60 Seconds with Annie Sloan
On Wednesday 28th February chalk paint inventor and colour expert Annie Sloan will be at Fetcham Park for a special Q&A and creative workshop.
Chalk Paint inventor and colour and paint expert Annie will be telling her story about how she built a successful creative business from scratch. She’ll share details about her products and recent collaboration with Oxfam.
Following Annie’s Q&A there will be a series of mini-workshops including the art of mind-mapping and creative brain-storming with The Inspiration Space’s Liana Wilson-Fricker, ‘how to create a visual identity & styling tips for social media’ with Kay Prestney of Kinship Creative, mindful art with Ellie from Surrey Art School, and ‘Everything is Fine’- how to stay calm and the power of a digital detox by life coach Emily Hodge.
Space to Create runs from 10am-1pm. Tickets are £35 pp including tea/coffee and all activities, available at Eventbrite.
We spoke with Annie prior to her visit to Fetcham Park to find out more about her work, inspiration and advice for running a successful business.
FP: Hi Annie, we’d love to know what inspires you and fuels your creativity?
AS: I find inspiration in everything. It’s everywhere – in art, other cultures, pattern making from all around the world and nature.
FP: To what do you attribute your success?
AS: I feel that some of it is luck. I also strongly believe in following my gut feeling. I’d actually created my paint in 1990, but it really took off in the 2000s, around the time of the world bank collapsing. The recessions caused panic all over the world, making people a little more careful when it came to spending money. My paint helped them to ‘make do and mend’. They took their old furniture and kitchens and painted them instead of buying something new. People also began to buy second-hand furniture and painted this. Some of them even decorating a spare bedroom to rent out during this difficult time. Upcycling old pieces became popular and people discovered their own creativity. What I wanted was to inspire others to be creative.
FP: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
AS: There were so many challenges along the way. I don’t tend to dwell, once they’re over with I’ve forgotten them. The challenge is that nothing stays still. Fashion, life and retail are constantly changing. You can’t stay still.
FP: What’s been the most valuable piece of business advice you’ve received?
AS: I am someone who has a lot of vision, I know what I want to achieve but I am not always great at the day to day planning. My husband used to say, “concentrate on the shop and if we can make this work, everything else will work”. Another great piece of advice from my husband was “it’s easy to buy but hard to sell” and that has stuck with me.
FP: Tell us about your #25 Project…
AS: This was a campaign to celebrate the 25th year of Chalk Paint and to help to support local communities. I sell my products through independent shops and encourage them to work and celebrate their local community. The public were invited to nominate a local community space that deserved a transformation. I then had the hard job of whittling these nominations down to just 25 locations around the world, which were then transformed with my paint and products, by my fantastic stockists and their local communities.
FP: How did your recent collaboration with Oxfam come about?
AS: This is the best thing that has ever happened! Oxfam came to me in 2016 to discuss working together. They are based in Oxford, as are we, and they were looking for a paint company to collaborate with. We got together to discuss the project and it was lovely, from start to finish. We decided that I would travel to one of the countries that they work in, to see the amazing work that they do, and along the way I’d look for inspiration for a new product. In February 2017, I went to Ethiopia with a team from Oxfam. I had preconceived ideas about what I’d see but it was nothing like I had imagined. There was so much to offer – incredible wine, cotton, coffee and music! I came away with the idea of making a new colour and this was inspired by the work that Oxfam are doing with women farmers who grow onion seeds. The white onion head flowers are beautiful and the green of the stem is where I drew my inspiration from. And that’s how I ended up with Lem Lem! Every pot of Lem Lem sold will raise vital funds for Oxfam, helping people fight poverty worldwide.
FP: What advice would you give someone thinking of starting their own business?
AS: Passion is so important. If you’re doing something that you don’t love, it won’t be successful.
FP: What does the future hold for Annie Sloan?
AS: There are so many exciting projects and collaborations coming up! I think everyone is going to be very excited for what is to come.
For more information about Annie Sloan visit www.anniesloan.com