Meet the Team: Rebecca Preston
Franchise Owner, Creative Colors International of Fort Worth
Rebecca, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well, I grew up in Troy, Michigan, with the dream of becoming an astronaut. I even went to space camp in Huntsville, Alabama, when I was in fifth grade. That, along with my love for math and science, inspired me to pursue an engineering degree at Purdue University. I didn’t end up an astronaut but did graduate a Boilermaker and am proud to be an engineer just like my Dad. Today, I live in Cleburne, Texas, (Dallas-Ft. Worth area) with my two rescue dogs, Bella and Matilda.
What were you doing prior to becoming a Creative Colors International franchise owner?
After college, I spent six years working for Intel, supervising the manufacturing of semiconductors. Then, I took a job in Irving, Texas, with Abbott Labs, manufacturing medical equipment and computer boards. That was followed by 13 wonderful years working in the defense industry and holding several positions with Raytheon.
How did you end up with Creative Colors International?
Well, after nine years working in Raytheon’s facility in McKinney, Texas, I took a leadership opportunity with Raytheon in Indiana. I loved working for Raytheon in Texas, but the environment in Indiana wasn’t what I was looking for, so I decided to start looking into other opportunities.
I always wanted to own my own business, and having done some homework on franchises, I felt like this was the right choice for me. So, I started working with a franchise consultant to explore opportunities. One day, while on a tour with the industrial engineering group at a recreational vehicle manufacturing facility in Indiana, I found my franchise – Creative Colors International.
An RV manufacturing facility is where you found your franchise?
Seriously, yes. I was intrigued by all these people walking the floor in uniform with these backpacks. I watched as they not only repaired linoleum floors in the RVs, but fixed all kinds of things that had gone wrong during the manufacturing process.
At this point, I was a Six Sigma expert with Raytheon, so I was enthralled with the simplicity of how they were fixing these interiors instead of having to tear everything out and start over. It was cheaper, completely effective and kept the production line moving on schedule.
I sparked up a conversation with one of the uniformed men and learned he was with Creative Colors International. He told me that CCI was a franchise and explained how their process worked. That’s when the light bulb in my head turned on; this was my ticket back to Texas and a new life as an entrepreneur.
I immediately called my franchise consultant and told her to check out Creative Colors International. Two years later, on May 5th, 2014, we opened our location serving the Dallas-Fort Worth and Waco areas.
What makes Fort Worth, Texas, such a great location for Creative Colors International?
There are a few things that make it work, in my opinion. First, RVs are incredibly popular here. When I launched, there were eight RV dealerships in Cleburne, Texas, right outside of Fort Worth, alone. That’s the foundation of my business. RV dealers are a pretty tight group, so once word got around about the work I was doing, the business really took off.
The other big reason Creative Colors International works well here is because of how the Texas heat can destroy old type of repair jobs. In the past, dealers would fix linoleum floors by cutting out the problem section and gluing in a new tile. Unfortunately, the heat in the summertime would cause the glue to break down, causing the patch tile to come loose. It was a mess! Our product doesn’t pull away in the heat, it adheres to the linoleum. Plus, we can dye it to blend in perfectly with the floor.
Why rescue and restore rather than replace?
Where do I begin? I am a big believer in reduce, reuse and recycle, and I hate waste. I want to maximize use for everything I can. Regarding Creative Colors International, we save people thousands of dollars because we can restore most everything used on RV interiors. For example, replacing a linoleum floor in an RV can cost $6,000 to $9,000, whereas restoring it can cost as little as $500. And it’s a quality repair. With proper care, it will last for years!
I always feel good when I am able to save a worn but beautiful piece. I recently fixed a lady’s 20-year-old sofa she had purchased in Italy. Her grandson had poked a hole in one of the cushions, and she was sure she’d have to throw out the sofa. The leather was in great shape otherwise, so I told her that we could repair it, and no one would ever know the difference. She was so delighted when she saw the repair. She called her husband, she called her daughter, anyone who would listen. That’s what’s great about my business.
You don’t just handle RVs though, do you?
Ha, no, though that is a big part of what we do. Fort Worth homes are teeming with leather, so we repair lots of high-end leather sofas, chairs and ottomans that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars to replace. Other than that, we work on the interiors of boats, cars, planes. If it’s made of leather, vinyl, plastic or fabric, we can fix that!
Speaking of rescue, one of your dogs was actually rescued while you were on the job with Creative Colors International, right?
True story! I was working on a motorcoach in Hood County, Texas, when a little, black pitbull puppy walked up to me. She was cute but mangy and wounded. I gave her some water and went back to work in the RV. It’s the middle of August, and I was inside for almost an hour, but when I came back out she was sitting underneath my van trying to take advantage of the shade. She had no ID, so I decided I would take her to a shelter, but I discovered that if I did that, they would probably put her down.
I chose to take her home instead. I got her treated for the worms, had her wound treated, put her on antibiotics and nursed her back to health. That sick, little 10-pound puppy is now a healthy, 68-pound adult.
That’s a terrific story. So what’s next for you and Creative Colors International?
We’re hiring! I have three job openings right now for technicians that I need immediately. Past that, I think we’ll be expanding into more commercial work with places like restaurants. We’ve just been so busy with our RV work that I haven’t had a chance to bring our services to new markets. It’s coming, though.