The Beginning of Wessport Company

In 1998, my husband and I purchased our dream-home.  We went from a three bedroom, one bathroom home (with two daughters) to a home that had three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a full basement.  Most of the basement was unfinished when we moved in so the first winter in our new home, we spent it finishing a family room, a large rec. room/guest room and putting in an additional bathroom.  My job was the "easiest" of the tasks.  That was the painting and decoration of the rooms.  Well, that's easy for men to say!  I decided to start first with the family room walls.  I spent a couple of days painting and sponging the walls two shades of off-white and then stenciling a border around the top of the walls that I was really pleased with when done.  I have never done anything this creative before and showed it off with pride.

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Then came the most challenging of my tasks.  The rec. room/guest room.  It is approximately 17'x 32' and I envisioned a picket fence full of flowers, bird houses and anything else I could think of.  I bought stencils, stamps and all kinds of paints.  I first painted and then sponged a glaze medium over the walls.  This was a four day process, at least.  Then I decided to stencil above the doors and I really like the sunflower theme to go t\with the "garden theme" I had playing in my head.

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I placed these over four doors and a window with plans to connect them all with a vine of some kind, or sayings, or something.  Lacking the artistic ability/knowledge to do this, I decided to put it on hold for the time being..  

Next in line, was the long wall that looked like a vast, empty canvas.  I had a friend who told me about the great stencils she found on QVC.  Much to my chagrin, I began watching quips of it to see if I could find more crafting tools.  Then, as luck would have it, QVC hosted a weekend long craft program that had me completely enthralled.  I looked for ways to accomplish what I had in mind.  I looked for new ideas for things to satisfy my creative nature.  I looked for new ideas just in case what I wanted to do to my walls was not really what I envisioned it to be to begin with.  I even taped the darn program when I was at work so I wouldn't miss anything "new".  I found what I wanted.  Stencils for a picket fence and birdhouse's as well as stamps for grass and flowers.  I ordered it.

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I worked for the next two to three weeks on the fence that is a good 25' long and three feet high.  I was so excited!  Next, with anticipation and excitement mounting, I started in on the flowers and birdhouses.  The birdhouses were great.  I loved them...could be darker, but they are stenciled, right?!?  Can't expect everything!  Then the flowers and blades of grass/plant greens.  I stamped 25' of tulips and daisies and tried several different ways of stamping grass that only went in one direction, so that it looked realistic/creative.  It was horrendous!  Not at all what I wanted.  I had to ho something to cover it up and I'll be darned if I was going to paint over all of this and start again!!

I quit.  That was all I was going to do on this wall until I found just the right thing.  I was disappointed, frustrated and just downright disgusted!  I didn't think about it for at least two or three weeks.  I just happened to decide to watch that QVC craft weekend tape again and within 5 minutes of turning it on, Donna Dewberry came on and demonstrated how you could make flowers and bird easily, with one stroke.  I really would have never thought I had the talent to do that, but about 6 month earlier, friends of mine peer-pressured me into taking a drawing class where I discovered I actually had a little talent.

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Magazine Picture  Maya Angelou  My Husband

After much contemplating, I decided that if I practiced, I just might be able to paint fairly real looking flowers and birds on my wall.  I began being hopeful again.

I spent two days practicing my paint strokes as soon as I could get my hands on a couple of books and paint brushes.  After that, I couldn't stand it anymore and headed to the basement to start decorating.  I started, first, by redoing the tulips and daises I had stamped.  Then I went over the vines and leaves I started by the birdhouses.  Then I just branched out into other flowers, grass and anything else I wanted to try.  I finally braved a few hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, as well as one dragonfly.  I LOVED IT AND WAS HOOKED!

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Since then, I have been painting on everything I can get my hands on.  Jars, wrapping paper, gift sacks, clothing, furniture, picture frames, clocks, wooden trays.  I'm still not finished painting my walls and now have the upstairs walls to paint on, but it will still be there when all the craft shows are over.  

Now, I also need to tell you that before I found this outlet for job stress, I was (and still am) a computer nerd.  I build, upgrade and fix computers.  A friend of mine and I started a web business several years ago, and although rural Kansas isn't quite ready for the impact of the web and all it offers, my friend and I still plug away.  (Enter my father...)  My father had an idea for a novelty item he wanted to sell and checked on box ads in New York publications, ranging from business papers to high society publications.  He was looking for something small and inexpensive, like a 1 x 1 or 1 x 2 ad.  Simple, right?!?   WRONG!!!  When you consider that something like that in Kansas might run you about $20-$25 a day in larger publications, you can imagine his shock when told that this size ad would cost him $1200-$2500 per day!  Choke, choke, cough, sputter, cough!!  That's when Dad approached me and asked how I would like to go into business with him.  He's always been very business oriented and I have always been somewhat creative, so I though that we might just have a winning team.  

We both decided that his novelty gift would not be something that people would be knocking up a million hits per day on our web site and we really needed something else to sell.  I started thinking about my craft items.  But I know several other women and a few men who are equally talented and even more creative than I am.  If we provided an outlet for crafters in Kansas to showcase and sell their items, we would not only benefit our site but benefit those individuals who make quality crafts, have the Midwest work ethic and pride in what they do and who are trustworthy in their dealings with others.  We would be the go-between.  Thus began The WessPort Company.

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