MONMOUTH — For Buffy Dumont and her daughter, Abby, the search for a new mother-daughter activity turned into a business selling paint-party kits that tapped into mom’s financial background and her daughter’s creativity.

Buffy, Abby and Dumont’s husband, Dan, started Chalky & Company a year ago out of their Monmouth mudroom.

It’s grown to nearly 600 sales consultants across the country and they’re getting ready to break ground this fall on a 5,000-square-foot “Chalky Campus” that will house production and distribution.

For now, the company operates out of that mudroom, their garage and the former police station on Main Street.

Its flagship product is an all-natural “painter’s powder” that mixes with latex paint for a quick-drying, vintage, “chalky” finish. It’s sold in kits that start at $25 with foam brushes and wood cutouts, packed in boxes printed to look like vintage trunks.

Kits are sold Avon-style: Customers peruse a catalog, mixing and matching, then buy from their local sales rep, who hosts the painting party at a set time.

“Right now, pineapples are trending and we knew that a month ago; nobody else knew it, so we created a pineapple (wood cutout),” Dumont, a former Androscoggin Bank vice president, said during a tour last week as she picked up the cutout.

The pineapple isn’t called a pineapple, however. The shape’s name is “Hospitality.” Paint colors include Eeek, Gerber Love and Moosehide Brown.

Dumont, 41, said the idea for Chalky & Company started percolating in November 2014. She and Abby, then 15, were drifting apart. Dumont began experimenting with different chalk paint formulas, different drying times and looks. 

“We started painting together,” she said. “And my friends started saying, ‘Why don’t you come to our house? Why don’t you show me how to do that?'”

Dumont had experience with direct sales, having been a Scentsy consultant for eight years. After months of research, she sold her 1972 Beetle convertible for the start-up capital and last June they made the company official. A website and catalogue followed last fall.

She believes the idea of a shared experience sets their company and its products apart. 

“People were sitting around a table, taking their cellphones, putting them away, and talking to each other,” she said. “They were learning how to transform something very basic into something very beautiful.”

The company has independent consultants in 47 states. They pay $99 for an introductory sales kit and a $10 monthly website fee. In return, they receive a commission check every month based on sales. Dumont said about 20 percent of her reps sell Chalky & Company paints as their full-time job. The most successful reps host 10 or more parties a month.

Locally, a staff of nine employees, most in the former police station at 767 Main St., assemble and ship.

Special needs adults from Gallant Therapy Services volunteer twice a week to pack and assemble to pick up job skills.

Most days start at 6:30 a.m., pulling the previous day’s orders and getting everything ready to ship by 2 p.m. Dumont said she pulls and packs right alongside everyone.

“It’s all manual, while keeping up with our website demands,” she said.

Dan, who owns Armand’s Auto Body in Lewiston, oversees the wood shop after hours. The couple’s younger children also pitch in.

“Benjamin makes the brush kits — he’s 10,” Dumont said. “Christopher’s 16; he sands. Abigail helps me with the videos.”

She hopes to have 25 employees in the new space, which they’d like to finish by December. The main building will look like a large barn to fit in with the community’s character and the company’s vintage look.

“We’re definitely experiencing explosive growth,” she said. 

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