Townsend turns passion for painting into business

Published 8:20 am Monday, November 8, 2021

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Stephanie Townsend has always loved painting so much she created her own business called The Coral Cactus.

Townsend began The Coral Cactus seven years ago as a traveling paint party business. “A paint party is a group of people that get together for some fun and fellowship and painting of course. I travel as far north as Luverne and as far south as Florala. I have been to churches, schools, homes, or anywhere a group wants to paint. I’ve painted with groups indoors and even in their front yards,” she said.

She decided to start the business because of her love for painting and wanted to do something different. “I decided I was tired of the 9 to 5 job and needed a change. I wanted to do what I love and needed an outlet for my creativeness and a way to help provide for our family. Painting became the key, and I decided to host my very first class and invite the public. I was so nervous no one would come,” Townsend said.

According to Townsend, when 14 ladies showed up the very first night, it was the jumpstart she needed to launch her business. “I’ve been paint partying ever since.”

When a party is booked, Townsend brings all the supplies and instructs them to paint their own masterpieces. She teaches each person individually, but those who cannot make it to a class can request custom orders. “Almost every person that comes to a class always tells me they cannot paint or they are not creative. I always ensure them that it doesn’t matter. There is no talent required, and I make sure each person goes home with a sign they are proud to display,” she said.

The Coral Cactus actually got its name around the same time she began painting. “It came about before the craze of the plant. I was going for something catchy and thought it was perfect,” she said.

She makes wooden signs for every season and holiday and also makes them year-round. Her creations can be found on her Facebook and Instagram pages.

Townsend is currently working out of a small shop in her backyard right now. “Up until last year, almost every sign was created in my dining room. God bless my family for putting up with door hangers everywhere at times. Being in my own space is much better now. I don’t have a shop that is open to the public, but that’s my dream for the future. I hope to serve the city with a shop one day in town. I would love to be somewhere kids come take painting classes in the summer, and their moms can come for a night of fun,” Townsend said.

When ordering a custom sign, she said it usually takes about three weeks from beginning to end. “I hand cut each sign myself and also book two paint parties per week. Between those, I squeeze in as many orders as I can handle. I did invest in a laser machine, but it only cuts the fancy stuff I can’t do by hand.”

Townsend is doing a craft show at Ensight Eyecare on the bypass today from 2 to 6 p.m. Her favorite decorations to make are hospital door hangers for new babies. “It’s the best. I feel so happy scrolling Facebook seeing proud parents standing in front of a hospital door with a sign I painted and holding that precious new baby,” she said.

Townsend is married to her husband of 20 years, Thomas, and they reside in the Straughn community. Together, they have three children: Tommy, Kaitlyn, and Katherine.

For more information visit The Coral Cactus on Facebook and Instagram or contact Stephanie Townsend directly through her page Stephanie Moore Townsend. “I am so thankful my love for painting allowed me to reach this point and can only go up from here, ” she said.