Given that the kitchen is the most used (and favourite) room in the house, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the first spots chosen for home improvement projects. Recently, HomeStars spoke with Jessica Louise (Owner) and Tanya Bilmer (Founder) of Kitchen Makeovers to learn about their experience with starting their women-owned cabinetry refinishing & refacing company in British Columbia. HomeStars and Kitchen Makeovers spoke about everything from quotes to reviews to creating a safe working environment for women in trades. Read on to learn more about Kitchen Makeovers and their experience.
From House Painting to Cabinet Painting
In 2009, Tanya Bilmer founded Kitchen Makeovers in the back of her home with the support of her daughter, Jessica Louise. In the beginning, Tanya started as a house painter, learning her craft by working for customers in their homes. As she continued her work, she noticed that more and more homeowners were asking for cabinet painting. This common client request soon became an opportunity for her small business. Tanya decided she had found the company’s niche after spraying her first set of cabinets on a client’s lawn. Kitchen Makeovers was born, and Tanya went from only painting houses to only painting cabinets.
“We are a niche company, we aren’t general contractors, and we won’t paint your walls or install new cabinet boxes. We specialize in cabinet refinishing and refacing. We’re a part of the renovation process, not the entire thing. We aren’t the right company for every customer’s needs, which is why we always encourage customers to get multiple quotes and pick the company they trust. There is a company out there for everyone!” Jessica told HomeStars.
Creating a Safe Space for Women in Trades
When Jessica graduated from the University of British Columbia she saw a business opportunity in the family-run business. In 2017, Jessica bought and scaled the company to what it is today – a 30 person full-time team tasked with between 8 to 12 kitchen cabinetry refinishing & refacing projects per week. Two things that really stand out about Kitchen Makeovers are that it is a women-led business and that the majority of the team are women. The team consists of 80% women which, unfortunately, is still quite rare within the world of trades. According to Statistics Canada, women make up less than 4% of people within trades. “We’ve created a safe space for women,” said Jessica. “We work with a lot of individuals who are still discovering their passions. Many do not have experience in the trades so we offer on-site training.” By incorporating career training and a growth path within their business model, Kitchen Makeovers offers employees the choice to continue and grow within the company.
Breaking Barriers and Changing Narratives
Despite the fact women continue to make greater inroads into the world of trades, for some clients it’s still a surprise to see a women-owned operation such as Kitchen Makeovers. Jessica shared that some clients seemed apprehensive at first, but after seeing the work they do, they are able to change that narrative. “It feels really powerful and impactful to break that perspective and change that experience for people,” said Jessica.
It goes without saying, it’s always a bonus to work with a team of individuals who are doing good work and making the world of trades a better place. When it comes to indoor renovations, a Kitchen Makeover will always be a dream makeover. If you’re a homeowner living in the lower mainland, anywhere between West Vancouver to Chilliwack, we encourage you to connect with Kitchen Makeovers to get your kitchen cabinets looking brand new again! If you’re a service professional within Canada, we encourage you to get inspired by businesses out there striving to break barriers within the trades.