Pamela Gruhn, founder of Frenchic – the UK’s fastest growing chalk paint brand, which received the royal seal approval earlier this year with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
Frenchic saw a 500% lift in sales during lockdown thanks to a surge in DIY, shipping 115,000 tons of paint over a six week period. The brand shows no signs of slowing down, with turnover for this year set to be their biggest to date.
Pam has always had a passion for giving old furniture a new lease of life rather than seeing it relegated to landfill. In 2014, there was an upcycling revolution happening in the UK. A DIY trend was soaring and there was a lot of consumer interest and moral obligation to live more sustainably. Pam recognised a gap in the market and wanted to create a paint that was not only eco-friendly, but easy to use for beginners, as well as being the choice of professionals. A successful product has to have authenticity and be born of a personal passion, and that is how Frenchic was born.
Using £15,000 from a pension nest-egg, Pam decided to wager it all on the business. She found a factory that could accommodate what was needed to get started, and working from her dining table, she launched a few colours with Frenchic’s first Original range – the brand was then built organically from there. She created a Facebook community early on, which encouraged more stockists and allowed Frenchic to broaden their ranges, accessories and reach. Their online community now boasts over 1 million followers, and is a global haven for people to share their creativity and take inspiration from others.
Since 2014, the brand has grown year on year and currently supplies over 600 stockists across four continents with a business model built around championing independent retailers – something Pam has personally strived to maintain throughout the pandemic, helping keep local businesses alive and serving their communities in the toughest of times.
In April of this year, Frenchic received the Queens Award for Enterprise in the innovation category for their Lazy Range. This was huge honour not just for Pam, but for the entire Frenchic community, who all share in the achievement. Building the Frenchic brand has been a true labour of love – a start-up with humble beginnings and no exterior funding – just a passion for paint.