Say No to Nay-Sayers

April 17, 2024  | 

All I wanted to do was paint some furniture for my home using chalk paint, with an added incentive to earn extra money for my three young adults to attend college. I wanted to be that support system for them while they were pursuing their goals in life. At the same time, I was pursuing a goal for myself, and it was coming to fruition.

I sold my first furniture piece in January 2017, that sale catapulted me into a full-fledged business. There I was selling refinished furniture on Facebook at break-neck speed. And so it began, my journey into a business that as I have often heard was not a woman’s job, only men have success in the refinishing business. December of 2017, I took a leap of faith and a big leap it was. Branching out I designed my first kitchen; I had no understanding of how to set a price to refurbish a kitchen. I had to work out what was too high of a price and what was too low. I knew I had to factor in time spent re-working the cabinetry or furniture, pricing of products, travel, removal and re-installing the finished product.

I knew from the beginning of this new endeavor I did not want to pursue Chalk painting. As I began my pursuit of researching various products and different techniques that would yield the best results, it meant hours, yes even days on end of finding the best, most efficient methods. This meant trial and error, I was driven to stay the course in humility, while building on my confidence. There were many pain-staking hours and days of experimenting and testing of products was the order of the day as I aspired to present a finished product second to none.

I worked with paint rollers and paint brushes. This took time as I desired to achieve what would yield the best finish, the best look that would be pleasing to the client, and that would also give me the assuredness I was doing quality work. As I endeavored to work efficiently and to the best of my ability, it caused me to work harder. Not for any notoriety but because I wanted to exhibit to a male dominating profession that it was possible for a woman to be successful too. With this in mind, I was eager to exhibit that both male and female can put forth authentic workmanship. No competition necessary. It doesn’t have to be only men who can do certain jobs. Women can also flex their creative muscle, not as a threat, but as an ally. Men and women are able to compete with the same strength and dignity.

As time marched on there were many obstacles. The first obstacle was the workspace, how to come in from the outdoors after sanding each piece. Then it was a parade from the outside, bringing the furniture pieces ready for finishing touches into my family room. This became my makeshift work space for three years; it wasn’t ideal but it gave me the functionality I needed to keep my business flourishing. The next challenging obstacle was investing money that I didn’t have to purchase tools and supplies. This was a big issue as requests for refinishing furniture and kitchens came in like a flood. As I started to receive more requests and appointments, and secure the job, I was able to put money aside for the business that was growing in leaps and bounds. I was excited because it allowed me to transform my two-car garage into a proper, fully functioning workshop. The new shop required heat, insulation, air conditioning, a dustless system which included a down-draft table which kept the dust to a minimum and lastly humidity control all of which is vital for refinishing the product. As I was forging ahead I was still meeting with the skeptics and negative chatter. I was determined to push past the ramblings of the doubters trusting all will fall into place.

Time was a big sacrifice. I have always been a cheerleader for my young adult children. When they were in college, I would be committed to being at their soccer or baseball games. Finding balance between my young adult children and their activities as well as my clients was a constant state of adjustment. I learned the art of time management and time limits. This allowed me to recognize how to be effective as a mother and as a business person.

As I continue to hone my craft I am spurred on by the favorable comments I receive. One that is my favorite is “This doesn’t look like it was done by hand or painted, it’s smooth and no brush strokes, it looks professional.” That’s what keeps me going, another area that keeps me going is my cabinet refinishing group. We teach and educate people how to refinish cabinetry. I am still teased about my choice of technique, but I wouldn’t change a thing. This group encourages me to become more confident and better with the quality of work I put forth.

Even if we have been doing something for ten, twenty, or thirty years we are to be approving of each other. We are to glean from others in this “Not for male only industry,” women do have a place here.

Be open to new ideas, new concepts, be teachable and pliable enough so that the nay-sayers will fall silent.

This may seem strange to some, even negativity can create a place too; I know it helped me. My faith and trust in God has been my mantle, He has ordained my steps and has been with me the entire time of this journey.

Get out there stretch yourself, push past the protest, be brave and trust the gift that has been bestowed upon you. I can attest it will yield a bounty of fruitfulness beyond your wildest imagination.

What are you waiting for? Ready, set, go!

This is a contributed blog post by Maria Viveiros Ferreira, a Cabinet and Furniture Refinisher. Her passion is to help clients bring their vision to reality by providing quality work. She loves to see the smiles on their faces when she is completed with their kitchen or furniture. Maria is a wife to George and mother to 3 adult children, Tyler, Lillie, and Aaron. She loves her church and helping people in need. She is a strong believer in her faith and attributes all her gifts to God. In her spare time, she loves to take nature walks with her husband George and her 2 rescued dogs, Tucker and Cooper. She loves to rescue dogs, especially the ones that are overlooked because of age or health issues. When she’s not working or going for walks, she enjoys spending time tending to her flower gardens, cooking, and baking.

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