Shabby Duck Studio began as a home based business in 2013 and opened their bricks and mortar store in 2015. Joining us on the Sustainable Home Hub, their second store in Busselton opens mid-July. Their furniture paints are all safe and easy to use. They contain little or no VOC’s and because they don’t need sanding, there is no risk of hazardous paint dust in your home, or on yourself.
Owner Monique, is a former high school teacher and college lecturer. After her retirement from teaching, she took up furniture restoration again and focused on improving her skills and researching the latest products for this craft. “I lived in the USA for 10 years and learned a lot there about techniques, products and especially customer service. I visit the USA every 18 months to catch up on new products and source vintage items for the shops” she says. Monique has been artistically inclined since she was a child and studied art later in life. She loves to travel and seeks inspiration from this wonderful world of colour in which we live – from painted homes in Europe to the patina on ancient artefacts.
Shabby Duck Studio started by accident. “I saw an old empty shop, decided I needed somewhere to retail the furniture I had collected and it grew from there” remembers Monique. “Sharing anything artistic moves me. My husband supported the start up, and I began sourcing beautiful things to accompany the different styles of furniture I create. My customers are my greatest inspiration – they have amazing ideas!” she says.
While painting furniture is hard work, especially when you are constantly bending and twisting yourself in knots to reach awkward places, Monique has developed practical techniques that make painting less strenuous and more user friendly. She teaches these during her furniture painting workshops. “Health and safety is very important to me” she explains. Her own home is full of upcycled furniture and many of her customers have come to appreciate how old, tired and outdated dark furniture can be transformed economically, safely and easily instead of taken to the dumpster. “Many older and antique pieces are beautifully constructed and designed. We save the craftsmanship that’s gone into older furniture and bring it back to life” shares Monique.
Monique’s tips for a more sustainable home
- In regards to updating home decor, take what you have got and upcycle it into something new.
- Paint changes everything….and you can always change paint!
- If you’re wanting to save furniture as I do, do your research and speak to people in the business.
- While there are hundreds of groups on social media that are there to ‘help’, amateurs give amateur advice and you get amateur results. Talk with someone who is experienced, has made all the mistakes you could possibly make and learned from them and who is willing to share their expertise with you.
Running your own small business is not easy and Monique says she wears many hats! “I have to prioritize my day carefully to cater for everything a business needs. I do our marketing, design print and non-print advertising, consult with marketers, suppliers, shop for the shop, be a shop lady, consult with clients, clean everywhere, and paint!” she says. All of this requires a lot of energy and a strong belief in one’s own talents as well as ongoing self-teaching. You have to know more than just your product to be successful.
Many people paint furniture and Monique encourages them to do so. However, painting at a professional level she says, is a different ballgame altogether. “When people see my work they comment on the finish, the design and quality…and sometimes on the fact I am a ‘little bit out there’ when I create Bohemian pieces!” she says. “I guess I must be doing ok…we have been featured in local magazines and newspaper articles and have some great testimonials which I am usually quite humble about”. One of her favourite pieces is a chest of drawers she applied a transfer to, then hand painted the transfer. “It took me hours. I must have been crazy!” she laughs.
Along with sourcing and painting furniture, managing her stores and running classes, Monique likes to get out of the house as much as possible. She loves to travel and that’s when she truly feels she gets a break. “At the end of the everyday, I read, chat with my husband and cuddle the furbabies” she shares.
You can find Shabby Duck Studio on the Sustainable Home Hub and follow through to all of the links and information. Interested in adding your business to our growing Hub? Head here for all the details