California’s First-Ever Pinot’s Palette Location is a Family Affair

California’s First-Ever Pinot’s Palette Location is a Family Affair

“I’m a mom, and I know that moms need a place to go where we can be surrounded by like-minded people.  Women need that outlet – we need a place where we can go once a week or once a month and be creative and talk. ”

Fabiola Ortiz has always loved art.  When she was a child growing up in New York City, she used to sketch as a hobby.  Years later, when her husband’s job took her across the country to California, she made a career out of organizing art fairs and festivals across the state.  The work was enjoyable, but she found that it took her away from her home and her young children for longer than she liked.  She wanted to find a career path that would allow her to combine her interest in art with her desire for a better work-life balance.

“I come from a business background – my family has always owned businesses.  I was looking for a career where I could use my art and business background, and I also wanted to do something that appealed to women,” she says.

When Ortiz came across an ad for Pinot’s Palette in Entrepreneur magazine, she knew she’d found exactly what she’d been looking for.

“I thought, ‘this is it!’” she says.  “It sounded like the right fit.”

“Moms Need a Place to Go”

Ortiz was surprised to learn that there was nothing quite like Pinot’s Palette in her area (she lives in Danville, California, which is about a 25-minute drive from San Francisco).  She called the company’s owners, Charles and Beth Willis and Craig Ceccanti, and flew to Houston for a meeting.

“Everything gelled really well,” says Ortiz, who was impressed with the company’s infrastructure and high level of franchisee support.  “They have this whole blueprint laid out.  The business plan is very sound, there’s a solid infrastructure.  You always have a go-to person if you have questions.”

Ortiz’ franchise will be the first Pinot’s Palette franchise in California.  She says she’s already gotten plenty of positive feedback from people in the community – especially moms.

“There’s nothing here in the Bay Area like this,” she says.  “It’s going to be a hit.  I’m a mom, and I know that moms need a place to go where we can be surrounded by like-minded people.  Women need that outlet – we need a place where we can go once a week or once a month and be creative and talk.  Everyone I’ve talked to is just dying with anticipation.”

The process of opening a studio has been challenging and exciting, Ortiz says.  Initially, she had some trouble finding a space large enough for a Pinot’s Palette studio – but she finally found an ideal location in a trendy shopping center.  Her landlord is enthusiastic about the paint-and-sip concept, and her studio will be located between a super-trendy hair salon and a popular martini bar.  She recently attended the Pinot’s Palette training boot camp, where she met with franchise owners from across the country.  She’s thrilled with the support she’s received throughout the process – especially when it comes to aspects of the business that she’s unfamiliar with.

“You can’t be great at everything.  That’s impossible,” she says.  “But if you have a support group that fills in the gaps – that has been a great thing for me.”

“It’s Important to Make the Kids a Part of My Journey”

Another great thing about the business is getting to spend time with her children.  Ortiz says she’s learning a lot about the nuts and bolts of launching a business – and she’s tried to involve her children in the process as much as possible.  Her six-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter came with her when she signed her franchise paperwork, and they’ve spent a lot of time at the studio with her as she’s completed various aspects of the build out process.

“My philosophy is, it’s important to make the kids a part of my journey,” she says.  “If I’m going to spend time running a business, I’m going to make them a part of it.  I want them to know what’s going on, what steps you have to take.  And as a mother of a daughter, it’s important for her to have someone to look up to.  She mimics everything I do – I want to make her proud.”

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