Sisu (pronounced si’-soo) is a Finnish term describing strength, determination, tenacity, courage and grit. One possessing Sisu will make sure a job is well done, no matter what it takes. My Finnish father called it “intestinal fortitude” and to us, Sisu perfectly embodies the virtues and values upon which we have built our company!
Tough as nails and not afraid to break one!
Sisu Painting, Inc. is proud to be Oregon’s premier 100% women-owned painting company specializing in interior and exterior residential painting. Sisu is certified by the State of Oregon as a Women Business Enterprise and an Emerging Small Business. Sisu Painting Inc. is a certified lead-safe firm.
Established in 1995, Sisu Painting has continued to grow and thrive under the experienced direction of current owners Nancy Long and Cylina Sanchez. Sisu’s personalized service focuses on the unique needs of home remodelers, home owners and designers. A large and satisfied client base reflects the highest standard of customer service and a commitment to building long term relationships. You can count on Sisu to deliver the highest quality products, thorough preparations, and proven techniques for every project, large or small.
Established in 1995, Sisu Painting has continued to grow and thrive under the experienced direction of current owners Nancy Long and Cylina Sanchez. Learn more about the owners of Sisu Painting and their dedicated team of professionals who are here to serve any and all of your painting needs.
Nancy LongBoss Lady
After spending several years working two jobs to make ends meet; Nancy, a single mom decided to go into the construction business for herself. She didn’t have any real experience or skills one might depend on, but from her Finnish father she had inherited a hardworking tenacity and a fighting spirit he referred to as “sisu.” You may get to know Nancy during your bid appointment or during the color consultation, and Nancy's energy and passion for her business means that she's dedicated to a perfect job for every client!
Cylina SanchezQueen of All Things Paint
You will surely meet Cylina when she is visiting your jobsite and checking in with you to make sure everything is running smoothly. If you are fortunate, you’ll hire Cylina to work her magic with specialty finishes. Cylina’s artistic nature makes her the master at Italian lime plasters as well as the other half of this very dedicated owner team who works tirelessly to make sure your painting project comes out just right! Both Cylina and Nancy love the great outdoors; especially hiking, snow shoeing, back packing or spending time with family and friends.
Michael HawkinsThe Bid Whisperer
Michael Hawkins made an exciting career change in 2015 when he joined Sisu Painting, Inc. as Sales Manager and Estimator to help launch the business into the next level of premiere fine finish services in the Portland Metro market. It was a natural fit for Michael to join Sisu Painting by bringing his experience in sales, customer service and communication skills. Michael enjoys the Portland culture scene and also plays piano any chance he gets! Michael also enjoys riding his bicycle and spending time with his partner, parents and his wine tasting friends.
Alyssa UsreyFMW (Freakin' Miracle Worker)
Alyssa Usrey is your FMW (Frickin’ Miracle Worker) who happens to get just as excited about your paint job as she does about her dogs. Alyssa will be handling your contract, the schedule and countless details of your project with professionalism, determination and enthusiasm. Her contagious cheerfulness is guaranteed to brighten your day! Alyssa is learning archery and enjoys spending time in her garden. She’s an excellent baker and safe and respectful motorcyclist. Her weekends are spent berry picking, hiking, playing with her dog and eating chocolate.
After spending several years working two jobs to make ends meet, Nancy, a single mom decided to go into the construction business for herself. She didn’t have any real experience or skills one might depend on, but from her Finnish father she had inherited a hardworking tenacity and a fighting spirit he referred to as “sisu.”
After spending one day working with two women who owned a construction cleaning business, Nancy applied for her own CCB (Construction Contractor’s Board) license and suddenly found herself in business for herself. With a lot of luck, support and hard work, Nancy had booked enough cleaning clients within her first two weeks to quit her day jobs…and she never looked back.
Nancy was a quick study and began to learn about the construction business by being on job sites and asking a lot of questions. After spending a couple of years cleaning, a client asked her if she knew anyone who could paint an apartment interior on short notice. Without giving it too much thought, she volunteered. Nancy knew little to nothing about painting and, after spending an entire day with a paintbrush in her hand and making very little money for her efforts, she was reduced to tears. Nancy felt defeated. However, a few days later when the same client called asking for more painting, she suddenly found herself learning how to paint and running a second business. Marketing her painting services to her cleaning clients was productive and she spent her days honing her skills with a brush and roller and working harder than ever before.
Cylina joined Nancy in 2001 as her partner and they decided it was time to learn to paint exteriors. They approached a current client, asking if they could do an exterior paint job for them for the cost of the paint and sundries. The client jumped on their offer and gave them a 100 year-old craftsman style house for their first project. What a house to cut their teeth on, and what a learning experience!
Cylina and Nancy worked so hard on that house and, within just a few days, they presented a beautiful paint job that got rave reviews from the property manager. That company promptly contracted Nancy and Cylina to paint several more exteriors and interiors.
"The Sisu painters did an absolutely amazing job. The attention to detail was incredible. Owner and workers were always on time. Estimate was highly detailed. Owner went over every step of the process and painters exceeded our..."Dennis G., NW Portland
"We love this company and have used them for four separate projects in the last two years. We plan on using them again in the future and won't even bother getting bids from any other company. SISU is the right company to choose!!”Gregory G., Portland
"Sisu Painting was responsive, professional, and detail-oriented. They gave me an estimate, and a few days later started the job, on the day requested. They did a great job. The room looks 20 years younger, and it worked out well..."Paul C., Portland
In those days, Cylina and Nancy worked long hours painting for several management companies around town. The ladders were heavy and the work was hard on their bodies, but their business was thriving and they were happy… until the economy began to decline. Suddenly, the phone stopped ringing and business screeched to a halt. They realized it was time to change the way they did business. They needed to change their model if they were going to expand and grow. It was time to work smarter, not harder. Nancy credits her Finnish fighting spirit – Sisu – with giving her the courage to move forward in spite of the odds, so it seemed appropriate to call their new company Sisu Painting.
On faith, they hired their first employee. To generate new business, they joined a networking group and hired a business coach. They said they wanted to be the best painting company in town… and they wanted to get there through hard work and honest business practices. This remains their goal, and their commitment.
Thanks to hard work, strategic thinking and the incredible support of their coach and the community, they now spend their days working on the strategic side of our business, always striving to improve the experience for their clients… and for their employees.
It’s been an amazing, terrifying, exhilarating, triumphant journey to grow a small entrepreneurial dream into a thriving, successful business. Nancy and Cylina are so proud of what they have accomplished in a few short years.
Today, Sisu Painting is listed among the highest rated painting companies on Angie’s List, Google, Houzz and Yelp. They owe a debt of gratitude to the clients, partners and employees who have walked with them every step of the way and allowed them to become who they are today. These relationships are the foundation of their business, and they are at the heart of their company.