A lot is going on in the world right now, and with more than half of Canadians (64%) worried about new COVID-19 variants potentially arising in the future, there has never been a better time to look at lowering stress levels.
If you’ve already tried meditation apps, aromatherapy candles, and workouts designed to combat stress, and you still feel like something is missing, Toronto-based local business Original Genes might be able to help you.
Led by Stefanie Furgiuele, the founder, creative director, and artist, who initially (and unintentionally) started the brand as a creative outlet from her nine-to-five job, Original Genes specializes in hand-painted new and vintage clothing, live painting events, and at-home painting activities, including paint-by-number kits.
Creative activities, such as painting, are touted for their role in lowering stress, aiding communication, focus, and helping with anxiety and depression. We spoke with Furgiuele to learn more about the impact her take-home paint kits are having on Canadians.
Creating a tool for people to use at home
Throughout the pandemic, Furgiuele has been hosting virtual (and now in person) painting workshops. “They have been wildly popular, but I realize[d] the only people who were benefiting from painting [were] those who attended my workshops,” she tells Daily Hive. “I wanted to create an item that individuals could use on their own and at home, without having to be part of a class.”
After conducting research, she noticed there were no paint-by-number kits on the shelves that were trendy and fun. “Most of them are overly complex or don’t have a minimalistic design. I thought about how I could change this.” This prompted Furgiuele to think of the beautiful landscapes she was mesmerized by when travelling.
“I had a ton of photos from my pre-pandemic trips and chose some of my favourite ones for the paint-by-numbers. The paintings are actually my travel photos turned into digital images,” she notes. Customers can currently shop paint-by-number kits of the Toronto Skyline, NYC Skyline, Porto, Santorini, and a Desert Sunset.
Swapping screen time for embracing art
“Painting, in general, has so many benefits, but my personal favourites are stress relief and reduced screen time,” shares Furgiuele. “I personally spend a lot of time attached to my phone, but when I am painting, I can be away from it for hours. Finding an emotional release like painting allows a person’s mind to relax and let go of all the day-to-day stress factors life throws at you.”
The feedback on the kits to date has been “amazing,” she says. “Nearly every customer has come back to say that they found painting the paint-by-numbers therapeutic. Especially since the stress of trying to use your imagination to create something goes away, the paint-by-numbers [kits] make it easy to paint a masterpiece — just by following the number/colour patterns.”
Furgiuele is working with several retailers that carry her kits, and over the holiday period, she says she exceeded her “sale expectations.” When asked about her best-selling kits, she tells us, “Oddly enough, they are all selling evenly. I truly am surprised.”
The Toronto and NYC kits are “always bought together because they match in colour scheme,” and the “Santorini and Porto designs seem to sell in a pair as well.” Furgiuele plans to “build more painting kits as well as new paint-by-number designs” as she grows her business. “I would love to have some clothing-specific paint kits,” she adds.
Each of the creative kits currently available on the Original Genes website includes a quality template printed on canvas, a set of three brushes, paint pots, instructions for how to complete the kit, and two wall hooks so you can hang up your new home decor piece once it’s finished. The painting can take anywhere from one to three hours — but couldn’t we all benefit from that stress-reducing interlude from our screens?
To order a take-home paint kit, browse the full range of stylish, unique wearables, or book your next paint party in Toronto, visit originalgenes.ca. You can also get the latest updates by following the Original Genes journey on Instagram.