In 1990, I was eleven years old. I had froo-froo bangs, wore double stacked socks, cuffed my jeans (which, ironically I do today) and had a sweet pair of LA Gears complete with a dangling key chain. My biggest worry in 1990 was that I had to wear glasses (which were hugely unpopular and enormously dorky) and that I didn’t own an acclaimed pair of Jordache jeans.
While I was certainly not revolutionizing life in my small town Middle School, halfway across the globe, a woman not much older than I am today was revolutionizing the paint industry. She took years of accumulated knowledge and education and committed herself to creating a paint that is easy to use, highly durable with a color palette reminiscent of beautiful places and gorgeous landscapes; a paint that could be mixed together and combined without turning muddy shades of brown and grey offering a range of hundreds of colors and shades.
She is not a knock off or wannabe. She didn’t copy anyone or replicate success. She worked tirelessly to get it just right. And, she wrote…and wrote, and wrote.
- “The Complete Book of Decorative Paint Techniques: An Inspirational Sourcebook of Paint Finishes and Interior Decoration”, Ebury Press (ISBN 0712619054, 1988)
- “Nursery Style: Creating Beautiful Rooms for Children”, Contemporary Books (1989)
- “Simple Painted Furniture”, DK (1989)
- “Colour in Decoration”, Frances Lincoln Publishers (1990)
- “Traditional Paints and Finishes”, Collins & Brown (1993)
- “The Practical Guide to Decorative Antique Effects”, Readers Digest (1995)
- “Annie Sloan Decorative Paint Effects: A Practical Guide”, Readers Digest (1996)
- “Decorative Gilding: A Practical Guide”, Readers Digest (1996)
- “Annie Sloan Decorative Stenciling and Stamping: A Practical Guide”, Readers Digest (1997)
- “Annie Sloan Decorative Wood Finishes: A Practical Guide”, Readers Digest (1997)
- Annie Sloan Decorative Decoupage: A Practical Guide, Readers Digest (1998)
- “The Painted Furniture Sourcebook: Motifs from the Medieval Times to the Present Day”, Collins & Brown, (1999)
- “Modern Paint Effects: A Guide to Contemporary Paint Finishes from Inspiration to Technique”, Collins & Brown, (2000)
- “Paint Alchemy: Recipes for Making and Adapting Your Own Paint for Home Decorating”, Collins & Brown, (2001)
- “How to Paint Furniture”, Collins & Brown, (2001)
- “Annie Sloan’s Colour Schemes That Really Work”, Collins & Brown (2002)
- “Annie Sloan’s Painted Garden: 25 Easy Outdoor Paint Effects to Transform Any Surface”, Laurel Glen Publishing (2003)
- Annie Sloan’s Painted Kitchen: Paint Effect Transformations for Walls, Cupboards, and Furniture, Laurel Glen Publishing (2004)
- “Annie Sloan’s Complete Book of Decorative Paint Finishes”, Collins & Brown, (2004)
- Quick and Easy Paint Transformations: 50 step-by-step ways to makeover your home for next to nothing, CICO Books (2010)
- Creating the French Look: Inspirational Ideas and 25 Step-By-Step Projects, CICO Books (2011)
- “The Annie Sloan Work Book: For Your Colour & Paint Ideas & Inspiration”, Oxford Folio (2012)
- Color Recipes for Painted Furniture and More: 40 step-by-step projects to transform your home, CICO Books (2013)
- Annie Sloan’s Room Recipes for Style and Color, CICO Books (2014)
- “Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint Workbook: A practical guide to mixing paint and making style choices”, CICO Books (2015)
- Annie Sloan Paints Everything: Step-by-step projects for your entire home, from walls, floors, and furniture, to curtains, blinds, pillows, and shades, CICO Books (2016)
She is not a label, a product or an inconspicuous suggestion. She is a person; a brand; an artist. She is a resource, an acquaintance and a supporter of small business.
And, in 1990, Annie Sloan was creating something that my eleven year old self couldn’t fathom would have an impact on my life and in my community.
I started writing this post as a follow-up to the DAILY interactions I’ve been having with a handful of some of my customers. And, it would be soooo easy to begrudge other businesses and lament about “the competition.” But, I didn’t want it to come across that way because that’s really not how I feel.
So, let me back up…
It’s not uncommon for me to walk a customer through “fixing” their project-gone-bad because they opted for a less expensive paint option. Truly, I do not begrudge these individuals! I promise! In fact, in a way I relate to them. I’m extremely frugal myself and will test the waters before I commit to a pricey option…no matter what it is.
However, what used to be a monthly occurrence turned into a weekly interaction and is now an almost daily conversation…Seriously. Every. Single. Day. This. Week. Someone has come to the shop to replace brand XYZ and purchase Annie Sloan Paint to fix a handful of problems.
And, how do I approach that without sounding self-righteous, spiteful and arrogant? It’s a really challenging position to be in.
I will NEVER speak poorly about a competitive brand of paint. Ever. It would be like talking poorly about something I know nothing about. I’ve never used those products, have no intention of using them so couldn’t possibly counter-argue their qualities (or lack-there-of…if there are any).
On a side note, about five years ago we started “collecting” other brands of paint to test out so that we could speak confidently about those brands as compared to Annie Sloan Paint. Funny enough, they sat on the workshop shelf. I’d get a project and peruse my color options and say, “I should test out that paint.” But NEVER did. Not to mention that I couldn’t keep up with all of the emerging brands. A different paint company seemed to be introduced in the marketplace every month. So, I abandoned that endeavor having never tried any of them; because why would I use anything other than Chalk Paint®?
So, when you are weighing your options for your next big project, give some thought about what you are buying and the legacy the product has to offer. I stand behind Annie Sloan the person and Annie Sloan the Paint! Since 1990, it is a product that has amazed artisans and amateurs alike! And, not only am I here to offer support, guidance and help, but so is Annie. She is an e-mail or facebook message away and has NEVER FAILED to get back to me if I have a question or need a challenge addressed. And guess what? She’ll respond to you, too! I’ve seen her interactions with customers on facebook, and it warms my heart to thing that this business mogul, industry changing individual has made herself so accessible to her community of worldwide Stockists and to you!
To those that sell “the other brands,” I say go for it! I love America and I love capitalism. And competition makes me a better business woman and enhances what we have to offer as a small business. I don’t begrudge those who have chosen to use and sell other paints. But, I will always, ALWAYS stand by Annie Sloan and with pride, go on about her accomplishments and credentials that have provided her the knowledge to create the ORIGINAL and the ONLY Chalk Paint®.