it obvious how easy it would be to go through with it and she gave me tips and the friendship I was searching for and cherished. A person with a common interest that I could talk to; and even though I had intentions of my own business I supported her whole-heartedly and had her do some of my projects for me since I hadn’t yet picked up the supplies I needed. I fully believe that there is room for everyone to express themselves through their art and that no one should hinder their dreams because of the actions of others.
So, on Nov. 7, 2014 I opened my page, The Window Bench, as I couldn’t keep everything I was planning on making and I knew I wasn’t going to just stop creating at any time. I was then blessed with the opportunity of becoming a Country Chic Paint retailer and I went for it! There is no stopping me now! I have a little journal that is full of things I plan to do, and it will keep me busy for a life time. I have a great feeling of accomplishment, I love my little business and the stress release it gives, while I am still suffering from depression and PTSD I am having more good days than bad.
I have met so many other wonderful and talented painters out there; some with similar stories, that I fully support and care for and I love that we can do what we love and bring our own uniqueness to the home decor world!
I have been a retailer for a full month, and it has been a fabulous experience, from the support Country Chic gives to the beauty of the paint itself!
What is your favorite thing about running your store?
I feel like the best parts of running my store would have to be the creative element. I can be creative with all of my products that I create and put out, I can be creative with the design of the store, the displays, and it's all on my own time at my own pace. Another of my favorite aspects would be that it's onsite with my home, so I can be open and available whenever I am called upon and still be there for my family and my home.
What would you say makes your store unique?
I believe my store is a very relaxed, pressure free zone where people can come and feel like a long time friend rather than a walking dollar sign. We plan in the future to have a spot for people to sit down and have a drink as well, where we can share creative and fun ideas we have.
Can you tell me why you chose to work with CCP?
It was an easy choice to work with Country Chic, not only are the products fabulous and easy to use but the colours are vibrant and they made the opportunity open to the little guys...the little studios and shops who have not been around long but have a firey passion to grow and share it with the world.
What is your favorite CCP color or product?
I'd have to say, my favorite product is the white wax. It has made the whitewashing technique a million times easier to perfect and it ends up being much more vibrant, rather than the dullness that can sometimes occur with whitewashing with a light layer of white paint.
What have you used it on?
I have used the white wax on most of my products to date, from signs to chairs to small decor pieces. It is really quite versatile!
Do you host any workshops?
We have not yet held our workshops, but we are drawing up plans for our new location and will be offering one-on-one workshops as well as group workshops on a monthly basis. I feel that one-on-one workshops will really benefit the different learning styles that we all have.
What kinds of techniques do you plan to teach?
We will be offering basic techniques from how to hold the brush to get the most out of your stroke, to advanced techniques of how to layer/distress/antique and give dimension to our pieces.
What do you like best about teaching others to paint furniture? I love being able to give people a simple understanding of something that seems difficult from the outside looking in. It's a very relaxing hobby and I love to be able to spread that relaxation.
How do people find out about your store and your classes?
Most of The Window Benches marketing is done online and by word of mouth. Facebook has become a fantastic platform. We do paid adverts once a month for 3 days, and we host giveaways in private groups. We also do milestone giveaways and flash sales that help bring more people in.
How would you describe your customer base?
Very loyal and supportive. We've yet to hit our one year mark but we are feeling the love all around.
What sort of customers does your store attract?
Most customers are in their mid 20's to late 50's and have a love for trying things themselves, others seem to be very attracted to the vibrant colours we deal with. We try not to do the basic whites and greys, which are lovely and neutral, but not as exciting!
Do you find you have different customers now that you’re selling paint?
Most certainly. From pre-made purchasers, to all levels of DIY fanatics and Pinterest addicts!
What have you learned from becoming a CCP retailer?
I would say I have learned that following your dreams isn't as hard as it looks. I've been wanting to become a retailer of a great paint line for some time and other brands had made it seem like an impossible feat! With Country Chic I have a valid confidence in my work and the product.
What do you like best about working with CCP?
I love the support we get and the connection we have with the rest of the retailers and staff. Comments from Rosanne herself are so cherished and are really uplifting.
What is your favorite thing about having paint in your store?
To be perfectly honest, I love having the product at my fingertips, and the can design is so bright and cheery, it's a perfect match for the atmosphere I want in my store.
What makes being a retailer most rewarding?
It's been a far-fetched goal that was reached and that satisfaction is long lasting.
Do you have any advice or tips for prospective retailers?
Don't be afraid to go for it, if nothing else you will have a great supply for yourself to use!
Do you have any future plans for your shop?
We currently have an in-home Studio, and the home is up for sale. Our plans are to purchase a new home and convert the garage into a septarate studio/shop, where the garage door will be replaced with beautiful french doors. We plan to offer our workshops inside the store as well as outside in a garden! Plans as mentioned earlier of a refreshment/lounging area are also in motion. New products are always on the rise, so I encourage everyone to always been watching for the next new thing.
Do you have anything else to add?
We pride ourselves on being a small business and fully supporting the 'Shop Local, Shop Small'. Everything our business needs, from signs to decor comes from the most local and small businesses we can find. As an example, we had a bunting banner made with our store name on it from a business called 'Overstitched' who is a few towns over from us, and a fabulous recycled window and twisted wire sign with our logo and store name from a business called 'Parkadilly' that is north of Toronto. It's a very satisfying feeling to know you are supporting someone who truly deserves it.
Some of Krysanne's favorite creations from The Window Bench