Today we'd like to introduce you to another of our fabulous retailers, Robin Gallant from Birch n' Burlap! Read on to learn a bit about her shop and why she's passionate about her work.
We interviewed Robin Gallant, owner of Birch n' Burlap in Nelson, British Columbia 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!
Robin Gallant: store owner and passionate painter
Robin is originally from Langley British Columbia and has been furniture painting for 13 years now. She has always had a love of interior design, decorating, vintage magazines, and dreamed of one day owning a beautiful home. Robin won an interior designer contest through IKEA amongst 8000 contestants from ages 15-35. After 3 stages of competitive design and then voting from all over for 3 months, she was declared Vancouvers best interior designer at only 15 years old. When she found out at a very young age that she was pregnant and on a limited budget, she was determined she could still create her baby's nursery for next to nothing and still look like it came from a magazine. She found her first items online; a crib and changing table, and refinished them the old fashioned way with latex paint and stains. She would also refinished free items for her friends and family or gave free design advice. She accredits her creativity and ability to see beauty in things others see as junk to her Mother. "We never had money growing up and I was often depressed about it because I thought I could only dream of beautiful decor found in stores and magazines. But my mother always told me, just because we are poor doesn't mean we need to look poor. So I quickly learned to think outside of the box and that beautiful things could come with just a bit of creativity and mostly love".
Three years ago, she relocated to Nelson, BC and continued her career there in the financial industry. After Christmas when the hours slowed down, she got back into doing what she truly loves; painting, salvaging and creating. She dreamed of one day opening her own shop and was blessed in a very short period of time to begin working for other people in town as word spread quickly of her talents. Store owners began asking if she would sell her furniture in their shops and one even offered her a retail space!
After acquiring a retail space, the next step was finding a name for her store. She wanted the name to be something different and she didn't want it to appeal to only women. She had been writing out potential names ever since she began her dream of owning her own storefront but in the end she landed on the name Birch n' Burlap and we just love it!
Her customer base consists primarily of woman, DIYers, and Pinterest lovers but is quickly expanding to a large male audience as well. Many others simply love the vintage look and come to her store seeking that type of decor or unique vintage items.
Robin has been a Country Chic Paint retailer for one year and has been a store owner for two.
Her favorite thing about running her shop is getting established and building a relationship with creative customers who come in seeking inspiration from her pieces. She loves teaching her customers about painting and helping them to believe in themselves as artists!
Her excitement in helping others to create is what makes her store unique. She doesn't hold back any information or tips; she wants to see people succeed and do beautiful things. Many other stores simply provide the tools, but not detailed information or knowledge. Robin doesn't paint simply because it's a trend, she paints because she LOVES it!
Robin chose to work with CCP because she's tried many other products over the last 13 years and finds the quality of Country Chic Paint products and the level of support she's offered to be superior. She loves working with a Canadian product she can really stand behind and believe in! After asking lots of questions and trying all the products, she was very impressed with their performance and by the support we gave her and the knowledge and willingness to help of our team.
Robin has a hard time picking her favorite colors and products as they vary depending on her mood, but her all time favorite go-to color is Lazy Linen. As she says, "It's a classic. It's a safe color". Some of her other favorites include Pistachio Delight, Elegance, Vanilla Frosting, and Vintage Cupcake which she says is the perfect "girly, classic, vintage pink". Right in this moment, she's really loving our limited edition color, Summer Blueberries!
Birch n' Burlap hosts on average two workshops per month. This has slowed down recently due to the Kootenay Chicks Vintage Faire which Robin organizes and some large custom orders that have occupied most of her time lately, but she's eager to get back to her regular schedule soon!
In her workshops, Robin teaches basic paint application, different distressing techniques, wax application, and how to use Tough Coat.
Most of her workshops and store information can be found on Facebook. Since she lives in a community's that is huge on supporting local, word of mouth is also a very helpful tool for her.
Robin's beautiful shop, Country Chic Paint display, and happy workshop attendees
Robin feels she's learned a lot about the impact that working as a team can have on her business and what it's like working with a company that cares about their retailers. She finds there is a huge difference when the company she purchases from is passionate about their own products and helping others. She loves being able to interact with other retailers on our exclusive retailer Facebook group so she can share tips and knowledge along with gain some. Robin has also found that the feedback towards CCP she hears from her colleagues is more positive than other brands.
Her favorite thing about working with CCP is that she likes knowing she's "working with a Canadian company that takes pride in their product and strives to have the highest quality chalk and mineral paints along with finishes on the market".
The most rewarding part about carrying a paint line in her store is when her customers return to the store to show her what they've created, post pictures and comments on her Facebook page, or thank her for bringing on CCP!
"Be very careful with who you decide to work with and promote. Try the product inside and out. You have to be confident in the product yourself and believe in it, not just because you think it's the trendiest. Once you do your research and try the many other Chalk paints out there; you'll see CCP is a no-brainer!".
Robin also had some advice to both current and prospective retailers who might be hesitant to host workshops: she admits that she is terrible at public speaking and always feels anxiety and nervous at the beginning of each workshop she hosts. She doesn't like being put on the spot or all eyes on her. Instead of being intimidated by this, she tries to think of each workshop attendee as her good friend beside her to help boost her confidence. "Don’t put that pressure on yourself that it has to be something that it’s not. Just pretend you’re in a room by yourself with a friend who are watching you as you explain to them what you're doing and how you're painting or waxing."
Robin has dreams of expanding her retail space so she can host workshops on site. Come summer, she has plans to expand her workshop offerings to include stencilling, embossing, and image transfers!
If you want to find out more about becoming a Country Chic Paint retailer, please visit http://www.countrychicpaint.com/become-a-country-chic-paint-retailer.