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Local Interior Designer Lands Spot on HSN With Her Paint Tool Invention
Paint Behind inventor Susie Ries.

Local Interior Designer Lands Spot on HSN With Her Paint Tool Invention

Susie Ries debuts the Paint Behind on national TV.

Two months after launching Paint Behind in Ace Hardware stores around the country, Twin Cities interior designer Susie Ries is taking her nifty paint tool live, on national TV. 

Ries will appear on the Home Shopping Network’s (HSN) Household Helpers show from 8 to 9 a.m. CST Wednesday to demonstrate how Paint Behind makes it easier to paint tough-to-reach places. 

“I’ve been an interior designer for over 30 years and figuring out how to paint behind items like toilets has been an ongoing problem,” Ries says. “Most people just avoid it altogether.”

About 8-inches long, 4-inches wide, and shaped like a long spatula, Paint Behind makes it possible to paint behind appliances and heavy furniture, such as toilets, radiators, and hutches, without having to move or remove them. “It’s a self-seller,” Ries says. “Once people see it, they say ‘Oh my gosh, why hasn’t anyone thought of that?’”

The idea for Paint Behind surfaced about nine years ago when Ries decided she'd had enough. After making a successful makeshift tool out of a spatula and foam paint rollers, “I thought, I have something here!” A few manufacturers and several prototypes later, Paint Behind was born.

Ries officially launched the tool about two years ago—the patent process took longer than expected because she had to redesign the handle. “They claimed it was similar to a tool from the 1920s that was used to apply face cream,” she says.   

Paint Behind is sold at Sherwin-Williams nationwide and 258 Ace Hardware stores, as well as on the company’s e-commerce site. The starter kit retails for $20 and includes two washable paint pads and a patented plastic tray that fits the tool’s shape.

Before officially launching in Sherwin-Williams last June, the paint company tested the product in 70 of its stores. The tool was so popular, the company reordered six times during the five-month trial. Now they are reordering weekly, Ries says. She estimates that within the last year 40,000 to 50,000 tools have been sold at Sherwin-Williams stores alone.

HSN could bring even more national attention, along with an entire hour of air time for Ries to talk about it, and even demonstrate painting in a tight spot. This won’t be her first time in front of a camera—Ries has offered design advice on Twin Cities Live, the Channel 5 lifestyle show co-anchored by her daughter Elizabeth Ries. 

Eventually, Ries hopes to get her product in Hirshfield’s and big-box retailers like Lowe’s. She’d like to expand internationally—the product is already being sold in Australia. She’s also exploring brand extensions, one of which is currently patent-pending.

“I have a new invention in my head just about every day,” Reis says. “It’s only a matter of time before I start the next one.”


Paint Behind allows painters to paint hard-to-reach places. (Photo courtesy of Paint Behind)


(Photo courtesy of Paint Behind)