I have a large Facebook group of furniture painters, Furniture Painting Business Tips, and we address most of the topics and issues that furniture artisans face with their businesses. I am also a member of many other furniture painting groups and love having the interaction that being a member of these groups brings.
One topic that often comes up for discussion is one I have a personal conflict with! It's phrased in many different ways: What do you paint? Do you paint what sells? What colors do you paint? Do you try different techniques?
As a furniture "artisan" I love color! I love unusual techniques. I love experimenting. I love being "different." I love standing out. I love pretty! I would love to do some really unique things like layering, blending, boho, stenciling and others. I get bored with painting neutral, safe colors. I would love to post a great looking, unusual piece in different Facebook groups and get a pat on the back because it's so pretty.
As a furniture painter with bills to pay, I like to eat.
When I read posts about painting "outside of the norm" I see comments from furniture painters that say they couldn't do this business if they had to paint "just what sells" because they want to paint what they love. What a great perspective. Having a business and loving it is important. I also read comments where a painter will say, "I paint unusual colors and the piece might take awhile to sell. But, that's okay because someone will love it. I can wait."
I wish I could say that. I can't.
We have bills to pay and our furniture painting business is our meal ticket! Yes, we paint furniture in our garage full time and it pays our rent, insurance, gas, medical expenses, and all of the other expenses we have. Oh, did I mention food?
When we spend $100 on a piece, it's important for us to get it painted and then get it sold. Our money is tied up in the piece. It takes up valuable space. It has to be flipped quickly!
Even though my husband and I do this business together, he leaves the decisions on color and finish up to me. We take pride in what and how we paint. I follow trends but I keep our pieces on the conservative side of the spectrum. Our inventory only includes quality pieces painted in colors that will sell quickly. I personally love bold colors but we don't venture out of the norm too often. I research the local markets because that is where our customers are! We paint what sells.
It's what we have to do because we can't eat pretty!