Hello everyone, and happy almost weekend. I am thrilled to share this fun interview I did with Alison Winchester of CeCe Caldwell’s paints. Alison and I actually had the chance to meet way back last year in Washington when I was there for the Project CARE fundraiser. You can read about how much fun that was and about this amazing project for at risk kids HERE and HERE. Alison and I even drove back to the airport together when the fun was over on Saturday. It was great to catch up with her again, and this gal has been busy!
Some of the amazing retailers at Project Hope. Hint, Alison is the one with the arrow above her head….
Alison is not your typical American. Quite the contrary. She was born in England and as a young adult, moved to Australia to explore the wild west. Or England’s version of it! She worked in the hotel industry for several years. During her time in Australia, she met her husband, who was there on a pro Golf tour, he was also very well-known for his “trick Shot” golfing! They fell in love and married, while still in Australia, her husband received a job offer with Ping golfing and they moved to the Phoenix area for 23 years. As Allison says, they are both very free spirits!
At a crossroads in their life, kids grown, career changes…..Alison and her husband decided to move to Oregon, buy a bed and breakfast and start a different path for the 2nd half of their lives. They own “Custer House” in Seaside Oregon.
Alison said the previous owner was a descendant (not direct) of THE General Custer. Alison’s mother also told her it was bad luck to change the name of the house, so Custer house it still is!
Now for my catch up with Alison!:
GTC: When you move to Arizona and started your family, did you get started in a creative business too?
Alison: I have always been a creative soul. I was always trying to “make” something as a kid, building things, creating things. Always doing something to have a creative outlet. Even when I lived in Australia, I would buy old furniture and fix it up, redo things, give new life to something old.
In Arizona I had a little business of making decorative signs and things. I did holiday shows for many years. I was busy raising my children, and my husband was busy with his career. This provided me an outlet for my creative habits.
GTC: Fast forward 23 years, kids are grown, career change comes up and you decide to move, not just to another area of Arizona, but clear up to the Oregon coast!
Alison: I like the weather much better in Oregon. It is much more like England, and I really didn’t care for the heat. (23 years of Phoenix heat, ugh!, sorry to Phoenix residents…)
Quiz: Is this coastal Oregon or Coastal England?
GTC: What a change to open a bread and breakfast, and start “redouxing” furniture in earnest!
Alison: Yes, my husband jokes that he got to do what he wanted for the 1st half of our marriage (and trick shot golfing).
This person must have amazing core strength for this trick
Now I get to do I want to do for 2nd half! However, my husband could hardly wait until I let him start painting too. He loves it as much as I do.
GTC: When did you really decide to take off with your furniture redoing biz?
Alison: I was inspired by the recent arrival of Chalk paint to America. After seeing it online at other’s blogs, I knew this was something I could definitely do. I have my furniture in a couple of different shops now, coming up a third, and we have a room here at our Inn where I have my furniture and we sell CeCe Caldwell’s paints, (which by the way is made in the USA, not imported!)
Chest in Maine Harbor Blue, Desk in background in Simply White with Dark Aging Wax. Love that Maine Harbor Blue!
GTC: CeCe Caldwell’s is such a new company, but it has grown exponentially over the past year. How did you hear about it?
Alison: I had a great relationship with Anne Skougard, Western Distributor of CeCe Caldwell’s paints. (You can read about the amazing Anne HERE). Anne is really one of my heroes, for many reasons. When she joined forces with CeCe Caldwell’s I was so intrigued. A paint that is 100% natural, made here in the USA and I love the colors.
Look how much fun the table and chairs are in different colors!
I definitely knew I wanted to be a part of this magic. (my word, not Alison’s). I started selling it here at our Inn, now sold at several locations throughout Oregon. (List of where you can find some CeCe in Oregon will be at bottom of post).
GTC: Tell me some things you love about CeCe Paints and products
Alison: I love that CeCe paints are 100% natural, no chemicals, no fumes. I love that I can use them indoor all the time. The weather in Oregon on the coast can be very wet. If it is a really rainy day, it is hard to paint outside. CeCe Caldwell’s paints allow me to stay inside and comfortable and not have to worry about any harmful chemicals.
Alison is definitely enjoying painting this chest turned vanity inside! A can of Vintage White by her side.
I have three grandchildren that just live down the road from us. They are here all the time. I love that I can paint whenever they are here and not worry about what I am exposing them too.
Just tonight, my husband and I were making color charts for the CeCe Colors.
We had one of our grand daughters here with us. My husband was being goofy and put a thumb print of the paint on my grand daughter’s forehead. I didn’t think twice about the paint being on her. It washes off your hands so easily, and there is nothing in the paints that would harm your skin.
I love sharing these paints with my customers. I have sold CeCe paints to many people. I have never heard a complaint, or negative feed back. Not once. I have received so much positive feed back. People love that this paint is so easy to use. It is so wonderful to sell a paint that anyone can use so easily to change their decor. People love that is 100% natural, and they love the ease of it. I tell people that they can’t mess it up! If they don’t like the way it turned out, they can just paint over it again, or if it is still wet, they can just wipe it off! The most forgiving paint to use.
Look at those gorgeous colors!
GTC: What do you like about being a part of CeCe Caldwell’s company?
Alison: I love that my distributor, Anne Skougard is so very accessible. Always available to lend support, offer creative or business advice. Anne is an amazing teacher. I love the network of retailers throughout the country. It is wonderful to be a part of this group. Everryone is so helpful and so supportive of each other. People are wonderful about sharing ideas, paint recipes and supporting one another. It definitely helps to be able to network, and everyone is so supportive of the avenues available to us to do just that.
GTC: A lot of people have favorite types of furniture they love to paint, or styles (I love anything Frenchy looking, but this not about moi, it is about Alison). What do you like to paint?
Alison: I love to paint big hutches. If I can find them for a reasonable price, with lots of detail. They paint up so beautifully, and you can do so many different things with them. I did a pair of Adirondack Deck Chairs that I just love. I painted them in the Oranges and Teals. They look quite tropical. (wonderful for living in rainy Oregon!).
GTC: What colors do you love to work with and what sells well in your area?
Alison: I love Alaska Tundra Green, Young Kansas Wheat, Seattle Mist. I tend to go towards the neutral colors. I sell a lot of pieces and a lot of paint in Vintage White, Young Kansas Wheat and Santa Fe Turquoise. I think being on the coast and near the ocean, people are drawn to blues and greens that reflect the ocean.
GTC: So much fun to catch up with you Alison, hopefully we will meet up again soon!
Here is a list of just some of the places you can find CeCe Caldwell’s in Oregon. Contact Alison for more store information.
Custer House: 811 1st Ave Seaside, OR 97138, 503-738-7825
Alison sells furniture and CeCe Caldwell’s products at Custer House. She sells her furniture at “Romancing the Home” in Gearhart and coming soon at “Cottage Chic Creations”.
You can find CeCe Caldwell’s at these locations. Contact Alison HERE for more info:
Portland, cottage chic creations
Echo, Gathered Over Time
If you haven’t tried CeCe Caldwell’s paints yet, you are missing out! It is the most fun, eco friendly, colorlicious paint out there. Thanks again for stopping by.