Over her 22-year career, Victoria Simpson Collins’ talent for acid staining has created a niche she hopes to occupy for a long time to come.
“It’s hard for people to understand why a ‘girl’ would be interested in concrete work,” she says. “But once they see how the floors turn out, they see that concrete is an ‘open palette.’ You can create a floor that is only yours, since no two floors are ever the same.”
Simpson — known to some customers as Simpson and others as Collins — took a roundabout route to her career.
“I have a paralegal degree and a music performance degree. Then I was a corporate investment planner for Michelin Tire Corp. for about 12 years,” she says.
Next, Simpson decided to run a bookkeeping business from her home. One of her customers was a distributor for decorative concrete products. “I started keeping the books and learning the products from the bookkeeping standpoint.”
When the distributor decided to get into the installation business, it hired employees. But it had a hard time keeping them. “Over about six years, every time someone would quit, I would take on a little bit more of the business,” Simpson explains. “The salesperson quit, and I became the salesperson. If somebody wouldn’t come in, I would fill in on the crew spot. Then the head of the crew quit, and that meant I was meeting the concrete trucks in the morning and doing a lot of stamped concrete work. Then it was my own pair of yellow boots, and I was pouring concrete every day.
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