Emma's Written Submission

What did you do to overcome the adversity of 2020 this year?

At times during 2020, it felt wrong showing my enthusiasm for something as ‘unimportant’ as furniture refinishing. But we have all craved at least some normality; social media has become a metaphoric gathering place – and with so many of us turning our attention to redecorating and home-improving, my work has continued in earnest. I urged my followers to get in touch for help/advice with upcycling at home. I designed a prize piece, ‘Nurse in the Tropics’, and set up a raffle to raise money for hand creams for our local NHS staff, which I promoted across social media and in an interview on BBC Radio Sussex (totally out of my comfort zone!) – together we raised £2355, and hundreds of creams were donated. My work has given me both a creative outlet and a sense of community, which have carried me through the strangest of years. I’m hugely grateful.


Helena's Written Submission

What did you do to overcome the adversity of 2020 this year?

I have 3 teenagers with disabilities, autism and very high care needs. The pandemic saw us completely isolated from the outside world, from my work, their Doctors and mental health services. I started refinishing furniture from my garage. My children were cut off from their therapies which help them function and reduce their stress levels so I adapted their occupational therapy from exercises in a padded room, to cleaning and sanding down furniture with me which gave them the deep impact  release they needed. They progressed to completing their own pieces with decoupage papers and paint. They make moulds with hot glue, clay and resin which in essence is sensory play, again, another strategy used to help them on a daily basis. Refinishing furniture with them  has given us all a better relationship with eachother and it has proven to be the best therapy for all our health and happiness. 


Karen's Written Submission

What did you do to overcome the adversity of 2020 this year?

To me what bought me so much joy during these scary times was the happy photos I received from clients who bought my retro cocktail bars – nothing beats standing behind a bar serving drinks to family and friends who sit on the other side of the bar enjoying  cocktails. During these times with people unable to meet friends in bars or pubs it good to bring these bars into the home and share the experience with family and friends – I know I do cocktail cabinets but I found the fun factor is more with the bars – pretending they are Pat Butcher serving drinks. I get photos from customers saying it’s their daughters 21st and can’t go out to celebrate so inviting a few friends to sit around the bar with lights flashing  and parents making the cocktails and everyone dancing around the bar – brings me joy that I could help in a small way. I probably get the most photos from clients with them dealing with the lockdowns sitting by the bar making a cocktail with a family member or loved one and this makes me the most happy.


Nicky's Written Submission

What did you do to overcome the adversity of 2020 this year?

I had just signed for a studio so I could host upcycling my workshops when we suddenly went into Lockdown #1!

I took my workshop online and I ran my first 4 week course from my garage in May to 20 people in 4 countries!

I ran two more courses through the year, before launching a membership group for people who wanted to set up in business themselves.

I also created a new web shop for my Fusion Mineral Paint which gave the business a much-needed lifeline.

I’m incredibly grateful and proud of what I’ve been able to do this year but more so because it hasn’t just been about helping myself.

I’ve managed to support over 800 people through my courses, groups and videos through 2020 but actually they have helped me too – and helped my business survive and even take new directions despite the challenging times.


Shona's Written Submission

What did you do to overcome the adversity of 2020 this year?

In 2020 the refinishing industry received an unexpected boost. People were home and furniture was in demand. Many turned to furniture after losing jobs, for therapy or to change careers.

After being contacted by many for guidance I set up my members group to support others, creating a platform to share knowledge and experience.

The group is about all aspects of business- focusing on community over competition. It’s about bringing forward the next generation of professional painters, elevating the industry and setting new standards.

The group has become a family of 95 incredible people, supporting each other, sharing resources and developing expertise. Furthermore they are out there building the rest of the industry up too.

The group has helped people maximise their potential, achieve what they didn’t think was possible with many entering the awards.

Together we have transformed lives, built businesses and created a safe space full of positivity.