With this month marking FIVE years in business for Painted by the Shore, I'm sure we all have lots of questions to ask Kristina about how she manages to run her business in such a successful way. Luckily, I got to do just that! Be sure to check out our exclusive interview below to learn all of the AMAZING details about how Painted by the Shore came about, and how it continues on in year five!
Jenna Tiezzi: Where do you get your inspiration from when you start doing projects?
Kristina Lough: When dreaming up our projects, the first thing I ask myself is, would I enjoy this in my home? Or, is it a good gift for someone I love? Essentially, will this piece of art serve a purpose or bring a smile to my day? I pull inspiration from my surroundings, be it at the beach with our toddler or spotting a new type of flower at our local garden center. I'm constantly jotting things down & sketching; nothing makes my day more than when each design turns into a project that gets shared.
JT: What made you decide to start Painted by the Shore?
KL: Back in 2013, I was working as a full time Corporate Accountant & found myself desperately needing a creative outlet, basically to add a bit of color to the black & white world of numbers that I was in on a daily basis. Coincidentally, I had a side hobby in painting wine glasses, something inspired by my family's wine shop back when I was in High School. Interest grew in that glassware around the time that I was searching for an outlet & Painted by the Shore was born on 04.26.13. What started with craft fairs, Etsy & wholesale turned into creative classes after I took a marketing class in 2017, where workshops to build your brand was suggested. The rest is history!
JT: Since Painted by the Shore is turning five, do you have anything planned to celebrate?
KL: It's funny you asked this one because I've been brainstorming on what to do for a personal celebration! Running a full time business often feels like a 24/7 process & I love every minute, but often forget to at the same time prioritize myself & my well being. One thing I'm definitely leaning toward is a spa afternoon in my hometown & taking my husband/Cooper (our almost 2 year old) out for an afternoon.
JT: Out of all the projects you do, which one is your favorite?
KL: This has to be the toughest question yet because I love them all. But if I had to pick it's our stemless wine glasses. After nearly two decades of painting glassware it's such a natural material for me to handle & I think that comes through in our classes.
JT: If you got to go back and talk to yourself from year one, what advice would you give?
KL: While I like to think I'd go back & tell myself to start creative classes sooner, rather than discover that passion during year 4, in the end the timing may not have been right in 2013. So, I think instead I'd say to take more ownership of the business. Like most makers, I'm sure those hurdles along the way hit hard & there were definitely times I wasn't proud to be a small business owner. But the reality is it's tough & it's a huge deal that we made it half a decade with many more years to come. Today I own my business both literally & emotionally.
JT: After being in business for five years, where do you hope to see yourself in year ten?
KL: This one is a thinker! I would love to expand our classes outside CT by that point. At the very least in our neighboring states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island & New York. I get inquiries from other areas of the country, Florida in particular, inquiring on where they can take a class in their area. That's the most amazing thing in the world- to have word of our unique events spreading. I also see us having a physical space of some sort- most likely a warehouse/studio where we can store materials, train & possibly hold a few events.
JT: What is your next big plan for year five?
KL: The biggest plan is trying to find 2-3 more instructors by fall to help us out in other areas of Connecticut like Fairfield County. I'd also like to find ways to give back to our community, be it creating fun art events locally, or developing a scholarship for a future art major- I have a few ideas floating around my head right now. And lastly, I want us to get away from the presumption that we're a traditional canvas Paint & Sip business. We're here to shake up the creative class industry by giving it a dose of usable art projects that people want to enjoy on a regular basis. Our events are anything but traditional & I plan to continue adding new projects every quarter to keep it that way in year five :)