Welcome to our monthly small business feature! Willow Branch Boutique kicked off this brand new project to feature area small businesses and their owners right here in the Decatur, IL area and the response from business owners has been fantastic! We already have businesses scheduled to be featured through the end of the year and are now booking 2014 slots so if you’re a business owner in Decatur IL or other surrounding areas and would like to have your business featured on the SJP blog, complete with complimentary SJP images (ya, that’s right FREE!) please call/email me to get reserve your month.
Without further adu let me present to you the amazingly talented Ms. Elizabeth VanHoutan of Punch & Sizzle! I have to start by giving this girl a personal shout out because I personally LOVE what she does. And what is that? Well, in my words I think Elizabeth really brings the highest end art/style/design to the everyday people like you and me. She has worked with me over the past couple years to design and create one-of-a-kind custom backdrops (some featured below) as well as combining her portfolio with mine to allow me to create digital art work products for photographers to enhance their images: BoxDrops by SJP. Well that’s enough from me, let’s Hear from Elizabeth and see some of her work (plus, a peak inside her home where the magic happens).
The Details: Elizabeth VanHoutan, owner/artist at Punch & Sizzle and Paint Like Me Parties | In business: 16 Years / 11 Years in Decatur.
Hours: By Appointment | Location(s): Consultations and Installations on site and parties in YOUR home!
Tell us about your business… What do you do? I design and install surface treatments for all interior applications ( and occassionally exterior ones too!) Decorative finishes, faux finishes, poured resin countertops, murals, and handpainted details to name a few. I also create custom artworks for many residentail and commercial situations. I have recently started teaching others to paint abstract paintings with my new business “Paint Like Me” Parties.
What makes your business unique/special? I have a unique point of view– I am drawn to color, bold pattern, modern finishes, sleek design, bling-bling….I tend to shy away from Olde Worlde Style (although if the situation calls for that, I will do it!) I always find a way to put a unique twist on my finishes and artworks. I encourage my clients to decorate for THEMSELVES, not the next homeowners.
What item/service on your menu or in your shop do you just LOVE and think everyone needs? I believe that every room needs a ‘smile’…a painted quotation, a funky colored chest of drawers, a bold and chunky feature wall…..
In what way have you gone above/beyond in the past for a customer? I know that what I do is not brain surgery, but I do bring joy to my clients. And that’s the funnest part of my job! I take a tremendous amount of personal pride in helping others enjoy the spaces in which they live. I spend hours researching ideas for them and create a number of samples for them to choose from. It is my goal to provide the most up to date, interesting and appropriate finishes for each situation. I bid each project by the job, and if something takes longer than I expected, I stand by my pricing. I believe in good customer service.
What is the coolest thing you’ve ever had a client do for you? Send me to their vacation home by myself with instructions to ‘do what I do’….I think that speaks to the level of trust my clients have in my tastes and abilities. I have been to several vacation locations, which ranks as the biggest ‘perk’ of my job!
What tool/equipment/or other vendor could you not imagine doing business without? Why? I cannot live without Faux Effects International Products. They allow me to create high end finishes with their unique textural products. They also have amazing topcoats and base coats. I am very loyal to this line.
What other local business do you just LOVE? Why? I sell my paintings at The Perfect Pair in Warrensburg, but I also love to go in there and just look around at the ‘eye candy’. I always see things I want to buy!
I feel like I could not do my job without the helpful staff at Sherwin Williams. Whenever I have questions about technical things , this is where I go for answers and the correct products for each situation.
Tell us about YOU… WHY did you choose to do what you do? I fell into this career quite by accident. I have a degree in Interior Design and began my career as a Textile Designer. After getting married and having 2 kids, I found myself suddenly in need of a creative outlet that would also help support my family as my ex-husband had gone back to college. I offered to paint a harlequin patterned powder room in my friend’s stationary shop, one of her clients saw it and Voila! A business was born. I learned most everything through trial and error and then later, through taking lots of product specific classes for Professional Decorative Artists. I call this business a ‘God thing’, I’m not sure I would have found this passion had I not painted that first powder room.
When did you know you wanted to go into this business? I always knew I’d be an artist of some kind. I’m extremely visual and love Interior Design. I also get bored easily, so I love the ‘every week is different’ nature of my job.
What are you passionate about outside of your business? Fitness and Clean Eating, My Spiritual walk, spending time with my 4 daughters , I love writing fiction and have been working on a book I’m sure I will never show anyone for the last 6 years!
^^^ Anyone else shouting ‘SHOW US!!!” in your head right now because I am! Ha
Describe your PERFECT day… A workout, some yoga, a massage…followed by a fantastic lunch in a street cafe in some interesting location. Getting a manicure and pedicure and hair style (I spend most of my life covered in paint and in a pony tail, so my perfect day contains lots of pampering!) Shopping and a musical event would round out my perfect day! Of course I would be accompanied by kids and my longtime boyfriend!
SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS: If you’d like to have your business featured on the SJP blog please visit the following link to download the information/questionnaire form which you can email back to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are not booking for 2014 features and showcase one business each month. Your feature includes FREE 20 minute location shoot by Sarah Jane Photography, blog feature and images to use on your online spaces (facebook/website/etc).