Hey ya’ll, I feel like most of you know me but many have followed 44 Marketplace lately, so I wanted to introduce myself and give you some background on me.
First, I don’t have any type of formal art training or special education for what I do. I simply fell into this life and found that it feeds my soul. I can’t believe that each day I am lucky enough to get to do this for a living. But I did say I was going to give you some background.
I have done many interesting things in my life, but I trained to be a computer programmer. It came easy to me and I loved it, at first. Ultimately I found it to be too calm for my liking, so I tried other things that would allow more interaction with people, although none were related to art.
I have had booths in antique malls for years and have always thrived on the thrill of the hunt. I loved buying old things and reselling them, or shopping at the mart in Atlanta and retailing the products I found there. About 10 or 12 years ago, my husband and I were buying abandoned storage units and selling those contents as a side hustle for the fun of it. We had a booth in a cute mall in Eatonton, GA, and we loved it. That mall closed suddenly and we decided that we could run a shop with an antique mall setup and found a location. I knew the location had been vacant for a while and I called the owner.
I told him that I had a GREAT idea, but really no money to fund it. He told me to keep talking. We agreed that we would rehab the store and sell some things for him in lieu of a deposit and rent would be determined as the store spaces rented. My husband is very talented, there isn’t much he can’t do! That was the beginning of 44 Marketplace.
Back then we both had full time jobs and paid someone to work at the store all day. When we got off work we would do anything that needed to be done there and I would do the bookwork. Guess what, soon the marketplace filled with vendors and I got to sign an actual lease! Six months later I quit my job to work full time at 44 Marketplace, but I couldn’t earn a salary from it. That would have to wait. My husband’s job, and my side hustle would have to pay the bills. One day while I was at work at the store, Suzanne Fulford called and asked me if I had tried her paint, Dixie Belle Paint. I hadn’t so she remedied that. Within a week, I had purchased the full line of Dixie Belle products, which at the time was 23 colors 2 topcoats, and 9 glazes, lol. I painted my first pieces (for displaying the paint) and taught my first class within a month and I was hooked. I loved it. I wasn’t that good at it but I wanted to paint everything I saw! I was #inspired!
I live in a very rural area and love the country setting, but that also means there’s not much population density. Growing our business was going to take a lot of hard work. Our community is amazing and before long people asked to purchase my display pieces so I painted more pieces. There was a lot of trial and error, but I worked hard to learn how to accomplish every finish I saw. Within the next year I began to receive custom requests so I hired someone to work at the store part-time. Then a sweet friend asked me to paint her kitchen so she could put her house on the market. She liked the kitchen so much she kept the house! And that’s how my cabinet painting began! She told people and I posted pictures and more people wanted their kitchens/bathrooms painted. My husband, who has always supported my crazy ideas, agreed to join me, full time, 2 years ago and it has been so much fun!
Many have asked what prompted me to begin my online videos…….so here’s what started it……….In one creative learning group I was a part of, someone posted a fabulous finish and many of us asked how to accomplish it. The answer given was that it was a very complicated finish (but no details on the finish), which said to me that they didn’t think we had the skill set to accomplish the finish. At that exact moment I decided that I would break down every finish that I could so that anyone could accomplish it. No one knows what anyone else is capable of. I feel that God gave me this talent, because I have never been artistic before. Gifts are meant to be shared with others. That’s when the Facebook LIVE videos began. No one even seems to mind my thick accent, lol.
Fast forward to the present. My husband and I now do customs and kitchens primarily, but we do have 44 Marketplace and 3 other booth locations. In 2019 I began teaching 3 Day Boot Camps to other talented artists, teaching online courses, co-founded the Belles and Beau Tour, and began working with national companies like SurfPrep Sanding, Signopoly, WooduBend, Apollo Sprayers, and D Lawless Hardware. I have also been featured in a few local publications and spoken to several local women’s groups.
I am now part of such a tremendously supportive creative community! Talented artists and business owners that I greatly admire are people I am lucky enough to call friends. To say that I am blessed is an understatement. While it is a lot of work, what we have accomplished is more than I ever could have imagined. Our children joke that we work 80 hours a week so we don’t have to work 40! But creativity is both very rewarding and freeing to my soul! NONE of it would be possible without the wonderful customers and followers locally and on social media.
I said all of that to say this, if I can do this, anyone can do this. Don’t doubt your ability. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to do! Step out of your comfort zone. It can be life-changing and so amazing. Be #inspired every single day and if you ever need help with anything, remember I am just a text or phone call away.