Last fall, Anne Ranard talked her sister, Tina Anderson, and niece, Lisa Whitters, into going with her to Indianapolis to a furniture refinishing workshop offered by paint manufacturer General Finishes.
“Anne’s super creative and Tina and I have always supported and encouraged her,” Whitters said. “So we went to it and loved it.
“We got all fired up about how we could refurbish junk people no longer want and give it second life. We basically decided on the six-hour drive home to start a new business.”
They named the business Blossom and Birdies to reflect common motifs of their Bohemian heritage and set up a workshop in the pool house behind Whitters’s Shueyville home.
There, they update old furniture pieces with modern finishes and hardware or transform them into an entirely new use, such as an entertainment center that recently became a mini-bar.
“We started painting in October and selling stuff in November,” Whitters said.
The women initially envisioned a shop in the NewBo neighborhood — another homage to their family’s heritage — but instead started with an online presence.
They sell finished pieces via Facebook Marketplace and take custom orders via Facebook Messenger.
They also participate in outdoor vendor markets.
“We go through periods where we want to take it to the next level and find a space, but then we go back to keeping it in the pool house where it doesn’t cost as much,” Whitters said, noting that they are considering having retail hours at the pool house a couple days a week beginning this fall.
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With Ranard and Anderson working full time in other jobs and Whitters spending one week a month in Nashville, where she works as a songwriter, the women intend to keep the business on the casual side for the next two years until Ranard retires.
“We believe we can succeed if we go wholehearted,” Whitters said. “But for now we are trying to bide our time and keep it going.”
As they consider what Blossom and Birdies will become as a full-time pursuit, Whitters and her aunts have expanded the business’ offerings to include planters for flower and succulents.
“We wanted some flowery stuff before Mother’s Day, and we had some furniture pieces that were too flimsy to refinish, so we built planters into them,” Whitters said. “Then Anne found some old-lady planters on Pinterest and we decided to make younger, cooler ones.”
Each of the planters — which they call “pot heads” — comes with a name and a back story written by Whitters.
And just as their business was inspired by a workshop, the women are offering workshops to inspire others.
“We call them Blossom and Birdies Follow Your Muse workshops,” Whitters said. “People pay a fee, we supply all the materials and we make cool little projects teaching some of the painting or constructing techniques.”
The next workshop is scheduled for Sept. 29, at the pool house.
l Know a business in operation for less than a year that would make for a good “The Ground Floor”? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a Glance
l Owners: Tina Anderson, Anne Ranard and Lisa Whitters
l Business: Blossom and Birdies
l Email: email@example.com
l Facebook: www.facebook.com/blossomandbirdies
l Instagram: www.instagram.com/blossomandbirdies