A Tulsa “Overachiever” Opens her Second Pinot’s Palette FranchisePinot's Palette
“I love that people are having a great time doing something they didn’t’ think they could do – that’s probably the best part of my job. I tell people all the time that I sell fun. People love Pinot’s Palette.”
The first time Lisa Riley visited Pinot’s Palette, it was as a customer. At the time, she was working in a management position for a large Houston oil refinery. A client took a group from her company to the paint and sip studio as a thank-you gift.
“I’d never heard of Pinot’s Palette,” Riley says. “I don’t paint. I’m not artistic at all. But I’m game to try anything. So, I went – and I fell in love with it.”
Riley told her friends about her experience, and for about two years after that first class, Pinot’s Palette was their favorite place to go for the occasional “girls’ night.” It was during one of these outings that she first began thinking about opening her own franchise.
“I’d just had a baby and I had zero help in Houston. I wanted to be back in Tulsa with family,” says Riley, an Oklahoma native. “My girlfriends and I were at Pinot’s Palette one night, and I said, ‘My husband and I trying to move back to Tulsa – we could move home and open one of these!’”
Riley came home and told her husband about her plan. “He thought I was cuckoo,” she says. “He said, ‘You work at a refinery – what are you thinking?’ But then we started doing some research. Seven months later, we bought the franchise. Nine months later, we opened our studio in Tulsa.”
Finding the “Right Partners”
Riley researched more than 10 franchises before she finally decided on Pinot’s Palette. She says she liked the fact that the company seemed selective about who became a franchise owner.
“Pinot’s Palette wasn’t going to sell a franchise to everyone that called,” she says. “They care about the quality. And I didn’t want to be a part of a franchise that would sell to just anyone. I strive to be an overachiever, and I wanted to find the right partners.”
Riley bought her franchise in July, and she moved up to Tulsa with her new baby to begin the build out of her new studio. Her husband, who worked for a gas company in Houston, stayed behind in Texas until he found a job in Oklahoma.
Riley says the Pinot’s Palette team provided just the right balance of guidance and freedom as she prepared for her grand opening. “They will guide you in the right direction – but you have to learn how to do it. It’s your business to run,” she says. “But they’re always there as a compass to make sure you’re heading in the right direction. They’re always available for calls. I very much appreciated that. They are way more thorough than other franchises I researched.”
That guidance was especially helpful as Riley went through the process of obtaining a liquor license. The Tulsa studio was the first Pinot’s Palette franchise outside of Texas. And, because Oklahoma’s liquor laws don’t permit BYOB, Riley’s studio also became the first Pinot’s Palette studio to have its own bar.
Having it All
Riley’s studio has proven to be a huge success: She says her classes are sold out nearly every night. Because her studio has its own bar, she’s able to offer fun events like $5 mimosas for Mother’s Day. She loves the fact that she can set her own schedule, and she says the franchise’s Internet-based PTS system makes it easy to take care of the day-to-day tasks associated with owning her business.
In fact, Riley has been so happy with her experience as a Pinot’s Palette franchise owner that she recently opened her second franchise – it was an easy decision, she says. Her second studio, located in a suburb of Tulsa, opened in April.
Riley has a lot on her plate these days: She owns two successful Pinot’s Palette franchises, and the self-described overachiever spends a lot of time in her studio, ensuring that things are running smoothly. She loves the work, though, and she says that being a Pinot’s Palette owner is the perfect job for a busy mom. The hours are flexible, and her whole family is involved in the business: Her husband, who works full-time in the oil and gas industry steps in to bartend every now and then. Her father, an experienced carpenter, has helped her design and implement specialized equipment, such as custom paintbrush holders. Her two-year-old son loves coming up to the studio to paint and color.
Pinot’s Palette has provided Riley with a way to “have it all”: She achieved her dream of moving back to Tulsa. She gets to spend time with her family and run two successful businesses at the same time. And best of all, she’s having a blast.
“My favorite thing is seeing people smiling and having fun,” she says. “I love that people are having a great time doing something they didn’t’ think they could do – that’s probably the best part of my job. I tell people all the time that I sell fun. People love Pinot’s Palette.”