I am so excited to introduce Karen of Sweet Girls Boutique with you. Karen Remick opened her store in Warner NH early last spring and has been inspiring me with her amazing furniture ever since. Her eye for color and detail lends new life to old furniture, making them heirloom quality once again. She also does amazing vintage inspired signs using wood, paint, and metal. Karen is also married and a busy mother to two school-aged girls. If you want to check out her offerings she regularly posts on the Sweet Girls Boutique Facebook page.
- Describe your business – Beautifully recreated vintage furnishings and signs. I like to take things that are not beautiful, that are worn and unloved and make them beautiful again. I recreate old pieces to heirloom quality. They don’t have to be old, but they have to be solid wood. I do pieces for the shop and then I do many custom pieces for clients as well.
- How long have you been doing this work? Four years ago I started out of the garage. I started doing pieces and putting them on a Facebook group and they were selling pretty quickly. Soon I started doing custom work for people. I still have a hutch in my living room that I started for my house early on, but I have been so busy with stuff for other people I have never finished it.
- Do you consider this a hobby or a business? It started out as a hobby but turned into a business. I have always loved to paint. Any kind of painting: artistic, walls, furniture. It’s excited to paint a wall, like creating a whole new room. It makes you want to clean your house! My husband was thrilled when I started painting something other than our walls. He swears I put an inch of paint on since we moved in.
I remember traveling down to Amish country with a friend. There were so many little stores with painted furniture, I really felt inspired. There is also a place in MA that sold chalk paint, and I thought I could do that! I planned to make my house beautiful, but I have ended up making everyone else’s house beautiful.
- How do you work around your kids and their schedule? Not well some days. In the beginning, my mother in law would take the girls for the day so I could have a full day to work at my own pace. Then the landlord here talked me into opening eight months earlier than I had planned. Luckily, my littlest is very self-reliant, she is able to play by herself in the playroom while I work in the next room. We chat as I work and she loves to color and do puzzles. I try to work three days a week and then take one day to do something with kids. I didn’t realize how much time I spent cleaning up after my kids until I started working outside the house.
- What are the tools that you use? Paintbrushes and paint, stencils, napkins, waxes, and hemp oil. All sorts of fun stuff!
- Where do find your furniture? Craigslist and online mostly. People have been giving me stuff that they find at yard sales. Sometimes I go to auctions. I’ve had a few people give me things that they want to be appreciated, they know I will make it beautiful again.
- What is your greatest challenge? Time. It takes a lot of time to refinished furniture. I am only open three days a week because I need days at home to get projects done. I have to keep up with new inventory for the store and custom projects for clients.
- What has been your biggest win? Opening a store and finally having my own retail space. Seeing my name on the door still makes me giddy.
- Would you suggest that other mothers do this type of business? Yeah, it takes a lot of time, but if you are artistic its really fun. Just flipping a couple pieces in your spare time gives you a little something to build off of. All my products are VOC-free and non-toxic. I choose to do it that way so I could work around my kids.
- How hard is it to break into this business now? Not too hard, if you go slow and build over time. I think I am an average painter with a good vision.