Five years ago. A small town in Belgium. There’s a warm cup of coffee nestled between my hands and an irresistible idea brewing in my mind. The headline? The paint industry was prepped for a shake up … and I was going to be doing the shaking.
Within six months, Fusion Mineral Paint was born, and we’d launched a completely new brand of products across five countries and 50 stores.
Five years (and many 16-hour days, seven-day weeks, headaches, tears, challenges and laughs) later, Fusion Mineral Paint is in 1000 stores across 20 countries worldwide.
Except, well, it really wasn’t.
Getting here has been far from easy, and every day I am challenged. However, I’m forever thankful for the opportunity to build and grow my business, and I approach every single day with gratitude.
Because with challenges come lessons, and over the last five years I’ve had a lot of both.
But because you likely don’t have time to hang out with me for days while I walk you through them all, I’ve cut this blog down to the top five things I’ve learned over the past five years (with some fun tidbits you probably never knew about me and Fusion!)
Five lessons for business owners and entrepreneurs
Go with the flow.
(And, yeah … sometimes it’s going to feel like you’re swimming against the current.)
Fun fact: I almost named my company after toilet paper. Yep, no joke. For reals.
Fusion Mineral Paint was almost …
Cashmere Mineral Paint.
I mean, cashmere is soft, gorgeous, smooth – everything Fusion Mineral Paint is! But it was missing something. The durability, washability and hardwearing qualities that Fusion is renown for …
And which toilet paper was not.
It didn’t feel right. It didn’t flow.
So another idea was brought to the table: Fusing to the surface. Fusion.
Yes, that flowed!
And voila, Fusion Mineral Paint was named!
Looking back, I’m sure glad we didn’t go with Cashmere. Can you imagine the potential brand copyright issues there?!
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
(Even when the small stuff seems bigger than Mount Everest.)
Within a month of starting Fusion, I had ordered custom-printed, handmade color cards, true to print. They had 24 colours gorgeously laid out and looked absolutely amazing. The first delivery arrived, we swooned, and then waited for the rest.
And waited … And waited …
I bit my nails to the quick thinking about the huge amount of money I’d invested. When I finally heard back from the printer, it was a brief one-line email informing me that their warehouse had burned down.
I almost fainted. 10k worth of color cards … literally up in flames.
But instead of crying myself to sleep (okay, maybe I did a little of that too), I got creative and came up with other printed and less expensive options … which we still use to this day!
Plot twist: Months later, we get an email from the original printers, who had somehow found our color cards and salvaged them for us.
Keep looking forward.
(And don’t linger over what “could have been”. Instead, create what CAN be.)
Here’s a story I’ve shared with very few people. Several years before I created Fusion, I applied to become a Canadian distributor for a very large competitor.
It seemed like a slam dunk. I had a lot of connections, I had distribution set up and I had been shipping country wide within Homestead House Paint Co. for 20 years. We knew our paint stuff and saw a demand for their product.
But after applications and interviews, we were simply not the right fit for them.
So what did I do? I just kept going and did my own thing! Shortly thereafter, I helped bring to life the Milk Paint collection by Miss Mustard Seed, and then two years later I created Fusion Mineral Paint.
Because when something stands in your way, move around it and figure out another way to make your dreams come true.
Don’t give up on your dreams.
Be truly authentic.
(You’re a one-of-a-kind; Don’t resort to becoming a mimic of something you aren’t.)
The competition in any business is a tough one to manage! To keep your sanity as an entrepreneur, you must stay focused, stay in your lane, and be you.
You can’t pretend to be someone else or another brand. You have to offer what people want.
There are many companies that try to copy what we do. From our marketing, videos, product and even right down to the names, many of our ideas have been ‘borrowed’.
But what can we do? No one wants to be caught up in legal battles. That’s no fun for anyone involved (and super costly to say the least).
So I just stay authentic, create products that I know will be loved by my clients and that serve a purpose and a need.
And by being authentic, I truly LOVE what I do, which makes my job an absolute dream come true!
Don’t forget where you came from.
(Learn from the past, and the lessons it gave you, and continue to innovate.)
Having grown up watching my family run the family business for 20+ years, taking over the business was a challenge I was ready for.
The long hours, the months just barely getting by paying the rent … there were no luxuries. I do not forget this, and it wasn’t long ago that I was there.
I truly appreciate your hard-earned dollars, so you can be sure that when I create something new, whether it be a training program, a conference or a product, it comes with the expected high value and quality you deserve.
These values run deep in my veins and I give everything 150%. I care about people’s experiences and feelings and want to do anything I can to help make their lives easier, whether it be giving business tips, DIY paint tips, or just a good old laugh every now and then!
Because making it in business five years after that fateful morning at the kitchen table in Belgium, I feel like it still hasn’t hit me.
Five years – where did that time go?!
And yet, what I’ve learned over the last five years feels like a lifetime of lessons.
Which wouldn’t have been possible without YOU and your support. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping me get to where I am.
I hope to give back and share what I’ve learned through more blog posts and content. If there’s something specific you’d like to hear more about, just drop a comment and let me know. I read and respond to them all.
I hope to see you here again soon. Until next time, much love!