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As Seen In The Paint Dealer
Fun With Faux
Feature from The Paint Dealer, August 1994
More than any other product or project, decorative painting allows dealers to sell the sizzle. Writers John Catalanotto and Greg Frohnapfel of Pro Faux Workshops urge dealers to share the public's enthusiasm for this growing trend in painting.

The Total Paint Market Includes the DIY Segment

The Classic - Rag Rolling Technique

If the total paint market includes the huge do it-yourself segment, then let's talk about how dealers can capitalize on this quality and service conscious group. Specifically, we are talking about decorative painters and the trend that is virtually sweeping the country. Decorative painting includes stenciling, tole painting, simple glazing, fantasy and faux finishing. Combine this design trend with that many homeowners enjoy doing projects around their homes, and remembering that painting is the number one DIY activity, and what you have is a perfect audience for that independent paint dealer. We already know that the mass merchandisers challenge dealers as a group to provide better service and higher quality products. Better service requires more than a friendly smile.
Today, educated consumers expect knowledgeable answers to their questions. If customers have been asking you about decorative painting, wouldn't it make sense to have someone in the store that could either answer the questions or find out the answers while the customer is still in the store? You will make more sales when your customer feels comfortable about starting her next home project, including answers to simple questions like:
  • What do I need to buy to prepare my surface?
  • What type of paint and glaze will work best for me?
  • What combination of bases and glaze colors will give me the color I want?
  • What simple techniques can I do successfully and economically?
  • Which clear finishes are suitable to protect my project?
  • Where can I find more information on decorative painting?

Free Booklets Will Help Customers!

Stenciling and faux finishing are used together more and more.

Take the time to browse through any of the free booklets put out by companies like Pratt & Lambert, Benjamin Moore, Martin-Senour, and Wm. Zinsser.
When the retailer discovers how fun and easy the glazing process is, it is much easier to tap into the customer's enthusiasm for decorative painting. At the same time, dealers stand to increases sundry sales, develop customer loyalty, and promote very good "word of mouth" advertising. When a customer feel good about service, a project, or successful project, they are much more likely to tell others and return for future projects!

In the past few years, many books are written about faux finishing. Many of these books are written for the home enthusiast and are a great resource for the homeowner and dealer alike. They stress the importance of sound surface preparation, cover the materials thoroughly, and are very "technique oriented."

The most popular books make numerous references to the use of quality specialty brushes, such as those distributed directly to dealers by Loew-Cornell Inc. To our knowledge, Loew-Cornell Inc. is the only brush company to introduce a specialty tool and brush line with the DIYers in mind. This is no accident wither, since LC is a virtual giant in the multi-billion dollar craft and arts industry. To date, other manufacturers of these specialty brushes have focused only on professional painting contractors.

This new generation of tools (Cadet Series by Loew-Cornell Inc.) however, are miniature versions of the other fashioned tools. This means that they are much less expensive and much easier to use for the amateur and professional working on smaller projects.

And Loew-Cornell isn't the only company that sees great potential in the DIY market. Take a closer look at Wm. Zinsser Co. these days and you'll find out that they're not just a stodgy old primer manufacturer any more! Zinsser expects to take the led in the decorative market by introducing both alkyd and latex Blend and Glaze Liquids that actually work as promised. Their new generation of glazing liquids is designed to intermix readily with current tinting systems and house hold paints. The new product labels are so colorful and artistic you can't help picking up the container to inspect it more closely.

Zinsser has also produced a free full-color booklet designed to support the dealer by cross-selling related products, and educating the home owner about simple faux finishing techniques that are easy enough to do on wall areas.

Sherwin-Williams Plans Decorative Painting Center

Compelling evidence that decorative painting is here to stay is the fact that The Sherwin-Williams Co. is planning a Decorative Painting Center which will feature all of the necessary faux finishing items for the home owner. When a conservative company such as Sherwin-Williams decides to jump on the faux bandwagon and stock over 2,000 stores, you know it is going to be big.

Decorative painting has grown so much over the last decade that entire organizations such as Stencil Artisans League Inc. (SALI) have really blossomed. Originally founded in the late 70s as a small group of women stencilers, this organization boasts over 1,500 active members primarily from the United States, but also Canada, South America, Australia and Japan. Over Half of the educational programs offered at this year's national SALI Convention in Pleasanton, CA. this August are concerned with various types of faux finishes for the novice, experienced craftsperson... and yes, the seasoned painting contractor.

As a decorative painting school, we have taught many students from this organization, and conversely, many of our students have joined this wonderful network of sharing decorative painters. It is through educational organizations like SALI that faux finishing is being rediscovered and enjoying a vigorous growth.

DIYers and craftspeople should be a big part of your focus if you want to capitalize on selling these decorative products. It is evident that DIYers have been seizing many of our opportunities previously reserved for the professional painter. Seventy percent of Pro Faux's students are non-painters, despite the fact that we advertise more heavily in the painting contractor magazines.

Home magazines, television news sets, talk show sets, decorative show houses, and all types of product packaging have been featuring faux and fantasy finishes over the past few years.

Retailers Can Capitalize on Sundry Items!

From the retail perspective, it is true that the actual quantity of glaze used for any given project seems very small, but remember that greater sales can come out of it more for you. Sundry items, preparation products, primers, base paints, clear coats, and tools are a big part of the decorative painting picture. Intangible benefits include the immeasurable excitement and good will you create by providing the attractive products and services so vitally important in today's competitive total paint market.

For example, The Flood Company, makers of Penetrol and Floetrol, thrive on filling the needs of several niche markets. Flood receives many calls regarding faux finishing and distributes the paint conditioners preferred by top faux artisans.

When your customers start to discover the limitless creative possibilities achievable with paints, colored glazes and a few specialty tools, they will discover a new appreciation and zest for home decorating projects.

Possibilities include a vast array of texture impressions, infinite color and value selection, and - for the truly skilled decorative painter - an uncanny ability to deceive the eye by mimicking various woods, marbles, and other natural materials.

Few things come close to the feeling of pride and satisfaction which results from a job well done. Whether it's successfully retailing the variety to decorative products available today or having your customer create a master piece at home, faux finishing will be a win-win situation for paint dealers and their end users.

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