The Annie Sloan Shop…My Little Day Out
As anyone who reads this blog or follows my Facebook group knows, I’m a big fan of Annie Sloan products and have been for some time. I’ve been restoring and painting furniture for myself and clients for years and anything that helps me save time and get the authentic vintage finish that I’m after is a welcome addition to my workshop.
As Annie Sloan Chalk Paint doesn’t need any prep this definitely falls into the category of ‘must use’ for most of my projects.
Well anyway, just recently things have really started to move along for Chicmouldings in the online department and in particular there has been a lot of growth in the Facebook Group that I started and now run with the irreplaceable assistance of my fab administrators, thank you ladies, you’re great! A lovely and unexpected benefit of building the group up into a great place to share inspiration and tips is that it has attracted a few high profile members that we value tremendously, one of which is Annie Sloan herself who has been on hand to answer questions and help group members with their queries, which has been brilliant.
I know it might seem odd to some but the Annie Sloan shop is a place I’ve wanted to visit for ever and as myself and Annie had chatted online a bit I thought it was about time to visit the shop and hopefully get to introduce myself in person and thank Annie for her contribution to the group. It’s something that’s not possible for those readers that live further afield so I wanted to write a little blog post about my day and hopefully some of you will enjoy reading about the experience.
Oxford is a lovely bustling town and is probably just the setting you would expect for a busy shop selling shabby chic furniture as there is a lot of history in the town along with small rivers and canals. Being a university town the inhabitants are a varied lot and bicycles seem to be the preferred mode of transport. With parking in town at a premium it’s not hard to see why!
Annie’s shop is exactly what you would expect if you’ve seen pictures of it on the internet. Having seen so many pictures of it online it seemed strange to finally be standing in front of it! What did amuse me is that in Annie’s new work book there’s a sketch of the shop, and in reality all the details are there, even the bike leaned up the wall out front!
What does stand out straight away is how nice everything looks when it’s there in the flesh. The Annie Sloan fabrics for example are so much nicer that photographs give them credit for, really pretty and of good quality. The shop itself is compact and well laid out as you would expect with all the paints laid out on a large dresser for you to pick. Anything not on show is generally available over the counter and the staff there are very cheery and helpful.
It was a lovely bonus that Annie made herself available to spend some time with me and I have to say she is a lovely and very helpful lady. The one thing that I naively hadn’t had occur to me is just what an artist she really is. Everything that we spoke about, Annie had an artistic view of and really helped me to appreciate what works well when putting a whole look together. I knew she was a canny business lady but it was nice to see that being artistic and passionate about creating a look was what she really gets out of bed for! We spent some time talking about her upcoming new book, one that I’m very excited about and also spoke about her upcoming travels and the expansion of the Annie Sloan brand. There will be some exciting developments for Annie and her team and I wish her every continued success.
I couldn’t leave the shop without buying some paint, so I left armed with a couple of tins of paint, a couple of cans of clear wax and a new copy of Annie’s work book (review to follow!). I’ll be blogging later about just how far the paint and waxes go and the uses for them so keep your eyes peeled for that in a future post.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my meeting with Annie and the trip to her shop. I’m sure it won’t be my last! and if anyone else has the opportunity to pop in I would highly recommend it. Just be prepared as you will fall in love with a lot of the furniture and fabrics, you could end up spending more than you thought!