I spent 15 years teaching students how to set up a business, and always wanted to do it myself. When the opportunity came about, I thought I would have a go!’

Jan Woolley worked as a business teacher for 15 years, before that she worked in The City, the Sydney stock exchange, insurance companies and building societies. When voluntary redundancy was offered to her, she took the huge leap of taking it, using it to start her own business.

The Painted Chair, Jan’s retail space which she rents in the world famous Bluecoat, city centre location, houses restored furniture and is the only stockist of Chalk Paint TM decorative paint by Annie Sloan in the city. The retail space specialises in home accessories and Chalk Painted furniture which are locally sourced close to Liverpool.

Taking a huge leap after over 15 years of working for others to launch her own business was bound to be slightly daunting, but Jan says that she sought advice from as many people as possible before taking the plunge. 

She continues; ‘I gained the relevant knowledge by attending courses and doing lots of research’ stressing the importance of gaining the experience and information before giving up your day job. But ‘definitely do it’, is her advice to others!

Having taught business for many years, Jan may have felt ahead of the game when starting her own venture, but like many others was still daunted by aspects such as tax and legal issues, as well as the all important factor of finding the right location for her business.

Housed in the historical Bluecoat which holds other independent and creative focussed businesses such as Landbaby, Kernaghan Books and Lalligrass was the right space for Jan. With help from The Women’s Organisation, she received mentoring, a space on courses and support with her business plan, which has meant she is now running the business successfully.

The Painted Chair has been such a success that Jan is now ‘bursting at the seams’ and has taken her sister into the business and is training her. The original plan for Jan and her sister was for them to begin developing a business back in September 2012 when Jan left teaching, but her sister returned to her original job as a teacher also. In September 2014 she re-joined The Painted Chair, and they are now having ‘a fabulous time pushing it forward together.’

Jan has indeed pushed the business forward within the past year, but still always feels like there is so much more to do; ‘Some days I wonder if I will ever get to a position when I feel like I can let things tick over. My friends and family think I’ve achieved an enormous amount and they are all very proud of me, but I feel like I’m just getting started’

With even bigger plans for the future, The Painted Chair is looking to expand with Jan developing a business working with artists and disability groups and thinking about working with people who are painting furniture as a method of therapy. Jan has been trained by Annie Sloan and now offers courses on painting furniture and decorative effects.

‘I love what we do, as we help, guide and encourage people to improve and enjoy their most important place – their home.’

The Women’s Organisation thinks Jan has done a fantastic job with setting up The Painted Chair. If you would like to have a look at their beautiful stock or take a course, then head down to The Bluecoat, or check out the website, with all the details below!  

Address: School Lane, Liverpool L1