Worth the Wait: Pinot’s Palette Livermore Savors SuccessPinot's Palette
Leslie Warren has been helping people smile her entire career. First, for two decades working her way up the ladder in dental practices, she pursued pearly white perfection. More recently, she has changed her focus from the anatomy of a healthy smile to giving people a reason to smile–that reason being a night of relaxation and entertainment at her Pinot’s Palette® paint and sip studio in Livermore, California.
Dentistry led Leslie to Pinot’s Palette. Literally. As she planned her dental office’s Christmas party, she chose to try something different, so she booked the celebration at Pinot’s Palette Danville, which happened to be located in the same shopping center as the dental practice. Leslie and her co-workers had a great time, and, unbeknownst to Leslie, her career as an entrepreneur began to take shape.
Even before the single mom of three middle schoolers planned the party, she’d been thinking about possible alternative career paths: Her career as an office manager had plateaued. She didn’t have much in the way of work-life balance. “My nanny was having all the fun with my children,” she said. “I wanted to have fun myself.”
Leslie knew it was time for a change; time to invest in her own business. And the ever-knowing Google realized that too. A few months after her initial holiday season paint and sip party, a simple web search brought up Pinot’s Palette franchise opportunities.
Clicking on a New Career
The Google search reminded Leslie of the fun her dental practice had at Pinot’s Palette. She clicked on the site, and her life and career found a turning point. “So I clicked on the button and the next thing you know, I’m going down this road and talking to headquarters,” Leslie remembers. “I jumped off the bridge, took the risk, and it’s paying off.”
Through the process of opening her studio, Leslie learned that hard works pay off. She knew she wanted her studio in booming downtown Livermore–with its proximity to 60 wineries–and space was at a premium. Once she found the right space, Leslie learned how time-consuming it was to manager contractors. She eventually realized that she needed to quit her job at the dental office and devote herself full-time to supervising the build out of her studio.
Leslie’s risky leap of faith is paying off in more ways than one. Foremost on Leslie’s priority list, her new role allows her the flexibility to be more involved in her children’s daily lives. “We don’t need the nanny anymore,” she says. “I work just as much if not more, but my flexibility has changed. I work my schedule around their schedule so I can help with homework and take them for ice cream after school.”
Opening Doors to Customers and Colleagues
Leslie’s long road to getting her studio made its opening even sweeter. She used the time during construction to promote her business, attending farmers’ markets and festivals and drumming up social media followers even before her doors were open. Community anticipation grew strong as her friends and neighbors waited for the studio’s debut.
The community’s enthusiastic response to opening day assured Leslie that she had made a great decision. That warm welcome has extended for a year and a half now. “People come in and think this is so fun–enjoying themselves alongside husbands, and mothers, and daughters,” she says. “They’re painting, having fun, and making memories, and that’s what makes me happiest.”
And her customers aren’t the only ones enjoying themselves. Leslie has built a staff that functions like a family, even coming in before their shifts to eat together and socializing outside of work as well. “I knew I couldn’t do this all by myself,” she says. “I knew I needed a good team so I hired good, reliable people who I enjoy being around. We genuinely like each other, we like being here–there’s camaraderie in this studio.”
Leslie extends that spirit of camaraderie to her fellow Pinot’s Palette franchisees. Appreciating the helping hand she received from other franchisees when she was on the path to opening her studio, Leslie lends an ear or a word of advice to new franchisees whenever she can.
“Pinot’s Palette is a family, wanting to help each other,” she says. “I enjoy giving back, but I don’t sugarcoat it. Owning a franchise is not easy. I tell them the good and the bad and encourage them that if I can do it, you can do it.”