Engineering a Partnership: Orange County Pinot’s Palette

Career Change: Engineers Open Paint and Wine Studio in Orange County

Engineering a Partnership: Orange County Pinot’s Palette

There’s an adage for a balanced life: “Don’t take work home with you.” Mahesh and Sree Ghanta respectfully disagree. Both trained as professional engineers, the couple enjoyed spending relaxing evenings together discussing complex engineering challenges and bouncing ideas off each other.

Throughout their careers, they kept the dream of entrepreneurship on the back burner. But when the right opportunity presented itself–opening a Pinot’s Palette® franchise in Rancho Santa Margarita, California–the couple knew that business partnership would be a natural fit. After all, they were used to learning from each other’s individual areas of strength.

The Challenge of Opportunity

They decided that launching their business would require one of them to manage the studio buildout and opening full-time. So Mahesh stepped down from his engineering position to focus on Pinot’s Palette. Sree, who has a business degree as well, has continued to hold down her engineering job while providing invaluable perspective to their Pinot’s Palette venture during her off hours.

Switching from his engineering role, Mahesh was thrilled at the perks of entrepreneurship. Namely, the independence and ability to chart his own destiny. At the same time, he found the demands of owning a paint and wine business challenging.

He acknowledges that many corporate jobs require a single discipline to master–in his case, engineering. But as a business owner, he’s had to juggle many different responsibilities. “From janitorial to sales to customer service, you have to do it all,” he says. “There’s no down time because when your business ideal is to provide extraordinary customer service, you have to be on your game all the time.”

Coming Into the Turn

Nonetheless, once the couple decided to open a Pinot’s Palette studio, they went full steam. It was less than a year from the time Mahesh first read about paint and sip in a financial publication, to the time their studio staged its grand opening!

A love of snowboarding is among the many interests the couple shares. Their experience on the slopes was helpful in managing the brisk pace they took in researching the paint and wine franchise and preparing their own studio for operation. “Do your due diligence, but then come into the turn,” Mahesh says, referencing a snowboarding expression. “If you waver, it’s not gonna work.”

After opening in early May, the couple has enjoyed getting creative with their events. Using their mobile license, they partnered with the city to provide events for the community on the shores of a nearby lake. Called “Painting by the Lake,” the monthly activity provides participants the opportunity to paint while surrounded by the serenity of a pool, the lake, and waddling ducks.

But Mahesh admits that while he has lofty business goals–including a second studio as soon as the first one is running smoothly–his greatest pleasure from his Pinot’s Palette venture has been a personal one. “We have a seven-year-old daughter who is really into art,” he says. “It has been so fruitful to delve into this shared passion with her. She feels proud of our studio.”



Interested in the freedom, challenge and excitement of operating your own paint and sip franchise? Learn more here.

Share this post