They quit corporate jobs to paint walls for a cause close to their hearts; meet the owners of Racine’s Swatch Dog painting | Local News
ROOT – Chris Baker and Ashley Vance want to be “Swatch Dogs”.
It’s a pun for their new paint business, Swatch Dog Painting. It means being a watchdog over themselves and their practice, making sure they are doing a good job, and also being a watchdog for their clients, for whom they want the best.
Oh, and they love dogs too. With their mission to donate and help charities and nonprofits benefit animals, the smart name booed them on the nose.
Leaving the corporate world
Swatch Dog Painting was opened in mid-2021 by owners Baker and Vance, a Mount Pleasant couple who have known each other since college.
Before officially owning a business together, the couple were independent contractors who started painting full time in 2018.
They quit corporate jobs to start working for themselves. Baker wore many hats in sales, customer service, and marketing, and Vance worked in communications, marketing, and special events.
âI didn’t want to sit at a desk,â Vance said. “It’s getting too monotonous.”
âI never saw myself being a painterâ¦ One day I had a job I didn’t like, and the next day I started painting with a brother of mine,â Baker said. “From there, it kind of turned into, ‘This is what we’re doing now’â¦ and we love to do it.”
Vance said being able to work for herself made her feel independent and, in turn, fulfilled. âIt’s up to usâ¦ the harder you work and the more you invest in it, the more rewarding it is. “
Swatch Dog Painting dedicates 10% of its profits in the form of donations to local and national non-profit charities for the benefit of animals. Some organizations that they have helped in the past, before officially opening as a business, include Lakeland Animal Shelter in Delavan, PAWS Chicago and local and national humanitarian societies.
More recently, the duo volunteered to paint the lobby of Rescue of the Woof gang – a non-profit all-volunteer dog rescue in Racine, located at 1906 Melvin Avenue – as the kick-off for close collaboration with other local organizations.
Jodie Hoffmann-Ruffalo, executive director of Woof Gang, said she once received an email from Swatch Dog offering to paint the lobby out of the blue.
“I’ve never heard of them beforeâ¦ but now if someone asks them where they can adopt a dog they’ll say Woof Gang Rescue, or if someone asks me if I know anyone who can paint , I will say Swatch Dog Paint, âsaid Hoffmann-Ruffalo.
She added that as a small business owner it is more difficult to compete with large companies, which is why it is important to stay connected as a small business. âIt’s nice to know that people are willing to give back. “
After voluntarily painting their lobby, the owners of Swatch Dog also made a surprise monetary donation to Woofgang Rescue.
The couple chose to stand up for animal shelters and organizations because they have always loved dogs. A few years ago, they adopted their own “son of a dog”; Huck, a mix of Pitbull, German Shepherd, Husky and Border Collie.
As they step out of the paint industry, Baker and Vance hope to continue to give back and set an example for other businesses, local and large, to participate in their communities.
âWe want to impact as positively as possible on our own community, in our own backyard,â Baker said.
Vance continued, “We want to do more than what is expected and encourage other companies, other companies to do the same.”
IN PHOTOS: Thousands of bags of pet food and cat litter distributed by Woof Gang Rescue Sunday