Lisa Chapman of Randall Barbera
This week, I am featuring an interview with Lisa Chapman, Vice President and General Manager of Randall Barbera ANTIQUE TRUNK RESTORATION and DESIGN. Lisa’s company restores antique trunks into beautiful works of art that will last for many years and provide elegance to the interiors that feature them. Their site, http://randallbarbera.com/, has an online store, gallery, and further information on their trunk restoration services.
What led you to Randall Barbera and when did you start working with Randall Barbera?
I started working with Randall in 2003. We were refinishing and crafting various pieces of furniture, mostly for people within our neighborhood at the time.
I am just curious why the business is named Randall Barbera?
Randall Barbera is the person who started this business and when he launched his first website, that’s the URL he used. Lots of designers use their name, and I guess he just followed suit.
What is your favorite aspect of working at Randall Barbera?
Since it is just he and I, I get involved in everything from working on restorations to designing and building custom trunks. He is very supportive and encouraging when it comes to creativity and this, among other things, makes for a great working environment. Being involved at the very start of a project, and seeing it evolve until completion is very satisfying. I’ve had some pretty crazy design ideas over the years and he has never nixed any of them!
What have you learned the most from Randall Barbera?
That anything is fixable. There are no such things as ‘mistakes’, it’s all just part of the evolutionary process. Sometimes I will be looking at a restoration job that comes through the door thinking – “Wow! This thing is BEYOND repair”, but I’ve learned to think outside of the box and realize that I might have to attempt a treatment that I’m inexperienced in and not to be afraid to try. Randall always says that persistence will always win out in the long run.
What tips and ideas do you have for individuals who would like to start or to join a similar business specializing in antique restoration?
Find out as much as you can about an existing company. Look at their websites, see what the specialty is and then imagine if it were your business, what would you do to help the effort; what would you do differently; what could your skills add to the betterment of the product(s)? Somehow, try and get your hands on one of the products that they offer, or something similar. Take it apart and take careful notes on how it was put together. It seems as though most restoration companies are fairly small entities and, as such, your personality and approach to work should be rooted in the same passion as they have. It’s really hard work! Be careful what you wish for!!
What is one of your favorite products available at Randall Barbera?
We have a metal covered trunk which I redesigned by using a turquoise enamel on the exterior finish. I’ve always been a fan of retro, 1950-ish kitchen appliances, like stoves and refrigerators as I love the bright colors and, I guess, they have a very basic, uncomplicated ‘vibe’ to them. I used a large black nail-head in the design too, and stained and refinished the exterior wooden slats black. Randall loved the idea and we’ve decided to produce more, in different colors. After all, shouldn’t every kitchen have a trunk as an accent?!
What is at the heart of Randall Barbera that you want your customers to take home?
That’s easy! QUALITY! We make sure that every piece that we restore or build is at the top of the game, and will last for the next few generations, at least. Whether we are working on a Louis Vuitton, or an old Army footlocker, we know that with every trunk, there is sentimental attachment. We appreciate that our clients put their trust in us, and we respect and value this trust by delivering back to them their precious antique in a condition that, we hope, will exceed their expectations.
Lisa and her company, Randall Barbera, can be followed on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin where Randall Barbera updates their followers about their amazing and beautiful projects.
Photos Courtesy of Lisa Chapman of Randall Barbera