Homestead House Paint Co.’s Humble Beginnings
When mom and pop team Loree and Scott started Homestead House in the late ‘80s, there was no way they could predict the growth into the booming business it is today. Beginning as a reproduction furniture company, they saw an opportunity with the demand consumers had for milk paint; the idea to supply paints themselves seemed a natural step.
In 1989, they manufactured their first line, an all natural powdered casein based paint, better known as Milk Paint. Milk paint creates fabulous, highly versatile finishes, but it’s not the ideal option for all projects. To satisfy this demand they developed a premium quality oil and acrylic range, which meant they could offer products for all possible applications. Beginning with a dozen colours, the selection more than doubled to 32 within a few years.
Each colour card was hand painted on avery stickers, then peeled off and applied individually. Jennylyn still remembers the hand painted colour cards hanging from a string drying in the hallways of their house, sitting around the dining room table with her grandparents making colour cards!
Things moved quickly, their products arrived in big box stores, but with expansion came growing pains. Once in a while there would be a newspaper article, or magazine article where Homestead House was featured, however, competing against large companies with extensive marketing budgets versus their hand-mixed products with only word of mouth marketing was a challenge. In order to keep the business afloat, Scott and Loree simultaneously worked full time jobs for extra income to assist with maintenance and growth.
The family was constantly considering the question of packing it in. They loved the business and believed in their products, but was the amount of sweat and tears worth it? Their daughter Jennylyn answered that question with a resounding yes! Having graduated with a BA in Contemporary Studies, not to mention the decades of experience growing up surrounded by and helping out with the family business, Jennylyn requested her parents give her a shot at the helm to see what she could do. It turns out, she could do quite a lot.
The whole family is very hands on, and being no exception, Jennylyn applied her listening skills. She travelled across North America to talk to clients in person. What she heard was an increased interest in eco-friendly products and so started the development of a zero VOC line of interior paints. Networking with green initiatives and businesses, she persisted and managed to increase the company’s position on the paint map.
The real buzz came after a chance discovery of an American blogger, Miss Mustard Seed. A client mentioned her to Jennylyn, suggesting she’d find her interesting. Not putting too much thought into it, Jennylyn jotted the name on a sticky note to look up later. When she did she was blown away with Miss Mustard Seed’s blog, photography, and perspective as a mother doing something for her family.
Off went a box of samples, thinking best-case scenario would be a mention of Homestead House Paint Co. in a blog post. What resulted was something much more; a collaboration to create a bespoke line of Miss Mustard Seed paints. Despite being Homestead House Paint Co.’s first private label venture, they were able to go from conception to store shelves in under six months. Within days of Miss Mustard Seed posting about her line, 40 retailers were onboard. By release the line launched in 95 stores across North America and Europe. This number has since grown to just over 300 and expanded continents to include Australia.
Despite evolving at a rapid pace with changes in colours and product ranges, something that never changes is quality. Homestead House is continuously innovating and improving their superior product development. Consistently rated the best amongst professionals in the industry, their reputation speaks for itself. No matter the struggles the family faced, quality was never compromised, even if it affected profit margins, quality was always priority and continues to be.
Homestead is thankful for every loyal customer who has stayed by their side over the years, and look forward to many more to come! Stay tuned for the next post of the behind the scenes of Where We Are Now, and the final, most exciting part of this 3 part series, Where We Are Going!