How it all Started

You may want to grab a snack and get cozy…the story of BB Frösch began long before a little jar of paint transformer came to be. When I was three, my favorite toy was a handmade beanbag frog. I took that little frog everywhere and included it in everything I did—even sleep!

One day, that frog turned up missing, and it was traumatic! It was all hands on deck that day with my mom and brothers helping search. By the time my dad got home from work, the devastation over my lost beanbag frog had set in big time. Before joining the search, my dad asked a question I’ll never forget: “Do you think Heavenly Father knows where your frog is?” My little heart flipped in excitement at the idea, but slowed almost as quickly when I realized I had no idea how Heavenly Father could tell me where it was.

What happened next set the course for my life

My dad taught me to pray.

He knelt down beside me and helped me pour out my broken heart to Heavenly Father. I explained through tears how much I loved that frog, how hard I’d searched, and how sad I was. I begged for help finding it. I just knew Heavenly Father would tell me where it was. Before we stood up from that prayer, my dad explained how the answer may come—through ideas or pictures in our head of where to look. He explained that sometimes Heavenly Father answers our prayers through giving ideas to others who can help us. We waited as the ideas came for where to look, then we acted on those ideas together with the rest of my family. It wasn’t long before the idea came to my mom to drag a chair to my closet and pull down a box of toys that she had recently put away.

My frog had been found!

Because of that experience, because a loving Heavenly Father cared enough about me to help me find a little toy, I knew he loved me and wanted to help me whenever I needed it. My life has consisted of lost keys, a lost checkbook, a lost wallet, a lost ring, and even lost hope. I used prayer to help find lost things, find answers to big questions, and make decisions that were bigger than me.

Fast forward forty something years…

We owned a restaurant at the time, we lived in a new-to-us city (Las Vegas,) and I had spent seven years homeschooling three of my four kids. Being a mom was my life, my kids were finishing up their teenage years, and my youngest decided she wanted to attend regular high school. I felt my purpose slipping away. My family was a little worried about me. So, they prayed I would find a hobby or something to fill my space and give me purpose. I also prayed. For what, exactly, I didn’t know. But, I prayed.

About the time my youngest ventured off to regular high school, I turned my attention to the cedar chest my parents had given me when I turned eighteen. Pinterest was becoming a thing, and I had seen lots of beautiful furniture makeovers that inspired me to paint my cedar chest. I had never painted before, but I had no doubt I could turn that cedar chest into something Pinterest-worthy.

I was wrong.

It was a miserable experience! I was so sick of stripping and sanding the orange-ish oak that I was over it before I even got to the fun part of painting. I persevered through the pain(t) only to discover that the white paint I’d purchased from Home Depot didn’t actually want to be “gently distressed for a lovely shabby-chic finish.” The paint either peeled off or looked scratched—nothing like what I’d seen happening all over Pinterest.

I’m stubborn, though, so I didn’t give up.

At the time, "chalk" and mineral paints were getting a little buzz. It took some real digging to learn what this kind of paint was and why I needed it if I planned to ever try painting furniture again. There was one big brand on the market, but it was not readily available. In fact, I had to drive 45 minutes away to find a “stockist.” I was determined to not let my cedar chest experience get the better of me (did I mention I’m stubborn?)

So I drove the 45 minutes…

…and I spent about $300 in supplies. I literally broke out in a cold sweat on the drive home. Turns out 45 minutes was entirely too long to spend in a car by myself with my thoughts after I’d just dropped several benjamins to try a new hobby I’d recently failed miserably at. That drive, and the thoughts about how I’d explain the $300 to my husband, were AGONIZING.

Blessedly, the expensive new paint made my next project a completely different experience! I didn’t have to strip or sand my piece down, and I didn’t have to paint a coat of primer first. I just started painting! The paint dried quickly and smoothly! It distressed beautifully without scratching or peeling.

I was in love!

I’d found a new hobby that I never imagined I would love. It was therapy. I was creating in ways I didn’t know my soul needed.

Before I knew it, I was painting furniture to sell, I was being commissioned to paint for others. I amassed enough furniture to fill three storage units, and I was BUSY!

Unfortunately, with as much furniture as I was painting for myself and others, I was BORED with the color options available. Because this paint gives such incredible coverage, I found myself buying an expensive quart of paint (close to $40 for the good stuff) and painting several pieces the same color before I could justify buying a new quart in a new color. The brand I loved only had about 40 colors at the time, and I really only liked about six of them.

My local (45 minutes away) stockist tried to help me mix colors to get exactly what I wanted, but that was a bust because it meant purchasing two or more quarts of paint, hoping I mixed in just the right proportions, and hoping I’d mixed enough. Heaven forbid you don’t mix enough of your custom color because it’s impossible to mix it exactly the same again! If you’re flipping furniture or taking custom orders, you eat into profits at breakneck speed when you spend it all on expensive paint.

As much as I LOVED not having to sand, strip or prime (major time and emotions saver), and as much as I loved that I could manipulate this amazing paint to get pretty much any look I wanted, the price and limited color situation really put a damper on my new hobby.

I needed an affordable solution that allowed unlimited colors (or, at least, more than six good ones.) I easily found DIY recipes that claimed to make "chalk" (or mineral) paint, and I tried them all! They disappointed every time and never gave the results I wanted. I discovered that most are toxic (nothing like the eco-friendly paint I’d fallen in love with), many create a hard plaster mess, and nearly every one used a powder that LOOKED like “chalk” but lacked the ability to help paint stick and give paint the ability to be manipulated and distressed beautifully. The terms “chalk” and "paint" had basically confused people into thinking they could just add any substance that looked chalky to their paint and they’d have the same results. To me, it’s like substituting baking soda when your recipe calls for baking powder. Sure, the powders look virtually identical, but they definitely don’t yield the same results. If I was going to create a powder to add to regular paint, it HAD to yield the same or better results than the expensive paint I’d been using.

That’s when my kitchen turned into what my kids lovingly remember as the “mom with her white powder and scales” days. I spent months learning about minerals and their properties. So many minerals! I learned that the way minerals are processed is just as important as what they are—kind of like when a recipe calls for eggs, you can’t just toss in a couple of hard boiled or scrambled eggs, because they’re processed differently. I learned about minerals…and paint…and paint terms…and stuff I never thought I’d need to know. For example, who knew latex paint doesn’t have the slightest bit of latex in it? It was months and months of effort and learning and experimenting to create a powder I could add to regular paint—all so I could pick whatever color I wanted and save boatloads of money.

The work paid off! I’d developed a powder that checked every box, and it was a game changer because I could truly give customers the colors they wanted without sacrificing quality and the experience of no prep-work.

It was my own special magic powder just for me.

Before long, I couldn’t keep up with the custom orders and furniture flipping. I was booked out over six months for custom orders when it occurred to me that, instead of painting everyone’s furniture for them, I could teach them to do it themselves. At the time, I had several people ask why I would share my “secrets” instead of make money painting for others. Even if I could have kept up with the orders, there was something more that I instinctively knew I needed to share. The sense of accomplishment, the creative outlet, the therapeutic experience of painting, and the personal growth that comes with learning new things had blessed me tremendously, and I wanted others to have that experience.

I rounded up everyone who wanted me to paint for them, and I taught what I thought would be my only class. There were six people in attendance, including my daughter, Kacey, who I had to convince to attend. I knew she didn’t have any interest in painting, but I needed the moral support since I’d never really taught anything like this before.

That class was incredible! It was amazing to watch participants’ eyes light up with possibility as they learned hands-on what this paint could do. I sent everyone home with a jar of my magic powder. I went to bed exhausted but feeling more fulfilled about teaching and sharing with others than I’d felt painting pieces for them. Kacey, who I’d cajoled into attending, and described herself as having zero creative bones in her body, painted five pieces of furniture over the weekend after the class. Witnessing someone I love discover her creative spirit was powerful and created a bond that grew into the best kind of friendship and the business partnership we share today.

Fun fact: Kacey now has a family with three kids, lives on a farm, has transformed her 1980’s home with BB Frösch, and heads up our Marketing team! I credit Kacey with believing in BB Frösch before I knew it was something to be believed in. When I thought I was helping her discover her gifts and talents, she was helping me dream bigger than I knew I could. Our different personalities are the magic sauce that make BB Frösch the business it is today.

What happened next is somewhat of a blur to this day. I began receiving phone calls from friends of my class participants asking when I would teach another class. I got messages asking where people could buy my magic powder. Before long, I was teaching every week in my area and traveling to other states—Texas, California, Arizona, Utah, Indiana, Georgia, Minnesota…

It became quickly obvious that people wanted and needed the magic powder. This is where the little girl with the beanbag frog comes in.

When my family prayed fervently for me to find something to replace homeschooling, their prayers were answered in the form of the hobby that compelled me to develop the magic powder. The hobby is where I discovered a passion for teaching others. It was clear the hobby had become a business, and the business needed a name. What better name than what symbolized an answer to prayer? Beanbag Frog. “BB” stands for beanbag. “Frösch” is German for frog—a nod to the years I spent growing up in Switzerland.

BB Frösch became the name of my business in 2014. Later that year, on December 23, my son Jordan passed away unexpectedly. The experience changed us in difficult, challenging ways that could have torn us apart. One of the reasons I believe it didn’t is the business that had been my hobby became a family business where we all had a place, and it saved us. BB Frösch was, once again, an answer to a prayer—a prayer that hadn’t even been uttered yet.

One of my favorite things in sharing the story of the beanbag frog is hearing others’ beanbag frog stories. I’ll bet you have a few of your own! Next time you lose something, or next time you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, remember the beanbag frog. Remember that the same someone who loved a little girl enough to help her find her frog loves you and wants nothing more than to help you find what you’re looking for…you just have to ask.

More than Just a Jar of Powder

BB Frösch is more than a little jar of powder. The little jar of powder is now called BB Frösch Paint Transformer for the obvious reason—it literally transforms ordinary paint, but BB Frösch is about more than transforming paint. I’ve witnessed it transform people as they’ve discovered talents and creativity they didn’t know they had.

It is about leaving furniture better than we find it and, more importantly, leaving people better than we find them. We call it The Frösch Effect. In our BB Frösch journey, we’ve discovered dated, ugly “misfit” pieces, cheap marketplace finds, kicked-to-the-curb freebies, forgotten attic gems, several “no way, no how, hopeless, needs-a-complete-overhaul” pieces that were dumpster bound. We’ve found affordable ways to give second chances, breath new life into, and in some cases, completely transform those pieces.

Much as furniture gets forgotten and dusty, kicked-to-the-curb, called “ugly and hopeless,” broken and damaged…it happens to people too. Every day we come across people with a story. Whether their struggle is big or small, something as simple as a smile, a kind word, or a boost of encouragement can make all the difference.

We’ve found as much joy in applying “The Frosch Effect” to people as we do to furniture, and we hope BB Frösch helps you find the same joy!

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