Agness Meehan moved from Poland’s Swinoujscie Uznam Island to Ireland 16 years ago. Agness lives on a dairy farm Crusheen, Co Clare, with her husband JJ and their three children.
“For the last 10 years I owned a specialist hair extensions salon in Limerick.
“When COVID came I had to close. And that is how my new business started.
“I painted an old piece of furniture in a small shed at the back of our house. My daughter really liked it and asked if she could have it for her bedroom. I then painted some more pieces and really enjoyed doing it,” Agness says.
After painting and decorating a number of old tables and chairs, Agness posted pictures of her work on DoneDeal and other online market places last year.
And although her recreations were becoming increasingly popular, Agness found the work quite laborious. Seeking an easier method, Agness set out on some online research.
Back to her roots
“The start was not easy. Everybody online was talking about chalk paint. I bought it – and a lot of other paints – but I was tired of sanding and waxing furniture to make it work.
“I started asking people from all over the world ‘What is the best paint?’ and I was told to try New Colours acrylic paint, from Poland. The work became so much easier with that paint,” she explains.
Agness started to import one pallet of the paint from Poland, which would change her business’ dynamic again.
“At the end of January 2020, the paint company owner asked if I wanted to sell the paint for them in Ireland. So I said I would try it. It took about five months to find the best cost of bringing the paint to Ireland and to test the paint in Irish weather.”
It is still hard work, but nothing in comparison to driving 35 minutes to Limerick every day
Now the European distributor for New Colours paint, Agness is busy balancing her beloved furniture renovations; with managing and dispensing customer’s paint orders and motherhood. But she wouldn’t change her new-found career for the world.
“It is still hard work, but nothing in comparison to driving 35 minutes to Limerick every day. Between rent, traffic and paying a child minder, it was just too costly and difficult,” she says.
Proud of the hairdressing business she has built over the last decade, Agness is delighted that her oldest daughter is now training in the industry and hopes that she soon can take over the salon.
Keeping it country, Agness and JJ (who helps after evening milking) are currently relabelling the paint tins, with a farm and rural Irish design.
And despite current restrictions, the self-taught artist extraordinaire is keen to share her love of decorating with others. Having very recently moved into her newly built home workshop, Agness plans to start online lessons in the coming months.
It has become so big so fast. Sometimes I find it hard to keep up
Agness is delighted with how far her new enterprise has come, in just one year. She is, however, well aware of the trials and tribulations of business life; and is prepared to make plenty more mistakes to keep learning – an attitude she encourages every entrepreneur to adopt.
“It has become so big so fast. Sometimes I find it hard to keep up.
“I didn’t have a lot of painting or refinishing experience, but I did learn a lot in my previous work about doing business with people. Through trial, research and lots of errors you will learn the do’s and don’ts of your business.”
Find Agness’ Vintage ReDesign on Facebook or Instagram.