Monica FitzHerbert: making it in a man’s world

Painting and decorating. It’s a man world. A job traditionally done by hearty males clad in overalls. Or is it?

Meet Monica FitzHerbert. Monica who runs Monica’s Miracles - a painting and decorating business - from her home in Hanwell, is helping to break down preconceived barriers about what is considered to be a job for the boys.

As slim as a greyhound, Monica doesn’t look exactly as you’d imagine but she’s a dab hand with a brush and believes that her business’ name is apt, because it can sometimes feel like a revelation when customers see her finished work.

“I enjoy my job,” she says. “I enjoy meeting people and the satisfaction of the outcome of my work. I can go into a mess and when I come out, it looks like a palace.”

Painting and decorating were always in the background for Monica growing up: “I used to love the smell of paint as a child,” she reveals.

It’s something that Monica’s mother, Kay FitzHerbert, can attest to. Kay, who officially adopted Monica when she was five and has put her forward for the ‘Business Champion’ category of our Pride Awards, believes Monica was born with a brush in her hand.

“Once the adoption process had been finalised in court, I asked Monica what she would like as an adoption present. She asked - at five years of age - for a tool kit!” Kay told the Ealing Gazette.

Aged 19, Monica enrolled on a City and Guilds course at Hammersmith and West London college. She subsequently spent 20 years working for different companies, mainly on building sites, before  - in a world where most of us are guilty of taking the easy option - deciding to take the plunge and set up her own business.

“I am incredibly proud of her,” says Kay. “Establishing and managing any business is challenging at the best of times, but the way in which Monica has held her own in a traditionally male industry during a recession, is remarkable. She’s remarkable: strong, determined and conscientious. She does all my painting and decorating for me and always does a fantastic job.”

Monica thinks her gender can be advantageous as it means she brings things to the job, which her alpha male counterparts cannot. “We [women] can do things differently. A lot of tradesmen can be very messy but I always tidy up well, before I leave. You hardly know I’ve been there.”

She adds: “And it can be less intimidating to have a woman rather than a man in your home, especially for elderly women living on their own and people like that.”

Email Monica at monicas.miracles@gmail.com or call 07916 299 590 or 020 8787 5985 to find out more.