My name is Debi Pfrimmer. I am the owner and artist at Elsie Lane Boutique, in Spokane Valley, Washington... Who is Elsie Lane you ask...? She is our sweet little grand daughter, and the fierce little firecracker we named our business after, and I can't think of a better name or namesake for our little business than our Elsie.
Shortly after little Elsie was born, My husband Rob and I decided that I would quit my "day job" and paint furniture and art full time. Our kids were grown and we felt like it was a good time for me to step up and take a leap of faith, to follow a passion of mine that I had been working towards for at least a few years. I have always loved art and knew that some day I wanted to follow my dream of having an art studio and my own small business. I had been painting furniture and crafting as a hobby for about five years already. But have loved art my entire life.
When our daughter, Brandy (Elsie's mother) was a young girl we would spend more than our share of Saturday's rummaging through thrift stores and yard sales looking for the perfect thing to upcycle. We always shared a love of home decor and crafting. I remember bribing her into cleaning her room by taking her shopping for "some kind of decor piece" and it would immediately send her right into cleaning and organization mode. We called our Saturday's "Craft Saturday" (My evil plan worked every single time)! "Hey Brandy, lets go get McDonald's and stop in at TJ Maxx or something...." lol.
Anyway, I decided to try getting booth space in a couple of the local shops in town. That was really fun for me for a couple years. OMG I was so nervous talking to my first (few) store owners to show them pictures of my furniture and ask for a space in their beautiful stores!!! Eventually, I fell upon a little old garage space that seemed perfect to open up my own shop studio. That's where we are now. It was a complete God thing...let me tell you!! We cleaned and painted and added a cash register and opened up shop. That was five years ago!
When I first opened my own shop I was really surprised to hear a lot of my customers coming in and asking me how I painted something. What colors I used and how I achieved the finish. It really caught me off guard! I remember thinking "why not just buy the finished piece that is sitting right here?" lol
(Below: One of my first pieces done with DIY Paint and my first cash wrap)
After a while I realized that I was missing out on a pretty important customer base, not to mention an opportunity to really share what I do with people that "get me" (which is a big deal when you spend so much time alone in the creative process)... I knew I wanted to do more than just sell paint. I felt like becoming a "one stop shop" for DIY'ers was where my heart really was. And not just your typical shop where customers would need to know what they were doing before they purchased what they needed, but a place where you could really get "hand over hand' experience using products and walking through all the steps.
(Below: We just built this "test bar" for customers to come try out products before they buy).
I already carried Debi's Design Diary DIY Paint which carries a nine ingredient, highly pigmented clay based paint, Bohemian Brights paint, and the new JRV One Step paint and Iron Orchid Designs (IOD). Which has the most gorgeous and easy to use decor transfers, stamps, moulds and paint inlays... Hmmmmm.....what else do we need? What else would my customers love to try?
So I started researching products that my customers were asking for and just started trying out some new things. I decided I wanted to only sell the best products I could get my hands on. I wanted to carry a variety of products that complimented each other without competing... and that worked well together. Each brand of paint that we carry has its own amazing attributes and product lines.
I added Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paints and Miss Lillian's No Wax Chock Paint. Both for very different reasons. Miss Lillians has about 180 beautiful colors of No Wax Chock Paint, as well as many other amazing finishing options. Rust Patina's, Embellishing Jewels, and their famous Swamp Mud Primer. Wise Owl has a beautiful chalk synthesis paint line, One Hour Enamel Paints and who doesn't love their furniture salves?!
I also wanted to offer a variety of decoupage papers, stencils, Woodubend Moulds and paint tools.
I only carry and sell what I love to use, and I have found a real love for connecting with my customers and teaching. Its not unusual to see a customer in my shop asking me to come out and look in their trunk to give them advice on a table they have crammed in there, that they got from Goodwill. It's something I would have LOVED when I was first starting out. (using latex oops paint of all things)! (I've definitely come a long way in my furniture painting journey).
I am so happy to have found the courage to let go of my fear of people "copying" me! I admit, it wasn't easy, and it did take a while. But this is so much more rewarding and better than I thought was even possible. I'll never regret my decision to switch gears from being a furniture artist to teacher and friend.
I would love to hear your stories about how you overcame fear of sharing your processes! Or even if you think I'm crazy for sharing mine...What is the one big thing that you wish wouldn't have taken you so long to conquer?
Thank you for reading and I hope you will go subscribe to my Youtube channel and follow me on social media!
"Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."