An interview with Annie Sloan I
‘Secrets of Success’
If you are interested in interior design and creating new styling, you certainly already know her paint.
Today I have the pleasure to present my interview with Annie Sloan. Amazing person who lives in Oxford is the Chalk PAINT® creator and founder of the world-famous company Annie Sloan!
Annie in a conversation with me, reveals some secrets, which for 25 years have allowed her to succeed in the international market.
Let’s start ;)
I have learned that you were motivated to create a Chalk Paint®, 25 years ago by a desire to make a paint that would be trouble-free enough to enable painting and whilst looking after your children which were young back then. However, not every artist produces the material of which his or her masterpieces are made. In fact, it is a rare occurrence. What emboldened you? Where did this idea come from? Did you have any experience in technical production of paints? :)
Annie Sloan: That’s right it’s quite rare, it’s just happened. When I was in Nederland I spoke with a man who asked me “what would you like to do”, and I sad “I’d love to make paint that would do what I want it to do”. Afterwards I did different things. I’ve started writing books and one of them was about background of painting, so I gained some knowledge. But still I had very simple idea what paint is and I thought it would be simple to make my paint, I believed in it.
Then I went to small factory in Belgium. I spoke directly with the owner and his wife. It was small family ran factory and they were interested in working with me. They both were chemists and we were together working on my paint.
It’s very good to meet people who are interested in what you are doing.
Your paints are sold all over the world. I myself often benefit from the experiences of the British and also Australians, Americans or Canadians who create amazing things by means of the Chalk Paint®. Recently I have discovered that you can buy it even in South Africa! How did you succeed in becoming a worldwide recognisable brand? What do you think was the main factor of your success?
Annie Sloan: I think the main factor was the Internet. People started to read blogs, as yours, they started to read Facebook and all of this… It became much easier to reach new people interested in painting. That’s how we became much more known.
And for example, South Africa – I‘ve met some young couple, who came for my workshop in England and they liked my workshop very much. So one think is internet, but the second one… I did what I always do – I choose small businesses, independent people with passion and interests.
I am also amazed that your distributors, when I get to know them, sometimes even not knowing they are working with you, are very helpful, kind and open. How did you manage to do that? How do you select the people to work with?
Annie Sloan: You get know people. If they’re not nice we can’t work with the them. You just have to follow your heart. Sometimes we make mistakes, and we had people who weren’t very helpful so just stopped working with them. But we’re working on that to find nice interesting people. I try to take care of people who have got small businesses.
I find out that your stockists are helping each other…
Annie Sloan: Yes, We believe that when we work together we get much stronger. And if you fight against each other you end up with nothing. We’re stronger family if we work together!
I, just like you, used my name as the brand name, because it is very important to me. However, I am very interested in what made you take that decision. If you were setting up your company now, would you still choose this name?
Annie Sloan: That’s not my married name, that’s my single name. I’ve started to run business before I got married. I didn’t and I wouldn’t change it, because I wanted to do it with my father’s name, because he was important to me. I did it for him.
As is known, we are currently celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. It is a long time and you have a lot of experience in running business. What do you think was the biggest challenge you had to face over the past 25 years?
Annie Sloan: The worse thing ever was when we couldn’t buy white pigment. The problem last for about two months. And we couldn’t make most of the paint because most of the paint have white pigment in it. So it was very hard then. So it was very hard and we had to deal with it and try to show our other colours for that time.
The other one was attack on Twin Towers in 2001. People just stopped their lives, they stopped painting, they stopped buying… and got very scared. That was the outside factor and we had to do our job and just wait.
Running a business on such a scale must require a lot of your time. What do you do in your free time then? How do you relax?
Annie Sloan: I go running. I run in the morning between 8 and 9 almost every day. And I listen to a Podcast. I put it on my phone and I walk around or run around and listen to it and I’m in another word.
Thank you for the first part of our interview:)
My thoughts after an interview with Annie Sloan!
5 Steps to Succeed:
1. Specify – what you want to do in life, what you want to deal with.
2. Believe that you succeed in this (pt.1) and be persistent.
3. Find people with whom you feel good and are interested in what you do.
4. If you are surprised by the crisis, do not give up and do your thing. Every crisis passes.
5. Support others in their dealings. In the group is strength!
If you are interested in second part of an interview see “Valuable tips“.
What are your thoughts after reading the interview with Annie Sloan?
And what do you think helps you grow your business or blogging?
What factor helps you the most?
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*fot. press resources by Annie Sloan