We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Hayes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Thanks for the opportunity to share my story.
I didn’t always see myself as a risk-taker, but looking back on my life, my relationship to risk has always been a bit chummy.
I got my pilot’s license on my 17th birthday, and then became a wilderness guide in college, taking high-schoolers on eight-day backpacking trips in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado (which wouldn’t necessarily be risky except I had never slept outside a day in my life before showing up to guide training!).
These are a couple of examples from my younger days, however I didn’t see these adventures as risk-taking back then. I saw them as opportunities to do something challenging, something different and fun. I see now that they were formative–teaching me that I don’t have to have particular knowledge or experience to head into new life situations–just the desire to learn and ability to walk alongside discomfort and risk.
My life continued on with a career in teaching at a bilingual school and then I went on to raise three children. At the age of forty-four I started my own cabinet painting company which has grown to a six figure revenue with twenty employees. This last career move has been the most challenging time of my life, both personally and professionally. But I look back on my earlier experiences as paving the way for this somewhat random current adventure.
Our business is an all female cabinet painting company in an all male field. There is risk each day proving to our clients that we have what it takes to deliver an amazing and professional product. This proving doesn’t bother me–it is a challenge I am excited to take on, even though there have been some tough hurdles to overcome.
Entrepreneurs are risk takers at heart–starting a new business is one big risk. This personality type tends to link arms with vision and big picture thinking. This can be a strength and also a downfall. My comfort with risk often encourages me to run head on into new situations without looking at the details or taking the time to plan out the potential consequences of a decision. This has cost me time and money in my business. I have found I need people around me to be “risk-checkers”–fellow employees who care about me and the company who are not afraid to push back and say, “Is this something we should really do right now?” “What is your “why” for making this change/taking this risk?”
I listen. And often I wait.
At the end of the day, I want to have pushed myself in some way, whether that is leaning into the tension of a hard conversation, spending money on a new tool in hopes it will improve our process, or just getting my desk cleaned off. Risk is often not as scary as it seems from the outside. It’s just taking that one step forward, and then another, and another until you are on the other side.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Yes, I own a company called Bloom Painting Company. Our main bread and butter is cabinet painting. It is the heart of the company and I pour the most time and resources into it. We also have an interior painting branch and we do kitchen remodels for those clients who hire us for cabinet painting. I have been in business six years–starting with my daughter painting rooms in our neighborhood, and it evolved to a current six-figure business with twenty employees. We complete about seventy-five kitchen cabinet painting jobs and around eight to ten kitchen remodels per year in the North Denver area.
About our second year of business I hired my first round of employees by sending out an email in our neighborhood group in Broomfield Colorado asking if there were any moms who wanted a part time, flexible job painting. I had thirteen responses in two hours.
Having employees, managing schedules and payroll and app technology was a whole new ballgame. I felt like I was drowning most of the time. We worked out of my basement and in our garage (much to my husband’s dismay!). Eventually we built a spray booth in one of my employee’s basements. I hired a bookkeeper and a supply manager and we moved out of the garage.
Today we have a “shop” in Broomfield with a spray booth, drying room, outdoor sanding area and supply room. We can handle two fifty- piece kitchens each week. We have a general manager and an interior painting manager and I run Bloom Kitchens (our kitchen remodeling wing) with a full time carpenter and project manager. Our brand is known in the north Denver area, and we are currently producing a sizzle reel to send to the TV networks for a possible show.
I have learned many lessons along the way–about stress and managing my own work/family boundaries (whole other story). But the most important lesson I have learned is that obstacles are not something to be feared. In fact, when we run into a problem (and we’ve had some big ones) I get excited. I know we will figure it out, and in the figuring out we will “level up.” Each and every time. It is through this process that we find a new product or sprayer or process or system. We change something for the better. It is fantastic.
I have a clear mission–to empower and equip women on my team. To help them find their purpose and gifting in this little area of their lives. I want this job to allow them to be great moms, with flexibility and grace to be with a sick kiddo if needed. And to provide excellent service to our clients as we help them find function and beauty in the most important space in their home.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I went to college in Boulder so I would definitely take visitors there for a day or two. We would visit Pearl Street, hike Chautauqua Park, and eat on a rooftop restaurant. We would tour near by Celestial Seasonings and sit by Boulder Creek.
We would spend another day with our kids at the Aquarium or at a museum downtown. We walk the 16th st mall or Union Station, and we would eat at the many wonderful restaurants Denver has to offer.
We would definitely head to the mountains, to eat Beau Jo’s pizza in Idaho Springs and hike St. Mary’s Glacier. And one day we might travel to the Springs to the Garden of the Gods, tour the Air Force Academy or take the Pike’s Peak Cog railway.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to Shoutout Eddie Chang, a friend and real estate developer. Early on, Eddie asked me the tough questions and offered to mentor me in moving my business to the next level. I am grateful for his support.
Facebook: Bloom Painting Company