Welcome to Tell Us Tuesday! Each week, I’ll have a guest artist answer a few questions and wow, I have a fantastic lineup for you! I hope that by hearing from such a diverse pool of creative people, we will take away interesting and different perspectives. This may help in your own endeavors, be it painting furniture for fun, working on your home and creating your own style, or starting a blog or business for profit. The questions range from the artistic to running a successful creative business.
I consider all of the participants to be my true friends. We may not have met face to face (yet) but I know that we all support and inspire each other.
This week we have the fabulous Mary from Orphans with Makeup. Mary’s pieces are flawless and stunning. I can take one look at a piece and tell you right away that she did it. You should spend a long time perusing her wonderful blog and enjoy her perfect staging, photography and most of all, her beautiful work!
Interspersed in the questions are pictures of Mary’s amazing work. Click on the picture for a link back to her original blog post on the piece. Links also at end of post.
When did you begin to paint furniture and/or create projects for the home?
Well it actually started with my husband back in the mid 90’s (you know when men were DIY’ing!). He had painted a few furniture pieces that he built himself with Homestead Milk Paint for our new home. Well fast forward to 2005, after I quit my full-time job in the legal field to be a stay-at-home mother to three boys, I finally had time on my hands to do all the projects I had dreamed of. But with a reduced family income, I looked for ways to decorate on a budget and re-purposing furniture for myself was one way to go about it. So I have been doing this for myself for quite a long time.
When and how did you start your website/page/blog?
I guess you can say that I officially started my website/blog in February 2013, but in all honesty, I never really referred to myself as a blogger until recently. I just mainly started Orphans With Makeup as a platform to validate what I do and a place for potential clients to see what I could offer with respect to my painting services. I had no knowledge of blogging and really did not know any other bloggers when I started. I put up my site through Squarespace, but as time went on I realized it limited what you can do as a blogger and have since migrated my site to WordPress.
What would you consider to be your unique style and what inspires you?
How do you decide which paint or technique to apply?
Since I do a lot of custom work, it is often dictated by the client. Custom work is usually a one-color process with just a bit of distressing (most often white). I work mainly with Country Chic and Fusion Mineral paints. Both are great products and I personally think quite similar. I’ve also tried General Finishes and happy with the results too. I will often choose a brand by the color I want to paint. Annie Sloan is also one of my favourites too and if I am really looking for 100% adherence with no prepping, it is my go to paint. It has never let me down. I love milk paint too, although I am a little hesitant to use it on custom projects because of the unpredictability of it. I do personally love chippy finishes but they are a little harder to sell in my parts. When I do get to work on my own furniture pieces, I love experimenting with washes and creating patinas.
Do you consider both writing your blog and working on a project to each be a creative process? Which do you prefer?
What is your favorite part of the creative process? The initial brainstorming/inspiration, working on the piece, the finishing touches (staging/photography) or writing and publishing the blog post? Least favorite?
What do you believe to be the reason for the success of your blog and business?
I’ve always just done my own thing and never got hung up with numbers. I’ve never let statistics (page views, etc.) determine how many blog posts I publish. I’m probably not your traditional blogger and prefer to offer quality over quantity. I make a lot of effort to stage and photograph my finished furniture pieces, to show them at their best, hence the name of my blog “Orphans With Makeup”. I really believe the photography and staging has been my niche for the growth of this blog. And with respect to selling my furniture pieces, with almost all of my clients being females, we are emotional buyers and pretty images easily sell the furniture.
What advice do you give other creative people wishing to follow in your footsteps?
Attend blogging conferences, read up as much as you can about blogging, advertising, affiliate marketing, etc., get familiar with all blogging terms, connect with other bloggers, hone in on your photography skills (I personally think this is the most important one). If you can, I would hire a professional web designer/developer to get you started. Will save you lots of time and frustration. It is a learning curve and most of all, do not expect to become successful overnight. Be as honest as you can with your readers.
Thank you so much Suzanne for including me in this series and all that you share on your blog. You are a great inspiration to us all.
Up next week, the fabulous Marie from The Interior Frugalista! I cannot wait share her work and hear her story. I am very honored that so many of my amazing blogging friends have agreed to take part in Tell Us Tuesday!