Gallery: Gretchen Jean was born and raised in Tewksbury and own's Princess Painting. [1 Image] Click any image to expand.
A female business owner. A mom. A wife. A community volunteer. A powerful yet refreshingly down to earth member of our community.
I met with Gretchen Jean a few days ago. Gretchen was so engaging when I met her. Right from the beginning of our conversation I could see that she was very professional. She has this really strong vibe that emits from her.
When I was asking her about her business you could see the passion in her eyes, and hear the pure excitement in her voice to be talking about her company. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Gretchen Jean.
Hollie Gonzalez - Tell us about Gretchen Jean
Gretchen Jean - I am from Tewksbury originally. I grew up here in Tewksbury. I went to all of the public schools here and graduated from Tewksbury High School in 1991. I am married to my husband Joe and a mom of three children. Stone is 18, Alex is 9, and Charlotte is 5. I have been a painter for 14 years.
HG - How did you start Princess Painting?
GJ - I started this company a while ago. I always wanted to be a stay at home mom, but couldn't afford to. I had to work. I worked for a broker for a while, right up until about 9/11. In my spare time I painted. I painted everything. I was always painting rooms in my house. Changing the decorations, and re-arranging the furniture. Nothing ever stayed the same for too long. My friends would always say how great my house looked, or how my ideas were so great and they would ask me to come over to their homes or businesses and help them. The demand was overwhelming and the satisfaction was awesome. I realized that I might have something here, and Princess Painting was born.
HG - Why the name Princess Painting?
GJ -When I was younger my father , Gerry owned a company here in town called Weitz Construction. My brothers worked there as well. I used to get to go to the job sites all the time. As you know the language on a lot of construction sites is not always the best, so my father used to tell all the guys to watch their mouths when I was coming. He used to make a sign that read "watch your language, princess coming" He would leave it so all the guys could see it. So every time I came, all the guys would call me the "Princess" and the name stuck with me. They would say, "The princess is here", or if I would help painting, they would say "the princess is painting."
HG - How did your mom feel about this?
GJ - She loved it. My mom also owned a store in Tewksbury. It was called The Shoe Stop and it housed The Sweat Shop. It was in Claddagh Place. If you ever need shoes dyed when you were younger, you went there. If you needed something embroidered, you went there. I got a lot of my color experience from my mom. She taught me how to match colors and what color components made up each color. Helping her dye shoes helped me know color. She always said I had a very good eye for color.
HG - Now you recently merged with your husband Joe's business, tell me about that.
GJ - My husband Joe is a mason. His company was J. Jean Masonry for 8 years. He also does home improvements. He hired me to paint a barn that he sided in Hollis about 10 years ago. (she laughs here) That's when he picked me up! We have been together ever since. We realized that we could work in tandem and bring both of our ideas to life. We merged our two companies. Coming up with a name that satisfied both of us was the real challenge. He didn't want to be a "Princess" and I didn't want to be a mason. We came up with a lot of blank and blank names, but nothing seemed to be quite the right fit. Then one day my son Alex said "Why don't you just call yourselves Brick & Brush?". It fit. Brick & Brush was hatched. It is still in it's infancy, but the talent from both sides is there.
HG - What does Brick & Brush offer?
GJ - We do both residential and commercial, and indoor and outdoor. We do a lot of interior design. Painting is one of the most powerful levels of our company. We design vanities, and granites. We can do remodels, or just re-arranging and space planning. We love to help with curb appeal as well on homes. We can do everything from decks and porches, to shutters and shrubs.
HG - I heard you offer "Color Consultation". What does that mean?
GJ - Color Consultation is when I come to your home and discuss with you the different aspects of a room that you are interested in changing. Seeing something through someone else's eyes is very important. I will discuss all of your color options and explain to you what I think would work best in your space. I will incorporate anything you want or give you my opinions. I discuss not only paint colors, but lighting choices and furniture placement. I feel like sometimes I perform color interventions. A lot of people really think in just black and white. Sometimes throwing a red or green into a room can really bring out the room and change the whole feel of the place. I work very closely with the owner and really take my time to explain everything to them and make sure they really understand and are comfortable with any changes.
HG - What is it like to be a female business owner?
GJ - I love it. I have the freedom to make my own decisions. I can go to my kids sporting events if I want. But it is a lot of hard work. I put in a lot of time, effort and energy. I see it as an advantage not a disadvantage as a lot of people might think. Not to sound disrespectful to any one in my field, but a lot homeowners would rather have me in their house working. I am a mom, and homeowner myself. I treat your house like my house. I am very respectful and very neat with my projects. If your shoes are on a rug by your front door, then mine are there too.
HG - I read some of your reviews on Angie's List. They were all very positive. What do you attribute that too?
GJ - We are very good at what we do. I always try my best and give 110%. This is my passion and I really believe in it. I think that shows through in all of my projects. I am not satisfied until you are.
HG - Tell me about your recent community service project at Livingston Street Park?
GJ - We painted the snack shack there. John Haley of Aubuchon Hardware was there and they donated all the paints and supplies. I offered to do it. If felt great to be able to give back to the community. I love to be part of things like that. It was a lot of fun.
HG - What advise would you give to any new business starting out here in town?
GJ - Don't hesitate. If you hesitate on something you may lose out on your opportunity. Always return your phone calls right away and follow up afterwards. Never be late for a job, always show up on time. When you start a job, finish it. That means a lot to people. They never want to wonder where you are. Even if you have to call them 10 times, people would rather here more from you, than not hear from you at all. That is very important in business today.
HG - What do you like most about Tewksbury?
GJ - I love how comfortable it makes me feel. I feel like it is the perfect happy medium town. It is not an unrealistic place to live. In some other towns you feel challenged or judged. And the same can be said in the vice versa way for other towns. Tewksbury is just the perfect place to live.
HG - How can people get in touch with you?
- They can call me at 978-735-4500. My website www.princesspainting.com
is still available on line. Like I said earlier, Brick & Brush is still in the beginning stages of merging and we don't have a new website up yet.
Gretchen is really the sugar in my tea. She really showed this incredible sweetness and passion. A passion for painting? Yup, she has it. You could just tell that she was serious about her work and exceptionally proud about her company. So if you need to refresh your living room, re-hydrate your kitchen or get your Feng Shui on in the bedroom, then give Brick & Brush a call.
Quick 5 - Gretchen Jean
Last movie you saw - Haichi (it's about a dog)
Favorite Color - Pink
Spaghetti or Ziti - Ziti
Last beach ever visited - Beautiful shores of Bermuda
Dream concert to attend - Florida Georgia Line
(Hollie Gonzalez lives in Tewksbury with her husband and two children. She is very passionate about her town)
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