New Marching Orders: Veterans Launch Pinot’s Palette PasadenaPinot's Palette
Freddy and Nancy Castillo figured if they could survive the rigor of military careers, they could handle opening a franchise. So when Nancy retired from her 20 years of service, and Freddy saw his retirement looming in the near future, they decided to open a Pinot’s Palette® paint and sip franchise in Pasadena, California.
They attended a class at another Pinot’s Palette and decided the venture would be fun to work on together. After looking at other paint and sip franchises, they decided Pinot’s Palette fit their style the best. “Pinot’s has differentiated itself from others by going for a classier look,” Freddy says. “There’s more added value. I looked at a couple of franchises where the paintings looked cheesy, but we have a great variety of paintings. My wife and I both enjoy art.”
As veterans, they qualified for Pinot’s Palette VetFran assistance. VetFran is an organization that provides franchise opportunities to veterans and their spouses at discounted rates. VetFran member companies include over 650 franchise brands that offer financial discounts, mentorship, and training for veterans. Over 238,000 veterans and military spouses have joined the franchise industry.
Cautious Path to Success
With an MBA in finance and business management, Freddy was extra cautious about evaluating the market and growth projections before deciding on a location. He and Nancy finally found a great location in Pasadena and began the construction process. “Corporate gives you a hell of a blueprint,” Freddy says. “You’d be an idiot not to follow it. They give you turnkey instructions and you just need to worry about construction.”
Despite Freddy’s financial savvy, he wanted to invest more than originally anticipated in order to add luxury touches to the studio to appeal to target customers. But he cautions potential franchisees to make investment decisions that fit with their location. “I went for luxury, but people in rural areas may not appreciate that,” he says. “Study your market. Be careful. Be aware of your market and what your costs are going to be.”
They also prioritized hiring talented people and were surprised to discover that the most talented artists don’t necessarily lead the best classes. “When you hire, go with your gut feeling,” Freddy advises. “Don’t focus on talent but focus on personality and how they carry themselves. You could have a great artist that might not have the charisma or presence to be in front of a class. A good personality will get them far.”
The couple credits their successful studio launch to hard work, market savvy investment, and support from Pinot’s Palette headquarters. “I’m very grateful to Pinot’s Palette. They put you in the best position to be successful as long as you pick the right market,” Freddy says.
After four months in business, Freddy has lofty goals. “I want to be number one by the end of the year,” he says. “I’m trying my hardest to get there.”