Kim Metheny of Metheny Weir
Meet Kim Metheny, owner of Metheny Weir
, a decorative painting company on Larchmere Boulevard.
What is Metheny Weir?
Metheny Weir is a decorative painting firm that creates custom finishes and other effects for furniture, cabinetry and interior designs. My partner Sue Weir and I have worked in more than 150 homes around Cleveland and Northeast Ohio over the past decade. We specialize in creating signature finishes that transform drab objects into really special things. We recently also began doing workshops to teach our techniques to others and we are a retail outlet for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, an amazing new line of finishes.
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
I moved here in 1998 and was a typical Shaker Heights mom, but I was always interested in painting and refinishing furniture. Sue and I started doing projects around our own homes and, pretty soon, neighbors and friends were asking us to do projects for them. It grew into a part-time business. Now that our kids are all off at college, we’re expanding and growing. We’re taking on new projects, teaching classes and providing retail paint products for DIYers, which has really expanded our horizons.
Why did you start your business?
I had a passion for painting. And anytime you find a way to turn your passion into a business, you never really feel like it’s a job!
How did you come up with the idea?
After we began helping friends with projects, we started to meet interior designers, decorators, builders and others who liked our style. We’ve been fortunate to work in some really fine homes around the area for some remarkable clients.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
The biggest surprise was that there was a niche for us. We had no idea!
What resources/organizations here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
We began to study with other decorative painters and they taught us the latest techniques and what products to use. And I did the usual things like joining the Shaker Heights Welcome Wagon, printed cards and began networking at every event I could get to. We also networked by accident with other moms through PTA and school. You can’t imagine how many women hate their kitchens and walls!
Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
We’ve been fortunate to have fairly low investment costs to do what we do, but we maintain a line of credit, which was helpful when we recently expanded our business and launched our retail sales effort.
Where did you find your first employee?
We’ve always used word of mouth to help us find the fine artists and other collaborators needed to handle certain parts of our work.
Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
A neighbor on our street in Shaker convinced me to help her and insisted on paying me. I was a reluctant entrepreneur at that stage!
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Cleveland?
It’s a big town, but connections are relatively easy to make here. We’ve been able to partner with some amazing decorators and do work for a lot of well-known people largely through networking and recommendations.
What advice would you give to someone starting a company here?
To deliver what you promise, don’t stop the job until it’s perfect and believe in what you do.
Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?
The funniest thing to me is how many times we’ve brainstormed with a client and come up with a brilliant idea and then realized we had absolutely no idea how to actually do the work. We would get in our car and start screaming when we realized we had no clue how to create the look we’d just agreed to! But we always seem to figure it out. The trial-and-error is the fun part, actually.
What inspires you?
Funny you ask that because my blog on our website
is about that very subject. Places, things, images that inspire our color and finish ideas. Sometimes we’ll just take pictures of random things we see -- even the weathered tombstones at Lake View Cemetery. Inspiration is everywhere for us.
What companies or founders do you admire and why?
I admire Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They saw a need and had incredible passion and vision. I have to say that I’m also amazed at Annie Sloan, the woman who pioneered a lot of the field of decorative painting and created the paints we work with and sell now.
What’s next for you and your company?
As I said, we recently started doing workshops for people interested in learning about doing decorative finishes on their own. The response has been great since so many folks want to re-do cabinets or spruce up an old piece of furniture and just need some help understanding how the paint and finishes are applied. And the workshops themselves are fun! We have a "ladies night out" version and even a "bring your own chair" workshop where you leave with a completed project. We’ve been thrilled with the response to our paint line and we plan to offer Annie Sloan fabrics and other wares when they become available in the U.S.