When Cinnaminson resident Christopher Stem was 17 years old, he began researching ways to make extra cash. With a passion for art and creativity, Stem stumbled across an interesting idea – painting curbs. While Stem had trouble starting the business, it has now grown to a level that constantly keeps him busy.
“Basically, I started off painting black and white numbers,” said Stem. “When I was a senior in high school, I started looking for a side hustle online. I saw that people were cutting out their own number figures and I figured that I could also do that and make different designs.
“I was always a creative kid growing up,” Stem continued. “I took the idea and started going door-to-door. At first, a lot of people were saying ‘no.’ I think it was because of that taboo feeling towards solicitors. But eventually I started to join different Facebook groups and posting my work there. After that, I was starting to get more attention.”
According to Stem, the number of people wanting to have their curb painted grew after putting his work on Facebook, however, it didn’t fully blow up until Stem began to offer custom designs.
“It kind of blew up more than I could handle,” said Stem.”Honestly, I love the ability to create art, but the entrepreneurship side is something that I have developed a love for. I created Curbside Creations to pursue art and to make a little money, but seeing it grow into what it is now, I’ve probably had one of the biggest growths in my life.
“It feels so accomplishing,” Stem continued. “It has opened so many more doors and I have been able to meet so many great people. That’s really another cool thing about it. I meet so many different people with different backgrounds, everyone knows different things and it leads to different opportunities.”
Prior to meeting all of these different types of people, Stem initially had to find out if he could actually paint in certain towns. Outside of finding someone who wanted their curb painted, Stem had to make sure he could legally do it. While some towns would not allow it, he has painted in Cinnaminson, Delran, Cherry Hill, Willingboro, Burlington, Maple Shade and many others.
“For the most part, I’ve only had a couple towns say that I couldn’t paint, but typically the police department condones it, especially in Cinnaminson,” said Stem. “They actually like when I do it because it helps the first responders to find the home easier. That was actually my original marketing plan. I would tell people how helpful it was to the police or fire department.
“There was actually this one time when someone hired me to go paint their curb,” Stem continued. “While I was painting it, this guy came out and started yelling. It turned out that someone had pranked him and wanted me to paint a different team than who he liked. When it happened I was very apologetic, but once we figured it out we all laughed about it.”
Those who are interested in getting their curb painted can message Stem at Curbside Creations on Facebook. Prices range from $30 to $50 and are based on the complexity of the design.