I had an interesting and eye-opening experience with my daughters recently. We were on a girls trip and stopped by some shops that sold painted furniture and home decor.
After visiting these shops they began to make comments about not being very impressed with the painted pieces they saw. So, of course as a painter, I started to question them! What was it that didn't impress them?
They all said they felt many of the pieces for sale looked like they were painted by amateurs. "I could have painted them myself." "Nothing unique about them." "Kind of sloppy painting."
A couple of my girls have done a little painting and so they spoke somewhat from experience. They also looked at the pieces with a different point of view from mine. I was looking at the little things that bother me, like not removing hardware, drips, surfaces that have a gritty texture. They were looking for pieces that had a "wow" factor in the finish. One daughter made the comment, "Nothing looks like what you do mom." I loved the compliment but I also thought of how my painting has evolved through the years. We all started somewhere.
After hearing their comments, I began to think about what we are offering as an industry. Where do we draw the line between amateur and professional?
If you are selling your pieces as a business, you need to consider yourself a professional. As a professional you will reach for new levels.
Are you doing something unique so that your work stands out from others?
Is it important to you do something different?
It is to me. Why?
I want to charge more for our pieces! I want our pieces to stand out. I want to create an interest for our "brand." I love it when a customer tells me they can scroll through the buy, sell, trade sites and they immediately recognize a piece that we have painted.
I'm not one to go crazy with really different styles and techniques because we need to sell our pieces quickly. It's our livelihood. Our furniture painting business pays our bills. So, we have to provide a product that will sell. But, we still want to be "different" from other painters in our area, many of whom are beginners or part time painters.
How can you create a different look that will make you stand out in your area? Experiment with dark wax, unique colors, styles, techniques such as layering, blending, or glazing. Try some stencils, decoupage, transfers, or hand-painted details. Do something you enjoy doing and create your own brand.
Set yourself apart and no one will ever think, "Heck, I could go home and do that." Just let 'em try!