They feel the most at ease when they’re in sweatpants, hair up, and with a paintbrush in their hands. Andrea and Dez Vienneau are sisters-in-law, who play and work together. They describe themselves as makers, who love taking something old and making it new again. The pair is making headlines for Reloved, their vintage paint line. Their product is part of the swag bags given to nominees and performers at The Grammys® in Los Angeles. Recently, Serena Mah sat down with the pair to talk about the exciting new development for their business.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Dez: We are family. We are married to brothers, Donovan and Duane. We do family dinners, vacation together, and we create together. It’s the glue that keeps us together. I feel like we are so lucky to have both. She’s my best friend and sister.
Andrea: It’s the best of both worlds and we worked hard to create a good balance. It’s smooth now because we learned some hard lessons about communication and once we made our relationship the priority, the business started to really come together.
Tell us how Reloved came about.
Dez: By accident. Andrea inherited a bunch of furniture and we thought we would flip it. We got to work and found it was hard and arduous. The priming and the sanding was crazy. We almost died from fumes from spray paint. Chalk paint was too expensive. We couldn’t afford it.
Andrea: I started researching. I have a background in chemistry and I thought what if we could skip some steps, save some time and just paint? I started experimenting with minerals and one day this huge shipment came to my house. 20,000 pounds of it arrived and my husband carried it all into the garage, in a suit. Once you get 20,000 pounds of anything you are committed.
Grit goes far! Don’t quit but change course if you need to. Don’t be combative, lead with love. We help each other.
So how did you get Reloved from your garage into retail stores?
Dez: It was a long process going from our garage to retailing in more than 40 stores but it was an organic one for us. We started putting a few pieces that we painted in a shop in Stony Plain and Spruce Grove. We made a connection with the owner. She was the first person to say I don’t want the furniture. I want the paint. Some of that furniture also, by the way, was built in the garage with my husband.
Andrea: She believed in us and gave us our first break. She’s special to us; she’s become a close friend and one of our best retailers. From there, it has been word of mouth and the quality of our product that allows us to continue to grow
It’s been six years and now your paint is in 46 stores across Canada. Why do you think it’s catching on?
Andrea: Because it’s easy to use. We all have something in our house that we can’t get rid of and we are attached to it but it’s ugly. This is an easy way and inexpensive way to give it, and your home, a new look.
Dez: It sticks to anything, just clean and away you go, just like that!
What does your first 60 minutes in your day look like?
Andrea: It’s all about the kids! I have four, getting them up and out is work. They are busy! Family always comes first. I don’t look at my phone. They have my full attention.
Dez: Take the dog for a walk, coffee, lots of coffee, feed the 3 year old, make sure her clothes are not backwards, inside out or upside down.
If you had to pick a single aspect that you attribute your success in business and personal life to, what would it be?
Are there any resources or an app that help you manage day-to-day and keep you organized?
Andrea: icalendar. I set alerts, and alerts on the alerts, for absolutely everything.
Dez: What? You mean there’s something besides post it notes?
We think that the world needs more Edmonton. We’ve got it all.
Dez you have two careers, as a journalist at CTV and this venture. How are they similar, different and how do you manage.
I don’t usually talk about them together. I love both but they are separate. It has to be. They are both creative but in different ways. Sometimes I wish there were more hours in the day. But hey, I love challenges. I’m lucky I have great support and Andrea and I have different skills that complement each other. She is the details person. I am the heavy lifter with a power tool and stickies everywhere to keep track of what’s in my head, all those ideas.
Andrea you have a big family tell us about them.
Four daughters! They are 25, 23, 13, and 11. I have the full experience from University to hanging out at the ski hill for the youngest. They are awesome. They make me want to be a better person everyday. Dez and I try to be good role models for our girls.
What’s your favourite thing about Edmonton?
Andrea: The people, hands down. It’s got a great energy to it. I love Leva; my cycling husband has me hooked. I love the winter and we try to embrace it.
Dez: Yes, the community of people. It’s a great network of makers, people who like to create. And we are lucky to be part of it.
Lean in, it’s better to be part of a team. Connect to the networks around you. Don’t be catty, the best relationships are the ones led by love.
If there was one thing you could bring to Edmonton from your worldly travels or life experiences, what would it be?
Andrea: We think that the world needs more Edmonton. We’ve got it all.
What are you currently excited about? What’s next for Reloved?
Dez: So excited about the The Grammys®! Reloved paint, wax and brushes will be part of the swag bags given to nominees and performers. It brings our product to a new level of exposure and the potential is huge. If a celebrity would tweet or talk about Reloved it would mean big things for us.
Andrea: We have lots of opportunities coming up because of The Grammys®. Reloved will also be part of The Mother’s Day Celebrity lunch. Then we head to New York. We’re moving into the US and the UK now too. That’s cool.
Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs out there?
Andrea: Grit goes far! Don’t quit but change course if you need to. Don’t be combative, lead with love. We help each other.
Dez: Lean in, it’s better to be part of a team. Connect to the networks around you. Don’t be catty, the best relationships are the ones led by love.
By: Serena Mah, former television journalist, who after 20 years in front of the camera decided to start her own business as a media and communications consultant. Serena’s connections with Reloved run deep. She worked with Dez for years at CTV and has been a personal friend of the Vienneaus for years. She considers them family.