{re}imagine your potential with Michelle Grzybowski

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For Michelle Grzybowski, refurbishing antique furniture is more than just a hobby. “I’m living the dream!” says Michelle. She works with her family, restoring gorgeous antique pieces and encouraging as well as inspiring women through classes, antique markets, and expos, like the West Michigan Women’s Expo this March. “For me, it’s the people, it’s not about selling furniture,” she notes.

Many people ask, but Michelle decided long ago not to open a store. “I couldn’t just drop off the furniture. My heart has always been to encourage women as well.”

Michelle has always been crafty, but decided to start her business, {re}imagined just for you about two years ago with her husband and kids. “I was painting furniture in our own home, and my husband said, ‘You need to sell some pieces. We’re running out of space.’” Michelle laughs as she remembers. Running out of room seems to be a recurring theme at the Grzybowski household. With nine kids and a home-run business, Michelle exclaims, “I’m on an ‘only-if-it’s-a-major-sale’ limit for buying old pieces to fix up. Things are stacked up three high in the workshop!”

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Luckily for Michelle, she’s not a lone crafter in her home. Her daughter makes and sells messenger bags, one of her sons is her tech guy and one is the repair guy. She also has in-house movers, crafters, a sewer, and a baker. {re}imagined is truly a family affair!

The name {re}imagined just for you came from Michelle’s business tagline: Create, Restore, Inspire.  She shares, “As women, I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, saying we’re not creative enough. I convince them (women in my classes, women who come to look at the furniture) that because they are created in the image of God, they are all extremely creative.” Michelle strives to inspire women to re-imagine themselves – their beauty and value – through parallels in her furniture restoration. “I take a piece of furniture and I re-imagine it; I reveal its beauty.”

“As women, I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, saying we’re not creative enough. I convince them (women in my classes, women who come to look at the furniture) that because they are created in the image of God, they are all extremely creative.” – Michelle Grzybowski

Michelle always keeps her eye out for architectural beauties. “If something by the side of the road even resembles wood,” she laughs, “I make everyone stop and check it out.” She then heads out to her workshop amidst the glazes and paints to distress a piece, painting it and re-imagining its potential. “I do everything by hand to make one-of-a-kind, time worn pieces,” Michelle notes.  With two big sales a year and monthly antique markets, Michelle never runs out of things to do. Her bi-yearly “Shop the Barn” sale in her yard and garage-turned-to-barn boutique are her biggest events of the year. “People come from Chicago, Detroit, Indiana. We’ve outgrown the barn, so we have a big tent set up in the yard.” Michelle sells unfinished and finished dressers, tables, chairs…you name it. She also creates customized shabby-chic signs that are quite popular with her clientele.

This artist certainly loves what she does. She ends with her motivation, “I’m restored and renewed through my work. I love when people come over and get so excited over a piece. To watch women create – to watch them come in shoulders down and leave with spirits lifted, that’s why I do this. Furniture is just what gets me in the door.”

You can learn more about Michelle and her {re}imagined just for you business at the West Michigan Women’s Expo on March 8, 9, and 10 at DeVos Place. Just visit http://kohlerexpo.com for ticket information.

Rockwell Republic Food and Cocktails
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Aemelia Tripp is the marketing coordinator at Women’s Lifestyle Magazine. She attends Calvin College and is entering her senior year as a Strategic Communications major. Aemelia enjoys bike rides and singing jazz songs.

 

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