Monday, June 17, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15
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Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on June 12th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 14 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 14

Spotlight on: Simply Chic

By ZAC EZZONE

About eight years ago, Annie Looysen and her husband acquired a few pet finches and purchased a table to place the birds’ cage on. Unfortunately, the avians didn’t work out as pets in their 800-square-foot home, so Looysen painted the table and sold it on Craigslist for much more than she anticipated. 


UPCYCLING
Simply Chic owner Annie Looysen paints, stains, and restyles old pieces of furniture.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SIMPLY CHIC

Although the birds didn’t work out, Looysen’s passion for breathing new life into furniture persists. 

“Biggest thing I love is the end result,” Looysen said. “Even if I just paint a piece for the store, I love the before and after. It’s some weird high that I get.”

Looysen said she began drawing and painting before high school; however, she didn’t think these passions would translate into a career until she sold that first piece on Craigslist. Soon after, Looysen began receiving inquiries from customers asking her to paint, stain, and restyle old tables and dressers.

Looysen fulfilled these custom orders and sold pieces online and at the Deja Vu Antique Mall in Orcutt until opening her own store in Nipomo in May 2018.

“I really felt like I needed to showcase my furniture more and be able to put a face to the actual pieces of furniture,” Looysen said.

In her store, Simply Chic on West Dana Street, Looysen stocks pieces of furniture that she’s painted alongside a variety of other gifts and home decor products. She prefers selling locally crafted items, like the coconut wax candles made by Botanica 805 in Nipomo.

In addition to the items she sells, Looysen is beginning to offer workshops for people interested in learning how to paint and perform other activities. At the first workshops on June 6 and 8, attendees can learn how to make cards just in time for Father’s Day.

Despite everything going on at the store, Looysen said custom orders to paint, stain, and restyle furniture are still the primary focus of her business. She said she currently has two months of orders to get through, with each project taking a different amount of time depending on its scope.

“I think we’re going to have to restructure because I keep getting more custom work, and I hate telling people it’s going to take two months,” Looysen said.

Also integral to Looysen’s business is her philosophy of reusing and recycling old furniture that could otherwise end up in a landfill. Looysen said this mindset was borne out of witnessing a U-Haul truck drop off numerous pieces of furniture at a dump, which were then run over by a tractor and reduced to rubble. 

“It’s perfect furniture, but people don’t understand,” Looysen said. “It’s grandma’s furniture or mom’s furniture that they don’t want anymore and think nobody else will want, but there’s always people like me who want that kind of stuff because we can see the potential it has.”

Highlight:

The Central Coast Coalition of Chambers is holding its 11th annual Central Coast Business Symposium on June 13 at the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande. Reservations are required for this event, which includes a presentation from Firestone Walker Brewing Company Founder Adam Firestone and his brother, Andrew Firestone, who is the founder of StonePark Capital, a hospitality firm based in Santa Barbara. 

Staff Writer Zac Ezzone wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, mail, or email at spotlight@santamariasun.com.




Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

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