Chuck and Kathy Moore are successful business owners in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. They own The Country Cupboard, specializing in handmade, hand painted primitive country furniture. But they didn’t burst into business overnight. Here’s a look at how they got started, how their business evolved, and some tips for other painted furniture business owners.
It all started when Chuck decided to make a shelf for their home. Before, he had only cut out small things out of wood, like a pumpkin, for Cathy to paint for their home. But Chuck built a shelf–successfully, and Cathy picked up some paint at a local store, which happened to be Old Village Paint. They loved the finished product! Soon Chuck was building other furniture, and Cathy was painting it with OVP. Their business grew slowly. It was years until they opened a shop, and several more years until Chuck quit his job and began building furniture full time.
Tips & tricks:
I asked Kathy some questions, to learn from their success!
What are the most popular furniture colors your customers want right now? “Black, valley forge mustard, and the new England red. Several years ago it was village tavern blues. The number one color now is black.”
What piece of furniture is most popular? “When flat screen TV’s came out, we started to get a lot of interest in furniture for those. We adjusted our business to do special orders, some people want doors on these tables, or not, a spot for dvd players, etc. Our standbys are jelly cupboards, and anything that people need a custom size — everyone seems to have a piece of furniture they need that fit into a very specific place in their house. We let customers know on our website that the size of any of our pieces can be adjusted to fit their needs.”
What do you enjoy most about this business? “I enjoy working for ourselves, if we have to take a business trip- we can do it. I really like getting the furniture to the customer and hearing the feedback. We just got an email yesterday- from a woman who bought a piece from us in 2009 , and she wanted some shelves to match it. I remembered her. Isn’t that great?”
Kathy tells me with pride that everything they make is solid wood, nothing is sprayed, it’s all stained and painted by hand. And they take care of every part of the furniture building and shipping process. Chuck picks up the lumber himself, cuts and builds the furniture, they paint it, then pack it up to ship. They want to be sure it gets to the customer in perfect condition. This special care ensures they have great products, and their customers have noticed.
What is your process for painting furniture? “Stain, paint, distress, hand rub wax.”
What do you wish you had known starting out? “I wish we would have done this when we were in our 20’s! We never would have taken the chance back then, but when I see what we can do with hard work, and how we enjoy it… I wish we would have done it a long time ago . We started this in our 40’s. Working together- its wonderful. I say, the only way you fail is by not trying.”
Thanks to Kathy for sharing with us. Happy Painting!