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A spark of creativity produced a shift in vision for a budding female entrepreneur

By Brittni Henderson

There is most likely an old and run-down item in your home that has become an eyesore, or has, better yet, found a home in your basement. Whether this item is cumbersome and hard to dispose of, or it holds sentimental value so it’s difficult to part with, there’s a reason you’re holding on. Allison Trainor, 28, began refinishing items like this as a hobby, but just recently decided that it could be more than just a side job.

Trainor is a self-proclaimed “non-creative” person, joking that she never had the ability to draw anything remotely artistic. Even her penmanship was nothing to write home about. Although she felt this way about her creative side, she decided to give canvas painting a try near Christmastime in 2016. She came across a custom piece that she was dying to gift her parents, but the price tags were astronomical. Trainor thought to herself, “Hey, I can make this myself,” and went ahead creating her own design at a far lower price.

“This is what started the chain of new creative hobbies I taught myself,” she shares. “It started with canvas painting and knitting, and then these skills ultimately lead me to furniture refinishing.”

Trainor has created her own line of refurbished furniture called Shifted Vintage that she sells at different marketplaces in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She goes exploring for quality, solid wood vintage furniture with “great bones,” at vintage shops, thrift stores, and online platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Let Go, and Craigslist. At this point in her life, Trainor still works full time, so she can utilize this income to purchase furniture and the supplies needed to work her magic.

Entrepreneurship has always been in Trainor’s blood, and she realized recently that this hobby could become a lucrative business for her. It would not only be a way to support herself, but something she truly loves, as well.

“I always had the idea of profit potential in the back of my mind,” she says, “which is why I believe it is a hobby that I stuck with. The profit margins on furniture are a lot higher than that of knitted products and canvas paintings. It also gave me a new outlook on my career potential. I’ve been working in the corporate field for about 7 years now, and all of a sudden it stopped making sense to me. Every day, I rush home from work to pick up a paintbrush—I literally never relax! I started giving up my free time to ‘work,’ which made me realize that is not actually work for me, but my passion.”

As a way to additionally supplement this part of her life, Trainor is also a premier retailer of Dixie Belle paints. After trying different brands of paint, she found Dixie Belle to be superior not only in the quality of paint, but the extensive line of products. Trainor carries the entire line of products so she can acquire paint herself and to grow a customer base of other individuals in the business.

As she continues to grow her business, Trainor’s ultimate goal is to do this work on a full time basis, increase the amount of custom jobs, continue to sell her pieces, and help to educate people who are interested in doing this themselves.

“One of my plans is to offer classes and workshops where people can make their own home décor,” she says, “much like the ‘Paint Nights’ that many of us have been to.”

Shifted Vintage is available one weekend a month at the Shades of Vintage Marketplace on 26 Child Street, Warren, RI. Trainor also sells her goods at a booth in the Bernat Antique Mill in Uxbridge, MA. Follow @shiftedvintage on Facebook and Instagram for up-to-date information on where she can be found, as well as what items she will have for sale. If you are interested in a custom piece, or have questions for Trainor, she can be reached at shiftedvintage@gmail.com