Artisan Enhancements Retailer Spotlight: Lori Repokis, Country ComfortsAmanda Bachelder
In this Retailer Spotlight, we are headed to Michigan to meet Lori, the lovely owner of Country Comforts Market. Lori Repokis has been painting furniture for over 30 years! Originally, she learned the trade from her father who taught her the grueling tasks of filling holes, sanding and priming. Later, Lori used her skills to recreate trendy looks she wanted for her home, while sticking to a limited budget.
Although she’s always loved painting, Lori had not considered painting a career until several years ago. Lori tells us that when her once secure government job was hanging in the balance due to restructuring, it was time for a change. She headed back to school to complete her degree in business and marketing. During one of her business courses, Lori was tasked with putting together a mock business plan. We’re sure you can guess what that business plan included… and as Lori says, “The rest is history!”
At first, Lori sold her hand painted furniture and home decor at vintage markets. From there, she upgraded to a booth in a local antique mall. Lori says she loved every minute of painting, meeting customers, and selling her creations. In 2014, she made the jump and opened a brick and mortar shop Country Comforts in Romeo, MI.
Lori’s home decor style is reflected in her storefront. Lori describes her aesthetic as a mix of “Prairie meets Shabby Chic”. She loves the juxtaposition of rustic, chippy old vintage finds next to pretty delicately painted furniture. Repurposed items do not just reflect Lori’s personal style, but they are a lifestyle. Lori proudly states that you won’t find “new” furnishings in her home! Everything is vintage and/or reimagined.
Lori now shares her paint and faux finishing expertise in a series of in-store creative workshops. She offers a workshop that introduces students to most of the Artisan Enhancements and Nature’s product lines. Students are given an opportunity to experiment with finishes best suited to their own decor style. Lori schedules this workshop at least twice a month.
In Lori’s workshops, students complete two beautiful textured canvas boards. Students get experience using the color shaper to create raised stencil reliefs and layer several Artisan Enhancements products along with Nature’s Wood Stains.
A series of canvas art Lori has created features the Crested Wing Stencil. The series is a fan favorite at Lori’s shop! Lori finds that these canvases really peek her customer’s interest in the products, textures, and techniques. We were truly amazed and our inspiration soared when we first saw Lori’s wing creations! Lori is a talented artist! We are certain that her workshops are incredibly inspiring and informative!
Lori loves Crackle Tex, Fine Stone and VP Antico for the rustic finishes they allow her to achieve.? She especially enjoys layering VP Antico over Crackle Tex to create an old world, crackled plaster effect. Lori finds that most of her workshop students show up because they want to learn to recreate the same looks that she loves so much! She also has a handful of students who are starting furniture painting businesses and want to learn new, imaginative techniques to create beautiful custom finishes on the furniture they plan to sell.
Even if you don’t live in Michigan, you can still gain inspiration and training from Lori’s Facebook page! Lori invites you to check out her Facebook Live videos where she shares creative project inspiration!? Lori frequently includes products from the AE line in her videos! Be sure to like and follow Country Comforts on Facebook so you don’t miss out on these informative and fun videos!
Many thanks to Lori for sharing her story with us! We love learning more about Artisan Enhancements retailers, their creative backgrounds and what inspires them! If you live near Romeo, Michigan, be sure to pay Lori a visit at Country Comforts and tell her we sent you!