Let Me Tell You about The Bird and The Bee

Jan 14 2015

by Catherine Hamrick

. . . and a thing called love.

Manager Melissa Welch and Owner Betsy DiGiornio
Manager Melissa Welch and Owner Betsy DiGiorgio

An old adage: “A southerner is never a stranger.”  So true. Early in the New Year, I jumped on FB and posted a video demo of how to paint furniture with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. A longtime friend commented that she had just painted a chest in French linen. It sold before the paint barely dried! She works at The Bird and The Bee shop in Smyrna, Georgia, which I quickly Googled. Five seconds later, I was smitten. 

The Bird and The Bee is a charmer. It specializes in home and garden accessories, including unique pieces of hand-painted furniture and homemade soaps and lotions. The showroom is a must-see! The shop also feature pieces by local artisans and artists. However, I beelined for The Bird and The Bee’s all-about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint tips, furniture refreshing, and before-and-after pieces—a smash with home decorators and interior designers.

bird bee chair beforeafter chair 1st page

Back in the day, I was an art/antiques editor and Annie Sloan fan who thrilled to every book she released. But I had fallen behind the times. This Brit paint duenna still cranks out decorative arts crowd pleasers, including her latest title, Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More. I didn’t plunk down cash for that one, as owner Betsy DiGiorgio and manager Melissa Welch gave me the scoop on this fast-fast paint process.

Why is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint so hot?

Betsy: It’s a no-brainer. There is no priming, sanding, stripping of surfaces before you paint. When we discovered Annie Sloan in 2010, we knew this was special paint! And thoughts started flooding my brain of everything that could be completely transformed in my house, not to mention everyone else’s homes.

diamond chest beforediamond chest after

The people that we meet and the stories they share are truly a delight. I think their stories rival men’s fishing or hunting stories. Except ours go a little like this: “I found this dresser at my parents’ house [Goodwill, garage sale, on the side of the road, etc.]. It was so ugly that it had fruit stenciled all over it. I chalk painted it and now look at it.” They pull out a string of pictures, amazing everyone!

Then there is the first-timer who is not “crafty” but brings in pictures of their finished work, overjoyed with what they have accomplished.

We are connecting with our community. That is what having a small business is all about.

before ottomanafter ottoman

Melissa: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is different from any other paint you’re going to find out there. There are a lot of competitors in the market that try to do what Annie Sloan does, but they just do not have the same wow factor. Her product is a higher quality, and overall looks better than that of any competitors.

Chalk Paint is not just for your “crafty person” or designer. It is for everyone!  It is user friendly and can make anyone feel like a painting expert!

The beauty of Chalk Paint is no prep work. You can virtually paint anything. You can paint that outdated brass chandelier in a new, cool way. You can transform the metal trash can in your office into something worth showing off. Just about anything goes—from Target furniture to an old 1920s dresser. Whatever the piece, it can be transformed with Chalk Paint!

before lanternafter lantern

You work on various types of furniture—but what is your signature style? That is, what you are known for?

Betsy: We work on all kinds of furniture. We don’t really have a signature style. I think our excitement is at its peak when we find a piece that we truly love and know it has potential.

The project folks (our painters) are partial to certain pieces. We call dibs on a piece when we personally want to work on it. Melissa has vintage in her DNA, and it comes out in her work. I like the imperfection look—I’m really drawn to distressed pieces.  Mary Jo is our all-around creative one. She can accomplish just about any look you want. The layers of her talent are amazing.


It’s our job to try all types of materials: wood, plastic, glass, concrete, acrylic, fabrics, leather (or pleather), marble, terra cotta . . . and more. Because of our firsthand experience, we can tell customers what will work and what may not work.

Long story, short: Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint has been around for over 20 years. I’ve met her, and she is a woman after my own heart. She works hard. I have nothing but respect and admiration for her.

strt detail Before-Dresser-225x300_peAfter-Dresser-225x300

Melissa: I would say our styles are a little bit of a mix. We are vintage, French, shabby chic at times, and sometimes contemporary. Annie Sloan is very inspired by French colorways, which is an amazing style to create with her paint. We really enjoy being creative with her paint and reaching out to all different types of customers who all have their own style.

Melissa-Teaching-Chalk-Paint-ClassJoin the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint “party” at The Bird and The Bee in historic Smyrna. They hold frequent workshops, demonstrating beginner to advanced techniques.

The Bird and The Bee
2968 Atlanta Rd
Suite B
Smyrna, GA 30080


If Smyrna is too far for a jaunt, you can find a list of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint retailers in your area. Either way, you’re in for a decorating love affair—that will last a lifetime.

Photos courtesy of The Bird and The Bee



Catherine Hamrick View More Blog Posts from this Author

After a few years as a copywriter for the Southern Living Advertising Department, editor and writer Catherine Hamrick learned her craft in the magazine and book divisions of media giants Time Inc. and Meredith Corporation. She taught writing, literature, public speaking, and business communication at the university level. As a freelancer, Catherine has tackled "almost every topic but porn and physics" and has managed editorial projects or co-authored branded books for imprints such as Southern Living, Oxmoor House, Meredith Books, Better Homes and Gardens, Traditional Home, Country Home, Midwest Living, The Home Depot, Ortho, and Lark Publishing. Certified in social media marketing, she coaches students and professionals in writing resumes, cover letters, and online profiles. She is also a ghostwriter—that is, a professional keeper of secrets. Connect @ChamrickWriter or drop by her blogs: Random Storyteller (https://randomstoryteller.com) and Catherine Hamrick: Writer, Editor, Social Media Human (https://catherinehamrick.com).

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