I recently visited the “The Painted Pearl” in Whitstable Kent, the name itself conjures up a rainbow of colours…of course all Autentico!
As the UK distributor I like to visit all our stockists, I just love seeing their creativity and I’m always amazed at these fabulous businesses and their accomplishments. This wondrous shop is no exception and is run by Michelle and her husband.
Michelle stocks the full Autentico paint range, she teaches furniture painting classes as well as how to use the paint in your home. She’s a master in lime painting and the effects she creates on walls and canvases are just amazing. She also creates her own wallpaper designs using Autentico products.
I spent a great day with her and chatted with her about her business, so how did it all start? Like a lot of us Michelle’s business developed from a hobby, that was over nine years ago, before upcycling was a thing.
Michelle said “I started painting brown furniture for fun, I then started to research the best paint for the job and discovered a natural paint company called Autentico” that was the start of her journey.
Tell me more!…
How has the journey been so far?
“It’s been amazing! When I first set out in business I met a lady who said everyone should experience running their own business and I wholeheartedly agree! Having a job is nothing compared to working for yourself. You become much more rounded, find strengths and resources you didn’t know you had and your world view is much wider. I work in partnership with my husband now and we both agree that we have become more creative and utilise so much more of our potential. It’s been completely life changing.
What do you think the importance of small businesses are to the UK high street?
“Small businesses and usually independents are the future of the UK High street. I foresee more big brands operating online and rationalising bricks and mortar stores to cut costs. High streets will be places of leisure, community, entertainment and service – experiences you can’t have online”.
Why did you set up in Whitstable?
“I’m in the beautiful seaside area of Whitstable on the North Kent coast. We are known for having a very large number of independent shops and restaurants in our town and visitors flock here for that very reason. There is everything, fabulous butchers, bakers, greengrocers, amazing health food shops, lighting store, ice cream parlours, hardware shop, fabric shop, award winning cook shop, bathroom showroom, an incredible array of restaurants and eateries, it goes on and on and all independent!”
What do you think your customers like most about visiting your shop?
“I’ve put this question directly to our customers and the answers overwhelmingly confirm the adage that people buy from people they know, like and trust. Small retail businesses are part of the community and provide meaningful services to local people. We have a unique local offering and are knowledgeable and approachable. Furthermore, our entire shop is a visual wonderland. I like to think it’s a warm, inviting and a highly inspirational environment with a personal touch that no corporate or online enterprise can come close to. Independents have the unique opportunity to be retail flamingos in a sea of corporate pigeons!”… what a great quote!
Michelle has a wonderful shop full of inspiration and beautiful products…well worth a visit!