Since my last post about painting fabric, which you can read here, I have been thinking about our meet the team post. I can totally understand how this next statement will sound crazy, but here at Suite Pieces, we’re building an empire ; )
A long time ago, a dream was born in my heart. I can’t exactly put my finger on the exact moment, but a big part of it was born when I became a Mary Kay beauty consultant. Any of you out there ever been a consultant? It is the most amazing company, started by the most amazing woman, Mary Kay Ash. My time as a Mary Kay consultant (I actually still am to this day ; ) taught me so much. It taught me amazing business skills & personal lessons, it taught me confidence & positive thinking. It taught me presentation skills, it taught me how to be a better teacher, a better leader & a better person. One year with Mary Kay will change your life…it certainly did mine…and here we are 10 years later.
I am forever indebted to the amazing woman who is my director & my recruiter, Crystal Trudell. She introduced me to Joel Osteen who introduced me to the Lord ; ) …Life Changer. She won her first pink cadillac just a couple months ago…you go girl!
When I saw how Mary Kay had built her empire, it was almost like a spark was put to the match. I realized that I didn’t have to feel guilty about having the desire to build an empire if I built it on the same principles that she did. Mary Kay’s philosophy is Faith first, Family second, Career third. She teaches us to remember everyone wears a sign around their neck that says “make me feel important”. She taught to focus on people’s strengths and their weaknesses will go away.
Mary Kay’s slogan is “Enriching Women’s Lives”. I knew that if I could build my empire based on enriching the lives of others, then the Lord would bless it & lead me through it. And the weird thing about this whole empire dream, it’s not solely about the money, the success or all the stores I intend on having someday ; ), but rather it’s about touching the lives of so many others. Making their lives better in some way…whether it be to inspire them to follow their dreams, give them the confidence to create, or bringing along the amazing team of people God has put in my path on this journey with me, it all makes my heart go pitter patter. It seems silly…even for me to write this. I’m even a little nervous to post this, but I must.
I first must thank the amazing customers who have been with us from the beginning. Without all of you, none of this would be possible. We’ve opened 2 stores in less than 2 years and we are about to launch another big venture (more on that another day ; ). Thank you thank you thank you Suite peeps ; )
So…because we’ve had such an amazing flow of awesome customers, I’ve needed to hire a team. And so, the empire has started ; )
Allow me to introduce these amazingly fantastic people, some of which you will find in the shop when I’m not there…
I met John long before I ever even thought about doing all of this. When I was still working in corporate America, I stumbled into the Peddler one day and chatted with him about the world of being a dealer. He told me I would be crazy to get into this business. John, aren’t you glad I didn’t take your advice?
John & his dad run The Yankee Peddler (the vintage emporium where Suite Pieces is located), and I’d like to say that John & I were destined to meet. He’s a hard worker, who’s big & strong, loves painting & working with customers. I needed a big strong guy, who could help with painting, who I could trust to treat my customers the way I want them to be treated and would have a great work ethic. Ask and you shall receive ; ) I seriously could not have come this far without John’s help. He helps me lug pieces in and out of the shop, he’s always taking care of customers, scouting furniture, carrying in the massive loads of paint we receive, and being an ear & a hand in any way he can. John, I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done to grow Suite Pieces! I’m so happy to have you along on this journey! If you’ve come to Suite Pieces anytime in the last year and a half, you’ve definitely met John. I can tell you that I share alllllll my knowledge with all my peeps so even if I’m not there, you can be confident knowing that you’re getting good information ; ) Here’s John, Jamie & Corina working on sample boards for the Brooklyn shop a few months back…
And here’s some of the team at our Milk Paint training, John, Jamie, Joanne & Corina.
Jamie is another destiny person. She was my intern for 6 months. She drove an hour each way to come learn the business and be a helping hand. And since it was so early on and I had no money for help, she did it for free…although I did feed her every day…and she says that kept her coming back ; ) Jamie is the adorable red-head you’ll find in the shop a few days a week. She’s bubbly & sweet, just how I imagined the perfect shop gal would be. Again, ask, and you shall receive. I taught Jamie as much as I could, and now she’s teaching me…like one of my favorites, apply gilding wax with a brush. Ummm…why didn’t I ever think of that?? Jamie keeps our supplies organized & she updates our Pinterest page among everything else to keep a shop running…and of course, the most important thing, she takes care of our customers. She even fills in at the Brooklyn shop on occasion. Jamie, you are awesome…have I told you that lately?? Thank you so much for your enthusiasm & commitment to Suite Pieces. Suite Pieces wouldn’t be what it is today without your help!! Thank you for being there so many days when we were scouting the store for Brooklyn and even when I couldn’t give Huntington the attention it needed while we were launching the new store. I felt confident knowing that you & John were there keeping things on track ; )
On Jamie’s first day, I asked her if she had known anyone who did graphic design. I wanted to have the logo & the website redesigned. She mentioned a friend of a friend named Katelyn, whom she thought did that kind of stuff. She reached out to her and sure enough…not only did Katelyn do graphic design, but she also worked in branding. Um seriously…yes, ask and you shall receive. So Katelyn & I met and I fell in love with her. I loved her style & she is quite the professional. We got to work on the logo, identity and branding. Katelyn has taught me so much about the branding world and I have so thoroughly enjoyed working with her. I swoon over everything she does for us. Take a peek at her website, here. When we first met, Katelyn was still living at home. She has since moved out and it has now come full circle. She now “gets” this whole DIY thing and is quickly becoming an addict like the rest of us ; ) Welcome to the club Katelyn…and thank you for your awesome work & your help with building the Suite Pieces empire!
I introduced Corina to you back in our Brooklyn Bound post, which you can read here. You may be noticing a pattern with fate & destiny. Corina is of course no exception. She’s my partner at the Brooklyn shop and plain & simple, without her, we wouldn’t have Suite Pieces Brooklyn today. Let me tell you people, God knows what he’s doing. You must trust him, that is the hard part. When Corina came into my life, I wasn’t looking for a partner. But that was not God’s plan. Sometimes our plans don’t completely match up with God’s plan. But we have to allow for adjustments and trust him. Corina & I are so very different, but we are perfect for each other. She has taken a love to this paint & all the fabulousness we create at Suite Pieces, and she keeps the Brooklyn shop looking top notch. Thank you so much Corina for sticking with the plan and not getting a job at the mall when things were looking bleak on the BK real estate front. I hope the wait was worth it ; ) Oh what stories do we have to share on that someday…
Here we are signing the lease for the Brooklyn shop…what an exciting night!
Joanne is the newest member of the sales team at the Huntington shop and I can’t tell you how excited I am to have her on board!! Joanne was one of my very early customers who took a couple classes with me and then bought just about every color and every tool I had in the shop. She visited with me often to show me her projects and was always offering to help with anything I needed. She’d like to have her own shop someday, up in Sharon Springs where she has a vacation home, and I’m happy to have her help us grow Suite Pieces until she’s ready to move on. Joanne recently became a dealer at the Yankee Peddler and now has a space down the hall from Suite Pieces. The next time you’re around, do check out her space…she has incredible skills at painting furniture & her finishes are as smooth as butter ; ) Since Joanne had so much time practicing finishes and painting pieces for herself over the last year or so, it was a no brainer when I needed an extra hand. She already had such a love for the product, had been trained by me, and was yet again, another one of those people I knew would take care of customers the Suite Pieces way ; ) Here’s Joanne and her husband Jim. Jim is a saint just like my hubs…he deals with Joanne’s furniture purchases and turning the dining room into a workshop. Thanks for supporting Joanne on this journey Jim! And thank you to Joanne for coming on board…I’m so happy to have you!
Take a peek at a couple of the pieces she’s spruced up.
In case you’re wondering, that adorable yellow & white cabinet is sold…but this incredible secretary is still available!
So as we are approaching yet a new journey at Suite Pieces (again, I’ll have to tell you about that later ; ) and it was becoming time for some extra help at the Brooklyn store; John and all his wisdom told me not to worry, the new gal would find us…she would come in looking for a job. I guess all that advice I’ve given him must have rubbed off ; ) Well, sure enough, about a week later, it happened. A very sweet, stylish young lady popped into the shop and asked for a job. She just graduated college in California and moved to Brooklyn to find a creative job. She was looking for a small team of creative people with whom to grow. She also interned at Anthropologie and is an amazing artist herself. Um yea, seriously…
Claire has started her training at the Brooklyn shop and I just adore her. On her 2nd day she jumped right in and started helping customers when there were 12 in the shop at once (which if you’ve been to the Brooklyn shop, 12 people and you just about can’t move). Here she is working on a piece at our first workshop in Brooklyn. Her piece came out awesome!!! Great job Claire! And thank you so much for popping in that day, I’m so excited to see what you’ll bring to the Suite Pieces mix! She’s already sending us Craig’s List finds with her vision…love this girl!
And last (for now ; ) but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST!!! Another one of my awesome customers turned team member. Mary saw our sign about furniture painting on the window of the shop and slammed on the brakes to find out all about it. She took our Weak to Chic workshop and she was hooked. Here she is working on a fabulous chair.
She even took a 2nd one with a friend and that’s when I asked her, “so what did you do before you were a full time mommy?” “Marketing & PR for a book publisher in the food & craft industry”, Mary replied. Umm…come again…seriously?? Corina & I hired Mary soon after that to help us with some PR for the opening of the Brooklyn shop. She did great. I love everything about this girl, the way she writes, her organizational skills and how she can multi-task like no other (can I tell you that she even took a break during our first workshop to do a feeding for her son…and still got her chair & mirror done! She has an awesome hubby too…he brought Hudson down to the shop mid-class ; ) Here she is with Hudson just a few days ago on Halloween…how cute is that little munchkin!! He makes our heart melt every time he comes in to the shop.
From the first time I met Mary, I felt a special connection with her. Is it strange that I thought she’d be part of the journey all along? That is how it seems to work though. I get this little voice on the inside when I meet certain people. Mary was one of those. About a month ago, I asked Mary to come on in a larger capacity. Not just doing PR, but helping with all things marketing & quite frankly, I needed somebody to keep my butt on track. As you can see, I have a pretty large vision…and that requires a lot of planning & organizing. That’s what Mary is here for and over the last few weeks, I have felt such a peace about how things are progressing. She is our Brand Ambassador and although you probably won’t see her at the shop too often, she’s definitely working it behind the scenes ; ) Mary, thank you so much for jumping on board with my crazy vision…I’m ecstatic to have you as part of the Suite Pieces team!
So there it is…out there for all the world to see…the amazing team that makes up Suite Pieces. You are all so special to me and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us! Are you all ready?? I have a crazy big vision and if you’ll just believe, we’ll get there even faster ; ) I can’t thank God enough for the dream he’s placed in my heart and for the people he has put in my path. Our amazing customers that we get to inspire & teach every day, YOU are what this is all about. I hope you all get to meet these awesome people. Stop into one of the shops to say hello, we’d love to meet you ; )