Kristin Malone has two retail shops in New Orleans and a robust e-commerce site featuring her own artwork, as well as that of more than 160 other artists from throughout the South. Perhaps best known for her iconic painted wood signs portraying typical New Orleans images, Malone also leads popular painting parties and is regularly featured at art markets. Her work is displayed in Le Meridien hotel and is sold in stores around the city. What began as a hobby, selling art and refinishing furniture via Etsy and Craigslist, is now a successful and popular fulltime business.
Bon Vivant: How are you navigating the COVID-19 crisis (in business or personally)?
Kristin Malone: Every day, I seem to be scripting a new business plan, as I shifted from two brick and mortar stores and an online store to completely online, all while balancing a lack of childcare. It’s been challenging, but through it all, our business and personal mission stand strong. We are committed to supporting local makers and businesses because we are truly in this together.
BV: What creative methods are you discovering in order to continue to serve clients?
Malone: Our online store has always been updated and, therefore, offered us a seamless transition into this new business model. We know it’s a challenging time for many people, so we are offering sales on certain products, free shipping or local deliveries on orders $60 plus, or free contactless porch pick-up at our Mid-City location. We are also about to release an online option for our popular #paintyournola paint parties.
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BV: Who or what is inspiring you right now and why?
Malone: Our community has been the most inspiring. They have really shown up during this challenging time. I have seen long lines to pick up food from the farmer’s market, people offering to shop for their elderly neighbors, businesses with cars full of orders for local deliveries and organizations like The Red Beans Parade collecting donations to buy food from locally owned restaurants and hiring out-of-work musicians to deliver food to our healthcare workers. I have seen the very best brought out in our community.
BV: What is the most helpful piece of career or life advice you’ve ever received, where did it come from and why was it so impactful for you?
Malone: “You have two ears and one mouth. You should always listen twice as much as you speak.” My dad, who’s also an entrepreneur, told me this. I believe this should be applied to every aspect of our lives. The more I listen, the more I learn about the people in our community — our customers, our mailman, our neighbors, our family. The ability to be empathic to the people you surround yourself with will grow your heart.
BV: Guilty pleasure?
Malone: Mini cannolis (or anything from the dessert case) from Angelo Brocato’s.
BV: If readers did only one thing to enhance their interior, what would you suggest?
Malone: I prefer to have all of my walls painted white. It allows me to have freedom to buy art and decor without having to worry if it will complement the paint color of a room.