Rachel Bates

Case Study: Rachel Bates

Family provides inspiration for Somerset mum of three, Rachel Bates, and her award-winning decorating business. 


 

When Rachel Bates became a single mum in 2014, her priority was to find a new job that would pay the bills and provide more flexibility to support her three sons, Lewis, Calum, and Eli. After seeking the advice of neighbours and friends – many of which were tradespeople – the former estate agent settled on the idea of pursuing a new career as a painter and decorator.

Fast forward to today and Rachel is now the owner of a thriving, award-winning decorating company that has brought colour and life to her local community in Chard, Somerset. Building her reputation as a highly-skilled female decorator through word of mouth and referrals, Rachel has never openly advertised the fact she is a tradeswoman – instead letting her painting and decorating abilities speak for themselves.

But the focus of her BATES&MiSONS business remains squarely on her family. She says: “As a single mum with three kids, it was hard finding a job that I could plan around the school hours of my children. When I spoke to friends who worked in decorating, I liked the idea of being able to earn while choosing your own work hours”.

“The decision to go into decorating was purely to support my family. Even the name ‘MiSONS’ literally means ‘my sons’, with the little ‘i’ representing me back when I started the business by myself. But I also promised myself that if I was committing to this, I wanted to learn as much as I could and become the best decorator I could be.”

Rachel has made a name for herself by offering high quality painting & decorating services for clients, specialising in areas such as wallpapering and airless and HVLP spraying.

“I now work together with my partner and work partner, Luke, and we turn out some really nice work, which is quite skilled. When I started, I went on numerous training courses to learn as much as I could about painting and decorating. I’m now a Repair Care contractor and a Dulux Select Decorator. I’ve been on numerous Dulux Academy training days, including their Digital Murals, Wallpapering, and Kitchen Spraying courses, which have been hugely helpful, and we receive great support and advice through the Dulux Academy Facebook page too.”

Rachel Bates painting

Rachel is also passionate about giving back to her community, with her business helping to transform the lives of local residents. This included supporting the nearby Pip’s Railway Carriage Café in Lophead, which saw Rachel and Luke offering free decorating services to the business to help it recover from the effects of the pandemic. Her efforts led to her being recognised with a Dulux Select Decorators Award in the Adding Colour to People’s Lives category last year.

“It was a lovely project – we had everyone from the chef to the manager of the business decorating by the end. We still have a sideboard outside the café that promotes the work we did, which goes to show how important it was to them and their customers. We also gained several jobs and a lot of good word of mouth from people hearing about the project.”

Rachel says she is proud to be a female decorator and would encourage other women to join the trade. She adds that more must be done to address the barriers that are still preventing women from considering a decorating career.

“As a woman, I’ve experienced some challenges along the way. I’ve been on some jobs where customers would direct all questions at Luke – despite the fact that it’s my company! I also struggled to find workwear catered to women early on in my career, although this has improved in recent years.

“But at the same time, it’s a brilliant job to be in and you’re able to turn out beautiful work that you can take real pride in. I’ve also had lots of praise from people when they see me in town with my decorating whites on. If I were to retire tomorrow, those are the positive aspects I’ll always remember.”