Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Strong.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lisa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
After finishing my BFA art-painting degree, I went on to pursue a graduate degree in art with no real idea of what I would do with it! I completed my MA-painting and taught Middle School Art for a year but quickly decided I wasn’t ready for teaching at that time and wanted to move to Colorado to try my hand as a professional mountain bike racer. In 2001 I moved to Colorado Springs and raced my bike professionally full-time. I did work part-time and so when that job ended, I had to figure out what to do next. I read an article in the local paper about different local mural artists and thought, “I could do that!” I called one of them and she mentored me to start my business. She taught me how to plan and paint murals and the basics of faux finishing. Within that year, I decided to officially start my own business in Denver while still racing. In the beginning, I raced a lot and worked very little… to this day I still race a little but now I work a lot! My business has transformed with the times and I’ve gone from mostly murals to mostly faux finishing (specialty painting) to now I mostly paint and refinish cabinets. I’ve always been an artist and painter but my business model has shifted over the years to reflect demand. The demand now for cabinet refinishing is crazy- we are very busy and take great pride in our work! Over the years, as my business changed, I ran crews of up to 6 painters but I prefer the structure I have now. I do the work with one assistant by my side-we split up specific tasks and complete the jobs together.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My advice for women starting a business is two-sided. On one side, I would tell every woman to just go for it and make it happen! I had no money and no business sense when I started. All my first jobs were free to clients on the hopes they would refer me to a paying client-which they did! So you don’t ALWAYS need the best plans to start a business. If you hustle you can make it happen!
The other side of my advice is to TAKE ADVICE and listen to smart business people. My business got better when I networked in my industry and learned what standard industry rates were for our line of work, and what expectations I and my clients should have. Go to a conference, take a seminar, join business groups. While you can start your business with just heart and grit, it’s important to use what resources are available. My best connections have been with other paint businesses and women painters across the nation.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Fresh Paint – what should we know?
Fresh Paint Specialty Finishes. We are specialty painters which means we can do anything with paint. We can create a fake “faux” wood grain effect, we can paint stencils on walls (like business logos), we can trowel venetian-type plasters on walls and ceilings. In 2019 we narrowed our focus to paint and refinish cabinets and handrails. I built a vented and filtered spray booth in my home studio and invested in the whole setup of painting cabinets (filter, vent, top of the line HVLP sprayer) and perfected our system of painting cabinets. No other process is more thorough than ours-we take every precaution to make the paint durable and beautiful! Some of the creative projects we’ve done over the years include making/painting trees at the Lakewood Library kids section, painting a black&white mural of flowers on a piano, and troweling a stenciled concrete runner on a staircase.
We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
In my industry, all of the so-called “Masters” are men. I never believed they were anymore skilled or talented, rather they just started calling themselves “Masters” and gathered followings. I’ve traveled the country taking classes and learning about products, and every class has been taught by a male. I wish, as women, we felt more inclined to stand up and be the leaders in the same capacity.
- Kitchen Cabinet Refinishing minimum $3500, average $3500-4500
- Handrail Refinishing average $2500-3500
- Address: 2354 S Lupine St
Lakewood CO 80228
- Website: www.freshpaintfinishes.com
- Phone: 3032771513
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: #freshpaintfinishes
- Facebook: Fresh Paint Specialty Finishes
www.wendywoodphotography.com (portrait only)