Best Friends Make the Transition from Stay-at-Home Moms to EntrepreneursPinot's Palette
“Everything was so professional – they never do anything halfway. The Pinot’s Palette team really made you want to be a part of the organization.”
Pam Bartlett and Christa Juergens met through a mutual friend three years ago, and they’ve been friends ever since. When the two women found themselves newly divorced and looking for new careers, they decided to go into business together.
“We were both at a point in our lives where we were looking for the next thing we were going to do,” says Juergens, who worked occasional side jobs as a garden designer and a travel agent while she raised her three daughters. Bartlett left a full-time marketing job at a health care company to become a stay-at-home mom to her son, now 14.
Bartlett says she initially heard about the paint-and-sip concept from a friend. As a self-described “hobby painter,” she was intrigued. She and Juergens signed up for a class offered by a local studio, and they decided that they wanted to learn more. A quick Internet search led them to Pinot’s Palette, and they were impressed by what they saw.
“The only paint-and-sips in Naperville were the ‘traveling’ kind,” says Juergens. “They travel to places and do classes offsite. We really liked the fact that Pinot’s Palette had a studio.”
Bartlett says the support offered by Pinot’s Palette – from the PTS system to the franchisee training and marketing assistance – made the decision to pursue a Pinot’s Palette franchise an easy one. “It was a no-brainer,” Bartlett says.
They contacted the Pinot’s Palette team and arranged to take a trip to Houston to attend the annual Pinot’s Palette retreat to learn more about becoming franchisees. Juergens says that, although they were pretty much sold on the idea of a Pinot’s Palette franchise, their experience at the retreat sealed the deal.
“Everything was so professional – they never do anything halfway. The Pinot’s Palette team really made you want to be a part of the organization,” Bartlett says. “Their system is so comprehensive, and they keep thinking of new things every day.” During their time at the retreat, the two friends had the opportunity to speak with other Pinot’s Palette franchise owners, and they also got a chance to attend a class in one of the franchise’s many Houston-area studios.
“At the class, we discovered that more than half of the people there were repeat customers,” says Juergens. “I was just like, ‘Wow! They keep coming back over and over again!’”
The friends and former stay-at-home moms signed their franchise agreement at the retreat. They returned to their home in Naperville, Illinois, as business partners and entrepreneurs.
Connecting to the Community
Since they signed their franchise agreement, Bartlett and Juergens have been working hard to find just the right location for their Pinot’s Palette studio. They’ve learned a lot, and they say they’re close to clearing their first major milestone: Getting a liquor license.
“Naperville doesn’t have BYOB, so we don’t really fit into any ordinances as they are written,” explains Juergens, who adds that she and Bartlett are pursuing a full liquor license. She says she’s been looking to franchisees in states with similar liquor laws – Kentucky, Colorado, and Oklahoma – for ideas. Although they plan to stick to mostly beer and wine, Juergens says that they will probably take a cue from a few of the other studios with full liquor licenses and offer special cocktail-themed events, like “margarita night.”
Bartlett and Juergens hope to have their studio open by late summer. In the meantime, Bartlett says that their new business venture has already helped them build stronger ties to their community.
“We’re out promoting our business, and we’ve met tons of people. People are really abuzz about it,” she says. “It’s been rewarding. I met the city manager. The mayor knows us. There was an election for city council recently, and we knew three of the council members. We’re really becoming a part of the community.”