TLC Vintage Collection is the Central Iowa headquarters for Chalk Paint(TM) decorative paint by Annie Sloan! It's been fun building this business which includes classes, custom furniture painting, resale of vintage furniture and decor and much more. But being a former journalist, I do like getting some ink to spread the word about the business. So in case you missed it, check out this article from The Business Record!
AM THE ELBERT FILES: Painting her way
out of retirement
Roewe Piller, 60, has been preparing her whole life for the unusual business she
opened last year, TLC Vintage Collections.
Her Urbandale store mixes
high-end paint sales, furniture refinishing and adult education with a touch of
flea market from its location in the Sherwood Forest Shopping Center in the 7500
block of Hickman Road.
Janet Roewe (pronounced RAVE-ee), grew up on a
farm in northern Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University before launching
an eclectic career that took her to Washington, D.C., London and Switzerland as
a writer for Commodity News Service for more than a decade.
brought her back to Iowa in 1987 so she could raise her two children near
family. She worked as a legislative aide before Democrat Ed Campbell helped her
get a position as a marketing executive at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des
Moines, which led to a similar position at West Bank.
She started her
own insurance agency from scratch in 1995, specializing in coverage for
collector cars, while she built a full line of coverage for clients.
2007, she married an old boyfriend, Des Moines Register business writer Dan
Piller, and in 2010 she retired from insurance sales at the age of 58 with a
plan to work on her garden.
Instead, she found herself going to garage
and estate sales and buying kitschy items that she resold to a wide circle of
At one sale, Piller purchased a corner desk that she wanted to
refinish in a shabby-chic style. But she didn’t want to spend hours stripping
She remembered reading a blog about a type of refinishing
that didn’t involve the use of caustic strippers and which dramatically reduced
the amount of time and effort.
“The blog led me to Annie Sloan, a
decorator and inventor of Chalk Paint 22 years ago in Oxford, England,” Piller
“She and I emailed, and we got a kick out of it, because she had
been a young woman in London at the same time I was there, except she had an
all-girl rock band, called The Moodies.”
The correspondence led Piller
to Annie Sloan’s North American distributor, and in August 2011, she became the
Iowa retailer of Annie Sloan paints.
“This is great for Janet,” said
husband Dan Piller. “Jan has a real flair for decorating, and now she has an
outlet for it.”
By the time she retired from insurance, Janet Piller was
also a very smart businesswoman. She was able to launch TLC Vintage Collections
with no bank loans, relying solely on her own modest initial investment and her
profits from buying and reselling old furniture and other knickknacks at flea
Piller initially leased a booth at the Brass Armadillo Antique
Mall, where she displayed and sold her refinished furniture, while explaining
that others could do the same with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.
moved into an 1,890-square-foot store in Sherwood Forest on April 1 and has been
busy ever since.
“My philosophy is buy low, sell low and sell a lot,”
Piller said. Items in her store are priced from less than $5 to about
The paint is her real bread and butter. It sells for $36.50 a
quart. That seems high, she admits, adding that what people don’t realize is
that they don’t have to spend money and time stripping furniture.
wash it with soap and water, let it dry and paint,” she said.
sells Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint, which is another non-caustic, low-effort
way to shabby-chic furniture.