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Are you looking for an interesting twist on your usual Girls Night Out? Are you tired of the same old scene?
Pinot's Palette is opening in Staten Island, New York. This Saturday, March 1st. So grab your friends and come enjoy a great time with Pinot's Palette!
The idea behind Pinot's Palette is to be able to sip wine and create art. It is the first upscale paint & sip studio to be offered on Staten Island. In two or three hours, their customers can create any number of festive, whimsical and pretty paintings while sipping on your favorite wine or beer. No art experience is required – just a sense of fun!
I think this is a remarkable alternative to be able to let your imagination wander and create a piece of artwork that you can treasure forever, or to have something memorable from a special event that you may have partaken in. You can bring your friends or even a date! From their main room to their party room, the opportunities of what Pinot's Palette has to offer are endless.
It is a unique and cultural idea for birthdays, girls night out, bachelorette parties, even children's parities! (Minus the alcohol of course!) You can even purchase gift certificates! Talk about cutting-edge in terms of gift giving.
Pinot Palette’s opened Nov. 22 in Santa Clarita offering customers an experience – the chance to learn to paint and taste the various wines and beers sold at the store.
After years in corporate America, and with a toddler in hand, co-owner Stephanie Sewell had one of those “aha moments,” she said.
Working in human resources for Westfield and Princess Cruises, Sewell said she managed the employee benefit programs for thousands of employees. With the cruise line company, she handled the programs for employees around the world – for those on land and based on ships.
Inspired by her daughter, Sewell wanted her child to grow up and see that work can be fun and personally rewarding, she said. So she struck out on her own, with the support of her husband and her mother as co-owner, to open a small business.
“Business ownership was always a goal of mine to achieve,” she said.
When pursuing her education, Sewell almost went to art school but “her right brain said ‘No, you’ll never make it,’” she said.
After giving in to the dictates of her right brain for 15 years, Sewell took a step back and accepted that she was not following her own passions.
After looking into several franchise opportunities that allowed her to balance parenting with work, Sewell opted to buy a franchise.
The business model includes a “paint and sip studio” where customers come in for art classes – conducted by artists with degrees in fine art.
“I decided use the business experience I’ve accumulated over the years and marry my passion for art, wine and fun,” she said.
The Granary Square studio in Valencia is 1,500 square feet and can seat up to 46 practiced or aspiring artists.
Paying a flat fee and ongoing royalties for the franchise, Sewell and her mother/partner, Kathy Guccione, also signed on for a five-year lease and that’s when the reality of owning her own business hit home.
“It was very scary, very frightening,” she said.
Franchisee Pinot Palette states over half of their studios are women-owned businesses because of the flexibility in schedule the business allows. And entry requirements are moderate, requiring only a minimum of $80,000 in liquid assets. Opened in 2009, the Texas-based business began franchising in California this year.
Budding artists or friends out for a collective experience can buy beer or wine by the glass or bottle. Classes can be reserved online, or while in the store or by phone.
And the spirits don’t hurt in loosening up peoples’ creative juices, Sewell admits. But the studio also encourages people to come in early so they can relax while the owners and artists work to make customers as comfortable as possible. Pinot’s Palette also holds themed art classes like the upcoming one planned Sunday for “football widows.”
After class, customers can purchase frames for their artwork if desired.
While Pinot’s Palette combines the appreciation of art and wine, it caters to lots of people who have never painted before as art instructors lead customers through each stage of constructing a work of art onto canvass.
“We turn up the music, mingle, socialize, take breaks and serve snacks to make sure everyone is really comfortable,” Sewell said.
Mari Sokolowski couldn’t have timed the opening of Pinot’s Palette more perfectly: Valentine’s Day weekend.
She said a night of drinking wine and creating a beautiful painting is the perfect Valentine’s Day celebration.
“We need a reason to come together and be face to face with our loved ones, our families, our friends and our acquaintances,” said Sokolowski, development director for Pinot’s Palette, who with her husband, Mark, recently moved here from the company’s headquarters in Houston to open the studio. “This is a great place for dates and first dates.”
Pinot’s Palette was started by friends Craig Ceccanti, Charles Willis, and Willis’s wife, Beth, in 2009. In just more than four years, the company has expanded to four corporately owned studios and 64 franchises around the country, including a Naperville location.
“At the core, we really focus on the fun night out,” said Ceccanti, who explained that both he and Charles are engineers by trade. “It’s something different, and you’re going to leave with a really nice painting. It’s a memorable night.”
Ceccanti said he came up with the idea for Pinot’s Palette over a decade ago, when his mom took his family to a painting class that he and his brother really didn’t want to attend.
“We weren’t very excited about it so we took a six pack of beer with us and the idea of enjoying a drink while painting always stuck with me,” Ceccanti said.
Ceccanti hired Sokolowski in 2011 to design a marketing program for the company and to sell franchises. When she decided to open her own franchise, Sokolowski said choosing the location was a no-brainer.
“It was always Glenview, it was always the Glen,” said Sokolowski, who is originally from Chicago, and who worked in media planning prior to Pinot’s Palette. “This type of entertainment-driven development is exactly where we need to be. There are things to do before and after like restaurants or a movie.”
Pinot’s Palette offers two- or three-hour classes to the public, and is designed for date nights, girls nights out, office get-togethers and family outings. The studio is also available for private events like birthday parties, bachelorette parties, Girl Scout meetings and fundraisers.
When guests arrive, they spend the first 30 minutes socializing and enjoying beer, wine, and cocktails, which they can purchase from the bar.
“Art and wine appreciation have been around for centuries,” Sokolowski said. “That’s nothing new. But this is less about the art and more about having fun. But in order for that to happen, the art has to be good, too.”
With professional artists teaching the classes, guests are guided step by step on creating the featured painting of the day, which can be a landscape, a replica of a famous painting, a cityscape or a custom design.
“Many people who come in have not picked up a paintbrush in decades, and I think we change those people’s outlook,” said Sokolowski. “We surprise ourselves and we get a sense of pride. That feeling of accomplishment is incredible.”
Pinot’s Palette plans to open three additional locations in Chicagoland this year.
Pinot’s Palette in Bricktown, Oklahoma is a great night out for singles, couples, or groups! I was recently given the opportunity to attend a painting session at Pinot’s Palette and found it to be a relaxed, entertaining place!
Upon arrival, each guest is greeted by the class host who explains the ins and outs of the venue along with seating the guests. The tables are positioned in the center with each guests’ name written in chalk at their area, which was a nice personalized touch. The class was very easy going; attendees were able to get up and move around freely throughout the event. If extra paint was needed you could motion for more, or simply get up and get any amount needed. The drink attendant was eagerly watching out to bring refills upon request.
Patrons are able to bring food to the venue with a couple tables provided to hold any food you wish to snack on, however, the venue itself didn’t provide any type of snacks for the class. There is a new pizza restaurant, “Knuckles Wheelhouse,” located just above the studio that will deliver pizza by the slice or an entire pie! The class is approximately 2-2.5 hours long with 2-3 10 minute breaks throughout to allow for canvases to dry allowing ample time to enjoy yourself along with a little food and beverage.
The Artists are readily available to give table side instructions to anyone who needs them, but it isn’t really needed because the instructions given are extremely fool proof! Guests arrive without having ever painted and leave with a painting that looks professional! It is amazing how the class really walks you through the extremely awesome paintings step by step until your masterpiece is complete!
I had an extremely great girl’s night along with my friend, Kristen, pictured with me above! There were both boys and girls at the painting, though, so feel free to bring everyone along! Photos are taken throughout the night as well as group photos at the end of each session. These are then uploaded to facebook and attendees are encouraged to tag themselves in the photos or download and keep as well. I highly recommend Pinot’s Palette for a night out, girl’s night, date night, or a fun birthday gathering! I was extremely excited to hear a birthday announcement during our class. The birthday girl was presented with a Pinot’s Palette stemware! There is no extra charge for this! If you attend on or near your birthday, simply let them know at registration and you will receive one as well!
Pinot’s Palette has an upcoming event titled “Paint your pet” in which you send in a photo of your pet, they put a stencil on your canvas of your pet, and walk you through the steps of painting YOUR pet!
**There is no parking lot designated for Pinot’s Palette, so we were required to pay to park across the street at a $5 lot. This is a common practice among the Bricktown venues. Pinot’s Palette is located on the Bricktown Canal which made for a nice stroll to and from the parking lot!
In the mobile era, consumers want to get information, inquire about services and make purchases at the touch of a button on their tablet computers and smartphones. This presents golden opportunities for marketing executives, who see the value in extending this channel not only to customers, but also to other key players in the value chain such as employers and partners.
However, fulfilling the promise of this new form of engagement requires more than simply scaling down a website to fit on a smaller screen. A compelling mobile strategy requires that marketers design, develop and deploy mobile apps that are capable of delivering a range of online services, from product communications to fresh content, unique specials and even gaming.
Pinot’s Palette, a chain of "sip ’n paint" retail establishments that cater to women who wish to relax with friends while learning to paint works of art, employs a namesake app that runs on Apple iPhone and enables customers to book appointments and preview potential projects.
"It will do a lot of what our website does as far as people being able to find their locations and select their class," says Charles Willis, co-founder and president of the chain. The mobile app has some additional features, such as geo-targeting to show customers the closest locations. Another feature is a flip carousel that enables customers to view paintings. The app also provides data to Pinot’s Palette decision makers, providing insights on what types of services customers prefer.
"We have a lot of great data there," says Craig Ceccanti, co- founder and CEO. "Our data architecture is set up in a way that we can look at customers across usage of software platforms. We’ve got good visibility into what customers are doing where and some of their habits. Which is great intelligence for our franchisees—it’s all about being able to target our promotions. A lot of times, we’ll have birthdays and anniversaries, they can do push notifications for those as well."
As the technology platform continues to grow, "we can get more sophisticated with our engagements, and do things like offer 30% discounts to customers who haven’t been to Pinot’s Palette in the last six months," says Ceccanti. "We can even offer promotions to customers based on their frequency."