A mother of four from Northumberland has developed her own brand of specialist paint for professional and amateur furniture up-cyclers.
Sarah Weightman, who runs her Everlong “shabby-chic” furniture shop in Amble, has launched the specialist formula coating for use in the vintage furniture market.
Having previously worked in newspaper advertising, Ms Weightman turned her hobby in up-cycling furniture into a business, taking commissions from her shop on Mark’s Bridge.
She took her idea to paint manufacturers across the country before settling on a North East firm which has helped her develop the special non-toxic paint which is available in 23 colours – many bearing regional references in their names.
So far the range includes a dark blue called Amble Sea; a warm grey called Warkworth Castle and a vibrant pink, called Duchess – in honour of the Duchess of Northumberland.
She said: “I have my own business taking commissions to up-cycle furniture for clients and I’d used various different brands of paint, some of which were good and some which weren’t so good.
“But all of them had some flaws, and I realised I could do better. It’s taken more than a year to get the exact formula right and Everlong has been through a thorough series of tests to ensure it’s up to the job.
“It’s been left in the sunshine and even dried with hairdryers to see how it fared, and painted on to wood, metal and plastic.”
The new Everlong paint, which is child-safe, contains no toxins and complies with the EN71 safety standard. Ms Weightman has secured suppliers for the product as far afield as Holland and the US, and stocks the products in her own shop.
The shabby chic entrepreneur also runs free workshops for people interested in preparing their own furniture – which she fits around her family life.
People from as far afield as Edinburgh and York have travelled to Amble for the sessions.
Ms Weightman added: “Although the shabby chic concept has really take off and is now incredibly fashionable, it was something I originally got into because money was tight after I moved house.
“I began painting second hand furniture for our new home and people complimented it and asked me to do the same for them. It got to the stage where my reputation and hobby-job outgrew my day job and I made the choice to become a full time up-cycler.
“Renovating furniture is a great option to save money and create a classy look at the same time, plus it’s an environmentally-friendly and unique way to furnish your home.”
So far Ms Weightman has renovated furniture for a number of local hotels and the Black Swan pub in Alnwick, which her fiancé Michael runs.
She added: “It’s been a really hard slog getting the brand to where it is now. As well as carrying out every aspect of the design, formulation and launch of the brand myself over many painstaking months, I’ve had to manage the shop and the day-to-day tasks of a busy home. It’s been well worth it though and I’m looking forward to taking it even further.”